Goodhue County Commissioner Paul Drotos’s death means his seat is vacant and must be filled in a special election. At the last county board meeting, the commissioners were given options for next steps in filling the vacancy. 

That means Susan Betcher is out as the interim commissioner less than a month after being appointed.

“Mr.Drotos’ death did end the interim appointment of Susan Betcher,” County Attorney Stephen O’Keefe said. 

Before his death, Drotos requested Betcher be appointed to fill his place on the board at the July 19 meeting. The board agreed and made the appointment. She was sworn in later that day.

After Drotos died on Aug. 4, the interim appointment ended,” O’Keefe said.

A special election must take place to fill the vacancy because there is more than a year left on the term for the District 5 commissioner seat. 

During the board meeting on Aug. 11, the Board of Commissioners was presented with two options for temporarily filling the vacancy until the special election from the county attorney – make an appointment of an interim commissioner until the special election or leave the seat vacant until the election. 

The special election cannot be held until Feb. 14, 2023. Without appointing an interim commissioner, the seat for District 5 would remain empty for several months, leaving the residents of that district without a representative.

The board approved the first option and will start the process to appoint an interim commissioner.

A public hearing must be held within 30 days of the Drotos’ death after notices are sent to public officials on town boards and city councils in District 5.

“Due to timing issues, it is recommended the board set this hearing for Sept. 6, 2022,” O’Keefe recommended in memorandum.

Once a public hearing is held qualified candidates are permitted to write a letter of interest with their information and qualifications. 

Going into the special election, if more than two people apply for candidacy then the county will hold a primary election in February and a general election in April.

 

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