Professor Emeritus -- Dr. Tom Seymour from West Fargo, North Dakota --
Professor, Minot State University, MSU Faculty Regents Award (2015) -- PAST Peer Reviewer (Higher Learning Commission - Chicago); - Author and Presenter
Board of Directors, SRT Communications, Inc and Minot City Alderman - Ward 5 (2010-June, 2016) PAST - Editor-in-Chief (North Dakota State Senator (2002-2010) 2017-Cass County Electric Cooperative- Board of Directors
Saturday, January 23, 2016
Dr. Tom Seymour - Minot, North Dakota
Two incumbents pass, one newcomer so far in upcoming city election
The seven seats to be filled on the Minot City Council can be expected to include some new faces.
Two current aldermen have indicated they are not seeking re-election. At least one newcomer plans to challenge an incumbent.
Tom Seymour, who has served as Ward 5 alderman since 2010, said he will not seek re-election. A professor in business information technology, Seymour said he will be retiring from Minot State University and relocating to West Fargo.
Jim Hatlelid, who represents Ward 3, also has decided not to run again. He said he is ready to retire, having served on the council from 1981 to 2004 and again from 2008 to the present. He has served on the airport committee since 1981 and has been chairman of that committee for most of those years. He also has served as president of the city council. He is executive director of Minot Catholic Schools Foundation.
Kevin Connole said he remains undecided about whether to run to retain his seat in Ward 7. Connole was appointed to the council in December 2011 and was elected in June 2012.
Minot's Ward 2 is shaping up to have a race in June. Michael Carswell, a veteran retired from the Air Force, is circulating petitions to run, as is incumbent Bob Miller. Miller is seeking a second term, having served since 2012. He also represented the ward from 2005 to 2006 following a special election to fill a vacancy.
Meager voter turnout reflected in candidacy process
Getting your name on the ballot for a Minot City Council seat can be a breeze for some and a bit of work for others. The number of signatures that potential candidates must obtain from eligible voters in their wards to qualify for the ballot varies from 19 signatures in Ward 2 to 213 signatures in Ward 4.
The petition requirement is determined by the number of voters in the last council election in that ward. The number of signatures must be at least 10 percent of the number of voters.
The 19 signatures in Ward 2 is based on only 193 votes cast in the ward in the 2014 election, in which newcomer Ben Berg ran unopposed.
In Ward 4, Rick Hedberg defeated Wes "Mac" Magaster in a special election in November 2014 to fill a vacancy. There were 2,139 votes cast in the race.
November general elections typically see higher turnouts than June primaries, and June is when regular city elections also are held. That timing, and the fact there was a race, accounts for the high Ward 4 signature requirement this year.
The required signatures in other wards are closer to the Ward 2 figure. Based on 2014 voter counts, signature requirements are: 28 in Ward 1, which saw a contested race between council member Dave Lehner and Bob Timm; 31 in Ward 3, where incumbent Dean Frantsvog ran without contest; 32 in Ward 5, where Miranda Schuler defeated incumbent Scott Knudsvig; 47 in Ward 6, where newcomer Dave Pankow ran unopposed; and 27 in Ward 7, where incumbent Lisa Olson ran unopposed
Signatures must be collected and petitions filed with the city auditor by April 11. People interested in running can obtain election packets with the petition information from the city auditor's office in Minot City Hall.
"There's just so much unfinished work that I have been a part of that I would like to continue," Miller said.
Carswell came to Minot via the Air Force. He has lived in Minot for 11 years and currently is an accounting student at Minot State University. He serves on the board at Independence Inc., an organization serving people with disabilities, and chairs the group's fundraising committee. He also has been involved with his son's Cub Scout pack.
Carswell said he has no vested interests nor any special interest in any aspect of city government. Rather, he has concern for the general welfare of the city and would like to bring a positive perspective to the council.
"We need to have more people run, so I am not going to sit back. I am going to be that person," he said.
As for other council members, council president Mark Jantzer is running again in Ward 6. He was first elected in 2008.
"There is still much work to be done as we continue to recover from the flood disaster of 2011, and now deal with the effects of a protracted decline in the oil sector," he said.
In Ward 1, Larry Frey, an alderman since 1984, plans to run again.
Rick Hedberg, in Ward 4, was elected in a special election in November 2014 to fill out the remainder of the term of Amy Moen, who had resigned. He now is seeking his first full term.
David Shomento, also in Ward 4, joined the council by appointment in September 2014 to fill the seat vacated by Milton Miller. Although that term doesn't expire until June 2018, because he was only appointed until the next city election, Shomento must run for the two years remaining in the term. He said he plans to be a candidate.
City council terms run for four years. However, council members could have their terms cut short if efforts to reduce the size of the council are successful.
Voters will go to the polls March 1 to decide whether to change the city's home-rule charter to add language establishing a process to change the governing structure. If voters approve, the council has indicated it will place an initiated measure on the June ballot to reduce the size of the council from 14 members elected from wards to five members elected at large. If voters approve that measure, a new council election would take place in November.
However, the citizens group advocating for a smaller council says its petition must be voted on before April 4 to comply with the home rule charter's language on initiated measures.
The group, #MakeMinot, also is concerned about postponing a vote because its petition states election of a new council would take place at the next June election. By putting the measure on the June ballot, a vote on a new council couldn't occur until June 2018. #MakeMinot's intention had been to vote on the petition proposal in the spring and elect a new council in June 2016.
#MakeMinot now has proposed a compromise in which it will withdraw its petition if the council approves a resolution placing an alternative measure on the ballot. The alternative measure would establish a six-member council, elected at large, in June 2017. The council is reviewing the resolution.