Four vie for open council seat
Officials: More signatures needed for petition for a special election
Four citizens have put their name up for Marshalltown City Council consideration to fill the upcoming second ward opening to be vacated by Mayor-elect Joel Greer in January.
Leigh Bauder, Jay Carollo, Brittany O’Shea and Bob Untiedt are set to be interviewed by council members in early January ahead of an appointment to fill the vacancy. The appointee is scheduled to be sworn in at the Jan. 8, 2018 council meeting.
“I feel I have a strong skill set I can bring to help the city,” said Bauder, owner of Bauder Consulting Inc., on why she sent a letter of application for the seat. “I have a strong budgeting background.”
She said she has formal education in public administration and economics, and has worked in the health care field since 1983.
“A focus that I would see would be transparency and budget issues,” Bauder said.
She added that she would focus on building on volunteerism in Marshalltown.
“There are a lot of people in this town that want to volunteer,” Bauder said. “There is a real need to coordinate volunteer activity in this town.”
As the co-founder of the volunteer-based Splash for Life organization, and with experience volunteering with multiple other organizations, Bauder said she would like to “bridge the gap” between willing volunteers and the city.
“If we don’t give back, things just don’t get better,” she said.
In the event of a special election after an appointment is made by the council, Bauder said she would “plan on running” for the seat.
Carollo, who volunteers at Riverside Cemetery, said his 55 years of living in the second ward have made him familiar with the people he would represent if appointed.
“I’ve had people approach me and say they thought I would be a good fit,” he said of why he ran, adding he has served on the city’s 911 Commission, Planning and Zoning Commission and Site Planning Review Board.
While Carollo said he currently has “no particular agenda” besides “open communication between the councilors, the administration and the citizens.”
He also said he formerly worked for Avey Funeral Homes and Tri-State Lock Service, and that he now digitizes records for the cemetery and Anderson Funeral Home.
Carollo said he fell in love with Marshalltown after moving to Iowa from New York, and that he is deeply interested in the city’s history, as well as genealogy. If a special election occurs, he confirmed he would “definitely run.”
Vying for a seat on the city council is something O’Shea is familiar with, and she said she’s ready to represent the people of the second ward.
“The only thing that would be different from at-large vs. second ward is that I would hope to have more one-on-one communication with the people,” the stay-at-home mother said, adding she would focus on following spending closely and making Marshalltown “beautiful and safer.”
O’Shea ran for an at-large city council seat in the 2017 city election, and said she would run if a special election for the second ward seat came to fruition.
Untiedt, the director of the Iowa Valley Community College District Orpheum Theater Center, said housing and budgetary issues are two areas of focus.
“I have also had a long-standing interest in looking at questions related to housing,” he said.
On the issue of the amount of backfill funding from the state legislature in the coming year, Untiedt said he’d like to be able to help move the city through potential budget shortfalls.
“It seems likely that they’re going to cause some sort of shortfall with the city budget again,” he said of the potential of not receiving backfill funding from the state, adding he wants to “have a role on a team of people that are leaders in the city to be proactive about addressing that potential issue.”
Untiedt also said he would be interested in discussing ideas for wind and solar energy in Marshalltown, and that, tentatively, he would like to discuss having informational meetings with citizens on city issues.
“I’m not committed to it yet,” he said. “Part of any meeting like that would just be a brief overview of the responsibilities of the city and … trends in revenues and budgets.”
Untiedt, who sits on the City Library Board, said he’s interested in all aspects of city governance and is interested in finding out what work is already being done to improve the city.
In the event of a special election for the seat, he said whether he runs depends on the situation.
“If someone else is appointed and they’re doing a fine job, I would say there’s a chance I probably wouldn’t run,” Untiedt said. “If I’m appointed, then I would have every belief in the world that I would run.”
More signatures needed
A petition filed by Marshalltown resident Monte Eaton for a special election to fill the second ward vacancy was found to have too few signatures to be valid, Marshalltown City Administrator Jessica Kinser said Thursday.
The petition Eaton filed on Dec. 22 included 47 signatures. However, Kinser said the minimum number required in this case would be 62, per Iowa Code. Under Section 372.13, the number of signatures must equal 15 percent of the total number of votes cast in the previous election for the second ward seat.
“It’s the most recent election where that position would have been up, which would have been 2015,” Kinser said. “There were 412 votes received for second ward council member at that time; 62 equals 15 percent, so there are still additional signatures needed for a valid petition.”
She said Eaton may collect the needed additional signatures to make the petition valid.
Eaton said he had received a message from the Marshall County Auditor and Recorder’s Office saying 39 signatures would be sufficient to start the special election process. However, with the requirement set at 62, he said he will continue collecting signatures.
“If it is indeed the case that I need to get more signatures, then I will,” Eaton said.
Assistant Auditor-Recorder Cynthia Reutzel confirmed that Eaton had picked up petition paperwork Thursday, and said a petition can be filed after an appointment is made by the city for the second ward seat.
“They have the 14 days after the appointment as well,” she said.
Contact Adam Sodders at (641) 753-6611 or firstname.lastname@example.org