Election Win Will Leave Johnson County Supervisor Opening

By Gregg Hennigan, Reporter

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By Ellen Kurt

IOWA CITY, Iowa – All three incumbents up for re-election were victorious Tuesday, but the Johnson County Board of Supervisors will still have a new member soon.

That’s because longtime Supervisor Sally Stutsman was elected to the Iowa House Tuesday, meaning she will give up her county seat.

State law provides three options for filling Stutsman’s spot on the five-member board: the county auditor, recorder and treasurer can appoint someone, they can call a special election or a successful petition from the public could force an election.

Following the death of Supervisor Larry Meyers in 2009, the auditor, recorder and treasurer went with an appointment, saying a special election would cost an estimated $75,000 and the public could petition for one if there was enough interest.

Janelle Rettig was appointed after 16 people applied for the opening. A petition then forced a special election, which Rettig won.

The process won’t start until Stutsman leaves the board or gives notice of her intent to resign at a future date, county Attorney Janet Lyness said.

After that, the committee of the auditor, recorder and treasurer would have 40 days to appoint a person, or they could give notice to call a special election, she said. The election would have to be at least 32 days after the committee gives notice or it receives a petition with enough signatures to require a special election, she said.

The next legislative session starts Jan. 14. Stutsman did not immediately return a phone message Wednesday saying what her plans are.

Stutsman, a Democrat from rural Riverside, was first elected to the Board of Supervisors in 1994. Her current term runs through Dec. 31, 2014.

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