Longtime official has been treasurer for 21 years
By Jim Magdefrau
VINTON – Benton County Treasurer Kelly Geater announced her resignation at the Tuesday, Nov. 5, meeting of the Benton County Board of Supervisors.
“This is not an easy decision,” said Geater to the board, pointing out, “There is not a whole of protection for us as elected officials.” She said she just could not turn it down a second time. She plans to take a position in Linn County. Geater has been treasurer for 21 years.
“It’s with a heavy heart that I say congratulations,” said Supervisor Chairman Richard Primmer.
“Benton County has been an awesome county to me,” Geater told the board.
“You’ve been just fabulous for the county,” Primmer told Geater.
She asked the board what they need from her.
Benton County Auditor Hayley Rippel said that with an elected official’s opening, the auditor has to fill those shoes until someone is appointed. Rippel added that her plate is full and didn’t really want to work two positions. Primmer felt the treasurer’s first deputy seemed to be quite capable in taking over for the interim.
Primmer said Geater will be missed, not just by the courthouse staff, but also by the public. “I will miss them too,” Geater said.
Geater stressed she wanted to give as much notice as she could. She will also help if anyone is appointed. She also stressed the need to get more help in her office, including driver’s licenses. The county took over driver’s licenses from the state in 2002. She said having the county take over licenses has been a good thing for Benton County.
“You’ve been very dedicated to the county. Thank you,” Primmer concluded.
Chapter 69 of the Iowa Code explains what is to be done in the case of a vacancy.
- 69.3(2) states possession of the office of Treasurer is held by the County Auditor in case of a vacancy.
- 69.4(4) states County officials submit their resignations by writing to the County Auditor
- 69.7 states an officer receiving a resignation shall notify the Board, (which has been technically done but we need to take formal action on Friday morning)
- 69.8(3) states county office vacancies are filled by the Board of Supervisors, unless an election is called as provided in 69.14A. The Board may also decide to fill the vacancy by calling a special election.
- 69.10 states the appointment made by the Board needs to be done in writing and submitted to the County Auditor’s office
- 69.11 states the vacancy will last until the end of the term or the next time the County is called for an election. However, a vacancy shall not appear on a Primary ballot. Therefore, the position would have to appear on the General Election ballot in November to fill the vacancy. This is important for anyone interested in filling the vacancy.
- 69.14A states, for this purpose, that within 14 days of the publication to fill the vacancy or after the appointment is made, a petition may be filed with the Auditor requesting a special election to fill the vacancy. The petition must be signed by 10% of the votes cast in the county for the during the preceding general election (331.306) This section also states a notice to appoint must be published at least four, but no more than 20 days before the appointment is scheduled to occur. If the vacancy will be filled by appointment, the appointment must be made within 40 days after the vacancy occurs.
Office hours for veterans
New hours were discussed for the Veterans Affairs Director Toni Parizek. Office hours in Belle Plaine will be the first Wednesday of the month, coinciding with when the driver’s license personnel are in the community. Hours will be in the city hall council chambers. Hours are 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. This started in August and has worked well, as there are a lot of veterans in the Belle Plaine area.
Parizek planned to work remotely on Fridays, starting in December. Supervisor Chairman Richard Primmer felt this would “open a can of worms” with other offices in the courthouse. He was not on board with working remotely. The other supervisors agreed, preferring Parizek work from her office.
Vacation carryover was approved for Ben Turnis of Information Technology (IT).
The board acknowledged the resignation of a part-time bus driver with Benton County Transportation. His name was not given.
Benton County Engineer Myron Parizek received approval for the hiring of Richard McNamara for Van Horne Maintainer. He will start Nov. 25, at $20.75 per hour.
Sheriff Ron Tippett said the recent jail inspection went well. They are working now on federal guidelines, which are similar to state guidelines. There is interest in housing federal prisoners. Otherwise, the facility is staying full with 25 to 28 inmates. They are moving forward with the jail camera project. Wiring was completed in eight days. Tippett also said he needs to replace a few cars and is starting the bid process. In other business, Lindsay Upah was moved from part-time to full-time at the rural access center. They also authorized the hiring of two part-time positions. Tippett also said they are looking at a satellite office in Belle Plaine for rural access.