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Mayor of Virginia resigns

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VIRGINIA, Minn. -- Steve Peterson is stepping down as mayor of Virginia, saying his full-time job with the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board requires his full attention and that he couldn’t do both jobs justice.

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“I basically had two full-time jobs and that became too much,” Peterson said Wednesday after announcing his resignation, effective Oct. 1, as the last item on Tuesday night’s City Council agenda.

Peterson said he accepted the job as executive director of the IRRRB’s development division in November, just five days after being re-elected mayor, knowing that he would eventually have to step down as mayor because of possible conflicts of interest.

Peterson said he and IRRRB Commissioner Tony Sertich agreed that Peterson could wait until two divisive issues in Virginia were settled before stepping down — the departure of former Virginia Police Chief Dana Waldron and the sale of the city-owned hospital to Essentia Health.

City Councilor Larry Cuffee, designated the city’s acting mayor, will assume the post of mayor until the City Council determines a permanent replacement to fill out the remaining three years on Peterson’s term. The council could opt to appoint a mayor or to hold a special election.

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