Council declares vacancy for 4th Ward seat, begins discussion on filling position

Published 9:02 pm Monday, July 8, 2024

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The Albert Lea City Council on Monday officially accepted the resignation of former 4th Ward Councilor Sherri Rasmussen and declared a vacancy for her seat.

Rasmussen at the second June meeting announced it would be her last meeting and that she had an opportunity she couldn’t pass up on the West Coast. She was elected to the position in November 2022.

City Clerk Daphney Maras said the council will next have to decide how to go about filling the position — whether by having Mayor Rich Murray appoint an individual to the seat or accepting applications and then going through an interview process.

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She said it is not possible for a special election because of the timing of the vacancy.

City Manager Ian Rigg said he hoped to have a discussion at the council’s next meeting in July on the method of how to proceed.

City Attorney Joel Holstad credited city staff who made a thorough investigation into the replacement options and noted that the state regulates the timing for filing of open seats.

Rigg said the city’s charter does not currently have information outlining how to fill a similar vacancy and recommended this be considered for the charter commission next spring.

Sixth Ward Councilor Brian Anderson encouraged anyone with thoughts on the matter to reach out to the councilors.

Anyone who needs assistance in the 4th Ward in the interim should call the mayor’s office until a new councilor is appointed.

Maras said statute strongly encourages the position to be filled as soon as possible.

To be eligible for the position, the individual would need to live in the 4th Ward and be at least 21. The term has roughly 2 1/2 years remaining.

Former 4th Ward Councilor Reid Olson, who Rasmussen defeated in 2022, was in attendance at the council’s workshop and meeting during the discussion.