The Marshalltown City Council decided Monday to appoint someone to replace the late Gene Beach prior to the November general election.
At a special meeting of the council following its Committee of the Whole meeting, the council unanimously approved a resolution to proceed with appointing someone to act in Beach's stead until the general election. The appointment came in lieu of opting for a special election.
By Iowa code, the council must fill the mayor's vacancy within 40 days. Since Beach died Aug. 4, the council has until Nov. 4 to fill his vacancy.
However, that appointment would only last until the general election.
Since the council has opted to fill the vacancy by appointment, members of the electorate have 14 days from the time the council posts the notice in the newspaper-as is required by Iowa code-to petition for a special election. That petition requires 188 signatures.
The council would have to appoint someone to the position by its Sept. 10 meeting. Citizens can petition to be on the ballot for mayor. Anyone doing so has until 5 p.m. Aug. 28 to get nomination papers to the Marshalltown City Clerk's Office. To get on the ballot for the general election, citizens must have a petition with 25 signatures and fill out a candidacy affidavit.
Dawn Williams, Marshall County auditor and recorder, said the Iowa Court of Appeals is unambiguous on the topic of vacancies in the shadow of a general election: if a vacancy is on or before Aug. 24 the city must fill the vacancy within the general election.
"What I don't want is a crap-shoot that amounts to a write-in election for the mayor of Marshalltown," Ward said. "That, to me, would be the worst example of democracy."