Ottumwa works to fill council vacancy

·2 min read

Jul. 21—OTTUMWA — With Councilman Skip Stevens's resignation, the Ottumwa City Council determined the process they'll use to fill his seat.

Stevens's resignation was formally approved Tuesday by the council. It is effective Aug. 1. On Tuesday, council members decided to move forward with filling the seat by appointment.

Some parties have already come forward with their interest, but others who are interested can contact City Administrator Phillip Rath or Ottumwa Mayor Tom Lazio to indicate that interest.

Stevens, who has been on the council for 7 1/2 years and was up for re-election this year, said in a statement from the city that "my 7 1/2 years of serving on the city council have been very rewarding and enjoyable. I wish to thank all who have supported me during my term.

"Ottumwa is in good hands, and I wish the mayor and council the best."

Prior to his resignation, he had missed a few meetings while citing health concerns.

Rath suggested the council fill his seat by appointment instead of a special election because of the short amount of time remaining on the term. Special elections can cost in excess of $10,000, and the seat will be on the upcoming November ballot either way.

Citizens can petition the city to force an election, however.

The council will ultimately review those wishing to be appointed and approve that at a later meeting. Lazio said the city hopes to complete the process by the end of July.

"This is an opening that we want to get filled right away," Lazio said. "Hopefully (those interested in being appointed) can attend the next meeting and can pick up right away."

Courier staff writer Chad Drury contributed to this report.

Kyle Ocker is the editor of the Ottumwa Courier and the Oskaloosa Herald. He can be reached at kocker@ottumwacourier.com. Follow him on Twitter @Kyle_Ocker.

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