Duluth City Council fails to appoint vacant seat after candidate withdraws

By KBJR News 1

September 23, 2013 Updated Sep 23, 2013 at 9:58 PM CST

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - The Duluth City Council had a challenge on their agenda Monday night and it didn't involve city policy, but rather filling a now vacant city seat.

The council decided not to fill the fourth district seat after one of the candidates withdrew from consideration.

The council nearly appointed candidate Gary Eckenberg to fill the fourth district seat vacated by Garry Krause, but in a turn of events Eckenberg shocked the council and withdrew from consideration.

At Monday's meeting Eckenberg decided not to accept the appointment after learning the position would last for a period of only a few weeks.

Fourth district councilor Krause resigned from his seat after receiving a new job offer.

Council president Patrick Boyle explained Krause's replacement will be the fourth person in four years to serve the fourth district.

Former district councilor Eckenberg says he cannot be of any service to council or to the residents of the fourth district for only a couple weeks.

"I became aware that this was not for the last quarter of the year, that makes sense, I can commit to that. I want to commit to that, I want to commit to that for the district that I have served in the past, I think I can be of assistance, I don't believe I can be of any assistance for a two-week period in October," said candidate Gary Eckenberg.

"This is now probably the worst case scenario that I could have possibly imagined, and I'm not sure how to proceed from here," said councilor Sharla Gardner.

After Eckenberg withdrew from the appointment, Councilor Jennifer Julsrud motioned to remove the resolution from the agenda and wait for the November election. The council voted in favor four to three to remove the appointment.

The fourth district seat will be now remain vacant until the November 5th election when incumbent Garry Krause will still be on the ballot for reelection against challenger Howie Hanson.

State election rules say that Krause cannot be removed from the November ballot, so he will remain on the November 5 ballot.

If Krause is reelected by the fourth district, a special election will need to be held to fill the seat. If another candidate is elected the council is expected to immediately seat the candidate.

Jeremy Brickley
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