—by Todd Thorson
After committing four terms to his city’s government positions, Roland Mayor Roger Fritz had decided not to seek re-election in the November 5 election. But after no one came forward to run for the mayoral position, the seat was left vacant on the ballot. Thus, a write-in vote ensued. Following last Tuesday’s election, 11 people voted Fritz "back in office" via a write-in "campaign".
"The Story County Auditor called me on Wednesday and informed me that I was the leading vote getter of the write-in votes for Roland Mayor," said Fritz.
So, as election laws would have it, the leading write-in candidate is offered the job. If that person turns down the position, the offer is extended to the second place vote getter; in this case, it was Dave Donohue, with five write-in votes. And if that person turns it down, it’s up to the city council to appoint someone to the position in January.
"I called Dave, who received the second most number of votes," stated Fritz. "He indicated that he didn’t want to take the role of Mayor."
After thinking about it for awhile, Fritz decided to continue in the mayoral position; however, with some conditions. With the city and the council busy on several projects, and the upcoming budgeting process looming, Fritz has agreed to serve as Mayor, at least through the end of March 2014. He wants to see the new sewer and sanitary project financing put in place, as well as complete the 2014-15 budget.
"I expect to resign the position as Mayor on or around March 31, 2014," he stated. "With my resignation at that time, the city council will have to appoint a replacement. I don’t like the thought of resigning, but whether I leave at the end of my current term, or at the end of March, the city council will still have to appoint someone to the Mayor’s position." (See Fritz’s full election statement to the community on page 2.)
In addition to Donohue receiving five write-in votes, Jerry Spencer and Nicholas Sikes each received four write-in votes. Vicki Fritz, Roger’s wife, received three votes, as did Jerry Balmer and Duane Canny. Balmer is already on the council and was re-elected with 66 votes in the recent election. And Canny had decided not to seek re-election to the council. First time candidate Andrew Webb won a seat on the council with 68 votes. Brian Hill was elected to the two-year at-large seat on the council with 61 votes. A total of 78 ballots were cast out of 923 registered voters in Roland; an 8.5 percent turnout.
"I think we have a good city council and I’ve enjoyed working with them," Fritz concluded. "So I have confidence we are in good shape with those folks. It is a gratifying feeling to see that some people still decided to write my name in, even when I indicated no interest in (running for) the position. My plan is to continue to give (my) best effort toward the position of Mayor. Thank you to those (who) have expressed your support."
In Story City, 130 ballots were cast out of 2,404 registered voters, which is a 5.4 percent voter turnout. Current Story City Mayor Mike Jensen, who ran unopposed, received 124 votes. Two seats on the Story City Council were also up for election, with Dave Sporleder winning re-election with 107 votes, followed by newcomer Matt Triggs with 97 votes. Current council member Jeff Crisman decided not to seek re-election. Sporleder and Triggs ran unopposed as well.
Election results will not be official until each community in Story County is canvassed. That final canvass date was scheduled for yesterday (Nov. 12). The City of Ames was first to be canvassed last Thursday, Nov. 7.