Brookings City Councilors Ed Schreiber and Michelle Morosky, as well as Mayor Ron Hedenskog, were recently recalled by a significant majority of residents in a special election held on November 7th. However, rather than holding a special election to fill the vacated seats, city councilors took an alternative route.
Prior to the certification of the election results, Morosky and Hedenskog made the decision to resign, leaving only three council members remaining. This allowed the council to appoint a new member, Kristi Fulton, to one of the vacant seats. Schreiber, who is now considered a “lame duck,” abstained from the vote.
Once the election results are certified, Schreiber will officially leave his position, and the council plans to appoint councilors to fill the remaining two seats. This decision has sparked controversy and criticism from some residents who feel that their right to vote for new council members has been subverted.
According to Dennis Triglia, one of the chief petitioners from the recall campaigns, the councilors’ actions amount to an assault on local democracy. Triglia and other outraged voters are demanding a special election to be held and the nullification of the council’s appointment of Fulton.
In defense of their decision, city councilors argue that filling the seats through appointment was necessary to maintain a quorum and ensure the continuity of city business. Without a quorum, the council would be unable to function and important decisions and processes would be delayed.
While some residents are frustrated by the council’s actions, citing concerns about their voice being heard, others understand the need to maintain a functioning government. The city is now accepting applications from interested citizens to fill the remaining two seats on the council.
It remains to be seen how the new council members will impact the city’s governance and whether they will address the concerns raised by the recall campaigns. The appointment of new councilors signifies a new chapter for the Brookings City Council and presents an opportunity for fresh perspectives and leadership.
Why were the Brookings City Councilors recalled?
The recall effort was initiated primarily due to the reinstatement of City Manager Janell Howard, who was caught shoplifting in 2022. This incident, along with dissatisfaction with the council’s performance, prompted a significant number of residents to vote for the recall of the councilors.
Why did the council decide to appoint new members instead of holding a special election?
The councilors argued that appointing new members was necessary to maintain a quorum and ensure the continuity of city business. They believed that a special election would have resulted in a period of time during which crucial city functions would have been hindered or delayed.
What impact does this have on the city’s governance?
The appointment of new council members presents an opportunity for fresh perspectives and leadership within the Brookings City Council. The new members will have the responsibility of representing the interests of the residents and addressing the concerns raised by the recall campaigns. The impact on the city’s governance will be determined by the actions and decisions made by the newly appointed councilors.