The seat vacated by outgoing Story County Supervisor Rick Sanders will be filled by appointment, the county’s Vacancy Committee decided Monday.
The committee, consisting of County Auditor Lucy Martin, County Recorder Stacie Herridge, and County Treasurer Ted Rasmusson, will accept applications until 5 p.m. on June 5. They will discuss and review finalists at meetings scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on June 10 and June 13. All meetings will be held in the Public Meeting Room, located on the second floor of the Story County Administration Building,
A new supervisor will be sworn in at the June 18 Board of Supervisors meeting, joining the current board of Chair Linda Murken and Lauris Olson.
A vacancy does not reset Sanders’ term, and the appointed Supervisor will serve a term until the next election.
Sanders officially steps down from his position on May 31 to become the new president of the Iowa State University Research Park.
In lieu of a special election, which would have cost the county an estimated 30,000 to $40,000, the committee opted instead to spend $400 on the appointment process. Historically, the committee has opted to fill vacancies via appointment, last undergoing the process in 2010 and 2016.
Factoring in variables such as weather, absentee activity and viable candidates, the county also estimated that turnout for a special election would have generated between 5 to 15 percent participation.
“The cost of an election, the timing of an election coupled with the estimated turnout seems like a large challenge,” Rasmusson said during Monday’s meeting.
Herridge echoed that sentiment and said that the $30,000 to $40,000 price range for an election would be a tough cost for the county to swallow.
According to Martin, Story County hasn’t had a countywide special election since 1988, but if voters want to force a special election they would need to submit 4,283 signatures by June 27, 14 days from the board’s appointment of a candidate.
The committee also refined its application process, agreeing on a 12-question application that asks candidates their motivation to be supervisor, their past experience in leadership, and their awareness of rural issues and the tasks of a supervisor.
Applicants will submit all materials to Rasmusson at the Treasurer’s Office, providing a cover letter, resume, contact information for three professional references and a letter of reference.