Plemel resigns Ward 4 City Council seat to take job in North Dakota

BEMIDJI--After winning a special election about seven months ago, Patrick Plemel has resigned his Ward 4 City Council seat to take a job in North Dakota.


BEMIDJI-After winning a special election about seven months ago, Patrick Plemel has resigned his Ward 4 City Council seat to take a job in North Dakota.

Plemel, 58, who defeated former Bemidji Mayor Richard Lehmann 122-86 in a special election on May 2, submitted his resignation on Wednesday via email. In his statement to the council, Plemel said he had accepted a position to run a behavioral health facility in North Dakota.

Patrick Plemel

"It has been an honor and a privilege to be a part of the governing body of the city of Bemidji," Plemel wrote. "I have been truly blessed to be a part of Bemidji for the last 25 years and will take with me many fabulous memories."


A resolution to officially declare the vacancy will be before the Bemidji City Council at its meeting Tuesday.

According to city charter, in the event that there are 364 days or less remaining in a term after a vacancy is declared, the council must appoint a qualified replacement to complete the term of the seat within 30 days.

"However they want to appoint the seat is up to them," City Clerk Kay Murphy said. "What we did in 2013, when Rita (Albrecht) won the election to be mayor and left her seat on Ward 4, the council appointed through an interview process. People filed with the city to be interviewed for the position, and we set up an interview process."

The current Ward 4 term is set to expire at the end of 2018. Before Plemel, the position was held by Reed Olson. However, a special election process was launched last January when Olson resigned from the seat after he was elected to the Beltrami County Board of Commissioners in the November 2016 elections.

The May 2 election in which Plemel won the seat was the second of the special election cycle. The first came March 14, where Plemel and Lehmann finished ahead of five other candidates. Because no candidate reached 50 percent of the vote, though, a runoff was necessary.

"The greatest memory and the hardest to leave are the people that have touched my life in this community," Plemel stated in his resignation letter. "It has been a rewarding experience to see so many people that are committed to making Bemidji the exceptional community that it is."

Before taking the North Dakota job, Plemel had been a program director for the Upper Mississippi Mental Health Center in Bemidji.

Bemidji's Ward 4 takes up much of the west and southwest portions of the city and parts of the southeast. The ward extends as far north as 23rd Street, extends south past Carr Lake Road and includes neighborhoods around Lake Irving.

What To Read Next
Get Local