Special meeting held Friday
VINTON – At the meeting Friday, Nov. 8, the Benton County Board of Supervisors officially acknowledged the receipt of Kelly Geater’s resignation as Benton County Treasurer. In their approval, the supervisors set her last day as Dec. 1, 2019, in a motion by Gary Bierschenk and Tracy Seeman. Bierschenk noted it was accepted “with regret.”
The board then needed to take action to fill the vacancy, either by appointment or special election. Auditor Hayley Rippel presented Chapter 69 regarding how to fill the vacancy. She pointed out a special election cost about $30,000 the last time one was held. It involves every precinct in the county.
The board has up until Jan. 9 to make an appointment, or 40 days after the resignation. It has to be published.
Benton County Attorney David Thompson also explained the options of a special election, or having the board appoint someone. He pointed out, “Democracy isn’t cheap.” He said an election has a “cleaner” result, since the elected official is elected. “The people have passed on it, and not the three people who don’t run the office,” Thompson said of choosing through a special election. He added that over 75 percent or the treasurer’s term remains.
Thompson also stressed the importance of the veterans’ preference statute.
Rippel pointed out the appointment buys time until the next general election, which is next November. The person chosen would then serve out the remainder of Geater’s term.
Rippel added they don’t have to interview for this, but it will still be advertised. The public may also petition to call for a special election if the public is not in favor of the appointment. The petition would need at least 10 percent of voters in the last general election.
Seeman said he is for advertising the position and was not in favor of a special election.
Chairman Richard Primmer added that he preferred to have applicants come forward rather than having the board pick and choose. He was leaning toward the appointment route rather than a special election. He wants to appoint the best qualified person. “The cost of a special election is insane anymore,” Primmer added.
The fairer the process looks, Thompson said said it will be less likely a petition will be filed.
Bierschenk said if an appointment is made, he’d like the process to be as wide open as possible.
On a motion by Seeman and Bierschenk, the board voted to fill the position by appointment.
Rippel outlined the notice requirements. The earliest they can appoint is Dec. 3.
Thompson urged advertising in the county, as well outside of the county, and give two weeks for applications to come. “No offense, but a lot of people don’t take the local papers,” Thompson observed.
The treasurer also has to be a resident of Benton County.
The board, Rippel and Thompson worked on the wording for the advertisement, and the timeline they want to follow. A petition may be circulated up to 14 days after an appointment is made.
They hope to make an appointment by Dec. 17 at 9:30 a.m. They will take applications until Dec. 6 at 4:30 p.m.
INTENT TO APPOINT TO FILL VACANCY IN POSITION OF BENTON COUNTY TREASURER
The Benton County Board of Supervisors, designated by law to fill the vacancy in the position of Benton County Treasurer, met on Friday, November 8, 2019 and voted to fill the vacancy by appointment at a meeting to be held in the Board of Supervisors Office on Tuesday December 17, 2019 at 9:30 a.m. The person appointed will fill the vacancy until the next regular election for the county at which time the electorate of the county will vote to fill the vacancy for the remainder of the term.
Benton County is currently accepting applications for the office of Treasurer. The deadline for the applications and letters to be considered for the appointment is Friday December 6, 2019 at 4:30 p.m. Send resume or letter of application, and job-related references to:
Benton County Auditor Attn: Treasurer Office
PO Box 549, Vinton, IA 52349
Or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
The successful candidate must be able to perform the duties as set forth in Chapter 331 of the Iowa Code regarding office of the County Treasurer.
There are special requirements that apply to potential appointees. Anyone appointed to a county office other than the county attorney must have actually resided in the county for at least 60 days prior to their appointment. (69.14A)
The electors of Benton County have a right to file a petition requiring that the vacancy be filled by a special election. (69.14A)
Any person wanting additional information on a petition for a special election or regarding the appointment procedure should call the Benton County Auditor’s Office at 319-472-2365 or visit the county website at www.bentoncountyiowa.org
Benton County does not discriminate on the basis of race, creed, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, color, national origin, religion, age or disability in employment or the provision of services.