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Council will appoint replacement for Bills

The Rosemount City Council decided Wednesday that it will appoint a person to fill the void left by Kurt Bills when he heads to the capitol.

Bills was elected to the State House of Representatives and will resign before the end of the year. There are two years left on his term.

State statute says when there is a vacancy on a city council, the current board members should appoint a qualified candidate to fill the position. The council also could have passed an ordinance and held a special election, but the $10,000 price tag was a deterrent.

"Money is very, very tight and we have to be as conservative as possible," said council member Kim Shoe-Corrigan.

Council member Mark DeBettignies agreed the council should spend responsibly but argued in favor of the special election, saying the public should make the decision.

"I want to be fiscally responsible but I'm looking at the atmosphere... I believe we should put this to the public," said DeBettignies.

Council member Jeff Weisensel said he could support either decision but ultimately said he favored appointing someone to fill the position. Although he added that the process needed to be as open and transparent as possible.

DeBettignies narrowly won his seat over challenger Tim Judy. Judy could request a recount in the next seven days. The council skated around the idea of just appointing Judy to the post. Council members argued that if circumstances of the election were different -- had there been three positions on the ballot, for example -- voters might have cast their ballots differently.

The council will likely take applications and will interview applicants, which will be open to the public.

The city will release more information on the process at future meetings.

Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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