Appointment process underway to fill Supervisor seat

Nov. 24—CLINTON — The Clinton County Supervisor Vacancy Committee on a 2-1 vote has decided it will use the appointment process to fill an upcoming vacancy on the three-member Clinton County Board of Supervisors.

Vacancy Board members County Auditor Eric Van Lancker, County Treasurer Dustin Johnson and County Recorder Scott Judd met Monday to address filling the seat now occupied by Tom Determann. Determann, whose term runs through 2024, on Nov. 8 was elected to the Iowa Legislature to represent House District 69. He will leave the Board of Supervisors when he is sworn into the Iowa Legislature on Jan. 9.

Under state law, a special board composed of the county's auditor, recorder and treasurer decides whether a special election or an appointment process will be used to fill a Supervisor vacancy.

Van Lancker, a Democrat, supported a special election, saying two years to fill out a term is a long time to serve and whomever fills the seat will be part of developing two county budgets and make major upcoming decisions, including those concerning solar development and a pipeline.

Johnson and Judd, both of whom are Republicans, voted for using the appointment process. Judd said the Vacancy Board wants to see the best person put forward to fill the position.

"People can apply and make their case," Johnson said.

Several people filled the board room to watch the proceedings; those who spoke to the Vacancy Committee mostly supported an election.

"Holding an election supports the whole concept of having elections," said audience member Tom Gibbons.

Another audience member asked Johnson and Judd whether either already had a candidate in mind for appointment. Both said they did not.

DeWitt Mayor Steve Hasenmiller said the Vacancy Committee is made up of elected officials who should be trusted to make the decision through the appointment process on behalf of county residents.

Steve Cundiff, a 2022 primary election candidate who unsuccessfully sought to fill one of two Supervisor seats up for grabs this year, said he should be considered through the appointment process. Dan Srp and Jim Irwin, Republicans who both were seeking reelection to their Supervisors seats, won the primary vote, moved onto the general election and ultimately retained their seats.

Telling the Vacancy Board that he lost by only seven votes during the primary election, Cundiff, also a Republican, said he had put the work in to serve as a Supervisor because he ran for the seat.

"I feel like I have earned my way," Cundiff said.

As a result of the Vacancy Board's vote, its members will accept applications from residents interested in being appointed to fill the Board of Supervisors seat. The committee has set an application period that closes at 4:30 p.m. Dec. 16.

Interested candidates can submit letters of interest and/or resumes to the Clinton County Auditor's Office, 1900 N. Third St., Box 2957, Clinton, IA, 52732 or email them to auditor@clintoncounty-ia.gov.

An applicant's name will be a part of the public record, but the applicant may request their resume to be kept confidential.

The committee will meet again at 1:30 p.m. Dec. 19 to discuss the appointment process that could lead to a potential appointment on Jan. 4.

To be considered for appointment, an applicant must be a resident of Clinton County for 60 days prior to appointment and be least 18 years old.

Even though an appointment process is in place, residents still can seek a special election. Those interested in a special election to fill the vacancy can file a petition with the Clinton County Auditor's Office with at least 1,699 signatures. The petition must be filed within 14 days after the notice of intention to appoint was published or within 14 days after the appointment was made, whichever is later.