Herald JournalHerald Journal, Jan. 26, 2004

HL council seat remains vacant

By Paul Maravelas

The Howard Lake City Council failed to appoint either of two applicants for a vacant council seat during Tuesday.

Rick Lammers and Vern Kleve applied and are being considered for the seat.

The seat is open due to the recent resignation of Don Danford.

The city sought residents interested in serving the remainder of Danford's term, which expires in November, and asked them to submit a one-page application.

Mayor Gerry Smith and Council Member Shelly Reddemann reviewed the two applications received, and recommended Lammers be appointed to the council as interim council member Tuesday.

But the recommendation was questioned by two of the four city council members, and by several members of the public who attended the meeting.

Council member Tom Kutz noted that Kleve lost the last election for the council by only 10 votes, and he thought Kleve would be the best choice.

Council Member Terry Ostgulen agreed, saying Kleve has lived in the city for 20 years, and "received community support" in the last election.

Reddemann and Smith defended their recommendation of Lammers. Reddemann noted that the city's application form asked what the applicant hoped to accomplish on the council, and he read aloud Kleve's answer: "To fill vacancy for five member council."

Ostgulen objected, saying that Kleve provided a full answer to the question in another part of the application form.

"It's important to look at what candidates have accomplished for themselves and for their communities," Reddemann responded, "and there's a great difference between these two."

He praised Lammers' work on the school board.

Several members of the audience mentioned again that Kleve had come close to winning the last election. "It's not a popularity contest," Mayor Smith told the audience.

Reddemann made a motion to appoint Lammers, which failed on a 2-2 vote, with Smith and Reddemann in favor, and Ostgulen and Kutz against.

Ostgulen then made a motion to appoint Kleve, which failed on a 2-2 vote. The appointment will be postponed until the council's next meeting.

Smith can appoint someone to the position if there is a deadlock, Clerk Gene commented after the meeting.

Though Danford resigned from the council, he was one of two applicants who applied to fill a vacant planning and zoning commission seat, to which he was appointed.

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