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Floyd County supervisor appointee hopefuls will need to submit application

Floyd County supervisor appointee hopefuls will need to submit application
The three members of the Floyd County committee tasked with filling a vacancy on the county Board of Supervisors – (from left) County Auditor Gloria Carr, County Recorder Amy Assink and County Treasurer Frank Rottinghaus – discuss the process at a meeting Tuesday afternoon. The vacancy will officially occur Jan. 2 because the person elected to fill the Supervisor District 3 seat who would have been sworn into office on that day, Jeff Hawbaker, declined to accept the position. Press photo by Bob Steenson
By Bob Steenson,

The third member of the new Floyd County Board of Supervisors won’t face the voters – at least not initially – but he or she will undergo what in essence will be a job interview.

The supervisor vacancy appointment committee, consisting of the county auditor, recorder and treasurer, decided at a meeting Tuesday that people wanting to be considered to be appointed as the supervisor for District 3 will need to provide a cover letter and resume and answer a series of questions regarding the position.

That written information will need to be turned in to the Floyd County Auditor’s Office by a 4 p.m. Dec. 28 deadline. Applicants will also be able to make a personal presentation to the committee before the appointment is made, if they wish, the committee decided.

The appointment is necessary because the person elected as supervisor in District 3 in the Nov. 8 general election, Jeff Hawbaker, declined the seat.

Application requirements and the questions to be answered will be available at the County Auditor’s Office and are also expected to be available for download on the Floyd County website.

The Iowa Code sets up the options for filling a vacancy among county boards of supervisors – the three county officers on the committee can appoint a new supervisor or call for a special election. But if the decision is to make an appointment, the committee is pretty much on its own as to how it makes that selection.

“It’s an elected position, but we’re not doing an election for this, so I think this is a very appropriate process,” Auditor Gloria Carr said about asking interested persons to fill out an application.

“There’s not any standards. It’s up to the auditor, treasurer and recorder to decide the process that they want to use,” Carr said. “We all work with the county supervisors and we want a working supervisor, and I think this is a fair way to do it.”

Current county officials Auditor Carr, Recorder Amy Assink and Treasurer Frank Rottinghaus met previously and decided to fill the position by appointment, then decided on the particulars of that process at the meeting this week.

Residents of Supervisor District 3 can still call for a special election, if they submit a petition with at least 192 valid signatures from District 3 electors within 14 days of when the appointment is made.

Although Rottinghaus has been part of the process of deciding how the appointment will be made, he won’t play a role in the actual selection. He did not run for re-election, so his term ends Jan. 1.

Jesse Holm, the current deputy recorder, was elected as the new county treasurer, and she will be sworn in prior to helping make the supervisor appointment.

The current county supervisors also hold their positions through Jan. 1, so the District 3 position will become officially vacant on Jan. 2, and that’s when the three county officials will gather to make their appointment.

That appointment meeting is planned for 8:30 a.m. on Monday, Jan. 2, in the emergency operations center (EOC) room in the new Law Enforcement Center, attached to the courthouse. If no appointment is made at that meeting another meeting will be held at the same time and location on Tuesday, Jan. 3.

Because this is the first year for voter-approved supervisor districting, all three supervisor seats were up for election in November, and three new supervisors were elected – including Hawbaker in District 3.

Although one of the newly elected supervisors, Mark Kuhn, in District 1, has served several terms as supervisor, ending as recently as 2018, it is possible that the new board will consist of three people who have never worked together, and include some who may be inexperienced in how county government works, especially the complicated and lengthy county budgeting process which the new board will need to begin immediately.

Carr said there are a lot of things to consider in making the appointment decision.

She said it’s apparent Hawbaker was elected because of his party, and voters in District 3 showed they wanted to elect a Republican.

“We had an election with someone who ran as a Republican who did no participation in a forum, no participation in the Charles City Press or the Nora Springs/Rockford Register or the radio. And he got elected with no campaigning. He told me himself, ‘I didn’t campaign for this,’” Carr said about Hawbaker.

“But we had a strong Democrat right on the heels of that person as well,” Carr said, referring to Democrat Jim Lundberg who came in second by 159 votes in a three-person race.

Carr has always run as a no-party candidate, while Assink ran on the Republican ticket and Rottinghaus has always run as a Democrat. So right now the three-person committee is as evenly divided as is possible.

But Holm ran as a Republican, meaning once she replaces Rottinghaus there will be a Republican majority among the three persons who will make the appointment.

“I just feel, me, as a no-party auditor, I want to look at the person and what their qualifications are and that they’re going to represent not only District 3 but the county as a whole,” Carr said. “The political part of it, at the county level, is irrelevant to me in this process.”

Dennis Keifer, the supervisor-elect for District 2, who ran on the Republican ticket and who was attending the meeting Tuesday, said he agreed that party politics shouldn’t be the decider in the appointment selection.

Rottinghaus said, “There’s no denying that this can be and is often political, to a larger or lesser degree. I think we’re exhibiting it as a lesser degree, especially in these circumstances.”

Carr said a number of people have already inquired about the process that will used to select the new supervisor.

Applications for the position will be considered public records and so the names of the people who apply will be available before the appointment is made. The committee meetings, including the Jan. 2 appointment meeting, are public open meetings.

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