ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Another election around the corner for Bemidji with Olson moving to county position

BEMIDJI -- Just a few days after the city of Bemidji finalized the results of its last election, the municipality is already gearing up for the next one.

BEMIDJI -- Just a few days after the city of Bemidji finalized the results of its last election, the municipality is already gearing up for the next one.
Because Ward 4 City Council member Reed Olson won a seat on the Beltrami County Board of Commissioners, the city has to prepare a special election in 2017 to pick a new person for the spot. But because of the 2017 calendar, the process will play out differently. Usually, the City Council would meet on the first Monday of the year, where the sitting council member would resign and then get sworn in at the county meeting on the first Tuesday. However, because Jan. 1 is a Sunday and Jan. 2 will be a holiday, the City Council won't meet until Tuesday after the county does. "I can't get sworn in while I'm still holding my city post," Olson said. "So, I'm not sure yet if I will resign at the last City Council meeting or submit a letter of resignation effective either Jan. 1 or 2." Regardless of when Olson resigns, the first council meeting of 2017 will include the passage of a resolution announcing  a vacancy on the governing body and declaring a special election to fill the seat. Following the meeting, City Clerk Kay Murphy said a filing period will take place in early January, with a tentative schedule of Jan. 9-23. The special election would then take place, with a tentative date of Feb. 14. "The goal is to not have it drag out too long, where we're without a council person in one of the wards," Murphy said. "If the 14th is the only election and the results are canvassed, then a person would be able to take office by the first of March." Once the vacancy on the council is announced, there are four potential outcomes with the special election: Only one person enters, runs unopposed with a write-in line also on the ballot and wins the position. Two people file and have a head-to-head race. More than two people file and a person with more than 50 percent of the vote in the special election is declared the winner. More than two people file and the two leading candidates at the end of the special election compete in a runoff. For Murphy, the work on the next election has already started, as she's been in communication with people who've expressed interest in filing and also speaking with the Beltrami County Auditor's Office to prepare for ballot printing. Olson, meanwhile, has also been in contact with county officials as he prepares for his transition from council to county board. "I'm beginning to research what's going on at the county. It's a busy time for me because I still have my council appointments and I'm meeting with the Joint Planning Board, the Parks and Trails Commission and the Visit Bemidji Board," Olson said. "Then, on Monday, I'm meeting with Kay Mack (the Beltrami County Administrator) to find out what committee appointments I'll be having." The new position has also taken Olson outside the city, as he recently attended the Eckles Township Board of Supervisors meeting for introductions. "There's always a learning curve. It took me a while before I understood the mechanics of city government, too. That will help shorten the curve, but I still have a tremendous amount to learn," Olson said. "I'm really excited to get to know the inner workings of county government." Tentative Special Election timeline Jan. 3: Reed Olson will be sworn in as Beltrami County Commissioner for District 2 and the Bemidji City Council will announce a vacancy while declaring the need for a special election. Early January: A filing period will take place for potential candidates to enter their names for the special election. Feb. 14: A tentative date for the 2017 special election for Bemidji City Council Ward 4. BEMIDJI -- Just a few days after the city of Bemidji finalized the results of its last election, the municipality is already gearing up for the next one.
Because Ward 4 City Council member Reed Olson won a seat on the Beltrami County Board of Commissioners, the city has to prepare a special election in 2017 to pick a new person for the spot. But because of the 2017 calendar, the process will play out differently.Usually, the City Council would meet on the first Monday of the year, where the sitting council member would resign and then get sworn in at the county meeting on the first Tuesday. However, because Jan. 1 is a Sunday and Jan. 2 will be a holiday, the City Council won't meet until Tuesday after the county does."I can't get sworn in while I'm still holding my city post," Olson said. "So, I'm not sure yet if I will resign at the last City Council meeting or submit a letter of resignation effective either Jan. 1 or 2."Regardless of when Olson resigns, the first council meeting of 2017 will include the passage of a resolution announcing  a vacancy on the governing body and declaring a special election to fill the seat.Following the meeting, City Clerk Kay Murphy said a filing period will take place in early January, with a tentative schedule of Jan. 9-23. The special election would then take place, with a tentative date of Feb. 14."The goal is to not have it drag out too long, where we're without a council person in one of the wards," Murphy said. "If the 14th is the only election and the results are canvassed, then a person would be able to take office by the first of March."Once the vacancy on the council is announced, there are four potential outcomes with the special election:Only one person enters, runs unopposed with a write-in line also on the ballot and wins the position.Two people file and have a head-to-head race.More than two people file and a person with more than 50 percent of the vote in the special election is declared the winner.More than two people file and the two leading candidates at the end of the special election compete in a runoff.For Murphy, the work on the next election has already started, as she's been in communication with people who've expressed interest in filing and also speaking with the Beltrami County Auditor's Office to prepare for ballot printing.Olson, meanwhile, has also been in contact with county officials as he prepares for his transition from council to county board."I'm beginning to research what's going on at the county. It's a busy time for me because I still have my council appointments and I'm meeting with the Joint Planning Board, the Parks and Trails Commission and the Visit Bemidji Board," Olson said. "Then, on Monday, I'm meeting with Kay Mack (the Beltrami County Administrator) to find out what committee appointments I'll be having."The new position has also taken Olson outside the city, as he recently attended the Eckles Township Board of Supervisors meeting for introductions."There's always a learning curve. It took me a while before I understood the mechanics of city government, too. That will help shorten the curve, but I still have a tremendous amount to learn," Olson said. "I'm really excited to get to know the inner workings of county government."Tentative Special Election timelineJan. 3: Reed Olson will be sworn in as Beltrami County Commissioner for District 2 and the Bemidji City Council will announce a vacancy while declaring the need for a special election.Early January: A filing period will take place for potential candidates to enter their names for the special election.Feb. 14: A tentative date for the 2017 special election for Bemidji City Council Ward 4.

What To Read Next
Mike Clemens, a farmer from Wimbledon, North Dakota, was literally (and figuratively) “blown away,” when his equipment shed collapsed under a snow load.