OPINION

Roland Mayor Fritz releases election statement

Staff Writer
Story City Herald

I have had the privilege of serving two terms on the Roland City Council, and two terms as the Roland Mayor. I thought that was enough for now, so I decided not to seek re-election for the seat of Mayor this year. As it turns out, no one else was interested in filing either, so the Mayor spot was to be filled with a write-in candidate from last Tuesday’s November 5th election.

The Story County Auditor called me the following day and informed me that I was the leading vote getter of the write-in votes cast for Roland Mayor.

So, with that news, a primer on Iowa election law, in regards to the Mayor slot: The leading write-in candidate is offered the job. If he/she turns it down, it is then offered to the second place vote getter. If that person turns it down, it falls upon the city council to appoint someone to the position. It does not automatically keep going down the list of people receiving votes.

Since I was prepared to end my term, I called the person who received the second most write-in votes. He indicated he did not want to take on the role of Mayor. At that point, the situation is such that the council will have to appoint someone in January of 2014.

I thought about the situation a bit, and where the city and the City Council stand on various projects under way. I’ve been working with the council on our new storm and sanitary sewer project. We are almost to the point where we are prepared to work on financial details, and I really would like to see this project move forward with the effort that the council has put towards it.

Also, in January through March, the City Council and city staff work on the next fiscal year’s budget. That is one of my favorite roles as Mayor. I don’t have a vote, but I have always enjoyed working with our staff, city boards and council to come up with a budget that provides the desired city services while keeping our property taxes in the lower half of the communities in Story County. City budgets are one of the most confusing things for new mayors and council members, and the way that our elections unfold, those people are thrown right into the thick of it, as soon as they take office. Simply put, as a citizen of Roland, I would prefer to not have a Mayor leading that discussion, who was just recently thrown into that situation.

So I have to decided to accept the results of the election and continue on as Roland’s Mayor. However, I only plan to do so until the efforts to nail down the financing of our sewer project, and to complete the 2014-15 budget, are met. I plan to resign the position of Mayor on or about March 31, 2014. With my resignation, the City Council will have to appoint a replacement at that time. 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 position.

This will also give three additional months for a candidate to come forth and get up to speed on city business. I think we have a good City Council and I enjoy working with them. I have confidence Roland is in good shape with these folks. It is a gratifying feeling to see that some people still decided to write my name in, even when I indicated I had no interest in the position. I’m proud of our community, how safe it is, how we have a great new park, and how many young families are choosing to live here. My plan is to continue to give my best effort toward the position of Mayor. Thank you to all who have expressed their support.

Roger Fritz

Mayor of Roland

Roland, IA 50236