By Adam Hocking
MARSHFIELD — The empty seat on the Marshfield Common Council, created last week by the resignation of former alderman Rich Reinart, will be filled likely over the next four to five weeks. The council voted 7-2 to fill the seat as soon as possible rather than operating with a nine-person council until the April 2017 election.
City Administrator Steve Barg said that if Reinart had resigned with more than a year left on his term, the council “would be expected to appoint” a replacement. There are about eight months left in Reinart’s term, so in this case, under city code, the council could have chosen not to begin the process of appointing a new alderman and simply allowed the April 2017 election to fill the seat.
Reinart was the alderman for district six. All even numbered council districts will be up for grabs on the April 2017 ballot.
The district six vacancy will be advertised by the city, candidates will then speak before the council, and the council will vote on whom they want to replace Reinart from the pool of candidates.
Tom Buttke was part of the majority of council members in favor of filling the vacancy, saying, “I think that district deserves to have representation.”
Council member Alanna Feddick added, “Given the fact that we have enough time to hopefully get letters of interest to get someone appointed before budget time, I think that’s really vital, especially for citizens in the sixth district. I certainly would want that if I lived there.”
Aldermen Ed Wagner and Gordy Earll represented the two votes in opposition to proactively filling Reinart’s seat.
“Whoever we put in this position, if it takes until September to do that, they’ve got September, October, November, and then … they have to file papers in December for election in April,” Wagner said. “I don’t know if it’s worth the effort at this point.”
City Clerk Deb Hall said candidates for the April 2017 council election could circulate nomination papers beginning Dec. 1 of this year. Those papers are due on the first Tuesday in January of 2017, Hall said.