A special meeting will be held on Thursday to address the vacant seat on Ottumwa’s City Council.
The meeting is scheduled for 4:00 PM at the conference room in the Train Depot to discuss how the city council wants to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Sandra Pope earlier this week.
According to an attorney, the empty seat can be filled by appointment or special election.
If the council chooses to appoint a replacement, the appointment must occur within sixty days after the vacancy occurs which would be February 16, 2023. The appointed will hold the position until the next regular city election in November 2025. The council can appoint an individual by multiple means such as having citizens fill out an application for the open council seat and choosing a candidate or using the results of the most recent City Council election to select the next city council member.
If the council fails to fill the position by appointment within the sixty-day time period, the city clerk shall give notice to the county auditor who will then call a special election to fill the position. The election shall occur no fewer than 32 days after the notice is received by the county.
City Council can also decide to hold a special election which must occur within 90 days of the vacancy (March 17, 2024).
Ottumwa Mayor Rick Johnson says citizens can also file a petition to hold a special election which will require the signatures of 15 percent of the total number of voters in the last regular election (approximately 450).