Come August, there’s going to be another important election for the citizens of Osceola.
During a May 20 Osceola City Council meeting, the council approved Councilman Glenn Schaff’s resignation. The council made the decision to recognize Schaff’s contribution to the city at the next council meeting.
There are two ways a city council can fill a vacancy — by appointing someone to fill Schaff’s at-large seat or scheduling a special election.
The council scheduled a special election date of Tuesday, Aug. 5. Candidate petitions must be in by July 11.
Once elected, the new at-large council member would hold the seat through the remainder of Schaff’s term, which is through December 2017.
Schaff had won re-election for the at-large council seat in the November 2013 election.
Councilman Dr. George Fotiadis went through all of the other councilmen and asked if they were all still in their first term on the council. Every answer was yes.
“This is a watershed council, that, in other words, this is a big change of council (with) majority first term. I’m the only leftover with Mr. Schaff’s resignation,” Fotiadis said. “My thought on it is this is an important council because there are a lot of things that are just coming to head as far as the growth and development of the town … there’s a lot of stuff going on. Some of this will have fallout that will get into those next terms.”
Fotiadis added, the council seat is too important of a decision, which is why it needs to be made through a special election and not through an appointment to the seat.
“This is a council that’s going to make a difference. It’s going to be, probably, I would say one of the direction setter,” he said. “My preference is that, I think, this one should go to the people.”
Fotiadis said he trusts the public to have interested candidates.
“I think this is one (where) the people are the boss. We put it in our boss’ hand,” he said. “I’m not worried about special election costs. In this case, I think it’s too important of a decision to quibble over whether there’s a special election cost. And, my understanding is that there will be certainly more than one candidate interested.”
Low voter turnout?
During an interview after the meeting, Ty Wheeler, city administrator/clerk, said the special election would cost approximately $3,000.
In the November 2013 regular city council election, only 16 percent of the registered voting population voted in Osceola.
When asked if he had any concerns about spending money and potentially having another low voter turnout, Wheeler said, “I don’t have any concerns because the at-large seat was filled for such a long time and we’re only six months into the term. So, I think the council is on the right track with calling for the special election.”