Board backs policy for filling trustee vacancies
By Kevin Boneske
HOWARD – Following the second trustee vacancy of the summer, the Howard village board agreed Monday, Aug. 13, on a policy for how to fill empty seats.
The policy calls for the village president to still have the sole discretion on filling a vacancy as to which applicant to recommend for appointment to the board.
However, in situations with more than two applicants, the president will be able to obtain assistance in the selection process with two others on the board joining him as a three-person team.
Village President Burt McIntyre noted he used that process earlier this summer.
He selected trustees Chris Nielsen and Cathy Hughes to assist him in interviewing four applicants who sought to fill the vacancy when former Ward 9-10 Trustee Jim Lemorande passed away in June and Scott Beyer was appointed last month to replace him.
“We had a three-person team – I have to be careful to keep it as a team, not a committee – and it worked very well,” he said. “The team came up with the questions, and we made sure that we were consistent all the way across the board. We tried to ask questions that were meaningful, that were based on our experiences as board members. So I thought that worked very well.”
The lone dissenter to Beyer’s appointment was then-Trustee Mike Hoppe, who took exception to the process leading up to the recommendation for filling the vacancy.
Though McIntyre had sent out an email message June 18 to the board members outlining the appointment process and timetable to be used to select a replacement for Lemorande, Hoppe said he knew nothing about a “secret committee” formed to interview the applicants.
Hoppe said another applicant, Tim Meves, who advanced to the April general election to face Lemorande after Beyer was eliminated in February’s three-way primary, should have been appointed instead because of Meves being the “first runner-up” as determined by the voters this spring.
Hoppe submitted his resignation in late July as a trustee in Wards 7-8, though he didn’t publicly state his reasons for resigning, which he noted in a letter to McIntyre was done “with sadness and regret.”
McIntyre said the appointment process remains the responsibility of the village president to make a recommendation to the board.
“This last time we went around, we had four, potentially five, applications, and I don’t think the village president could competently handle all those choices in terms of going through and talking to these people,” he said.
However, if only one or two apply for a board vacancy, McIntyre said the village president should be able to competently handle the selection of who to appoint.
“But when you get beyond two, I think you need that team approach again,” he said.
Hughes said the previous board vacancy in Wards 9-10 would have been difficult to fill had only one person interviewed the four applicants.
“However, (the person recommended for the appointment is the village president’s) choice,” she said. “I agree that is something that would work.”
Village of Howard residents who live in Ward 7 or 8 and are eligible to vote in Wisconsin had until Aug. 17 to fill out and return a board questionnaire to be considered for the current trustee vacancy, which is expected to be filled at the board’s Aug. 27 meeting.