Hortonville seeks applicants for village board seat
Trustee elected village president, creating an opening
By John Faucher
The village of Hortonville is accepting applications for an open seat on the village board.
Board members earlier this month set an April 30 deadline to apply for the trustee opening. Forms are available at Village Hall and on Hortonville’s website.
The board will review the applications at a special committee of the whole meeting on May 1 and likely make a decision at its May 2 village board meeting.
Village President Al Habeck, a board member for intervals since the 1980s, was defeated by Trustee Jeanne Bellile for his presidency in the April 2 spring election. This left Bellile’s trustee seat open as of Thursday, April 18.
On April 4, the board discussed what to do about the open position lasting through April 2020.
Village Administrator David DeTroye said the board could leave the position vacant, hold a special election or appoint an interim board member for the one-year vacancy.
He said if the board left the position open, there would only be six voting members rather than seven for the next year, leaving a potential gridlock in decision-making, “which is not in good governance.”
He suggested the board allow citizens to apply for interim trustee.
“If you can’t come to an agreement, the other option would be to hold a special election,” DeTroye said.
Village Clerk-Treasurer Jane Booth said a special election would cost upwards of $10,000.
“I think on behalf of the village board and finances, I think we have to do everything in our power not to go to that,” DeTroye said.
Bellile said many of her constituents would prefer a special election, pointing to possible interest to run among residents due to the number of write-in votes for unregistered residents last election.
“They want an election,” she said. “They say why should six of us make a decision for all the residents who normally vote on trustees?”
Outgoing Trustee Kelly Schleif said he had a problem with hearing reports post-election of people with last-minute interest.
“If they were interested, why weren’t they on the ballot?” he asked.
Bellile and board members said it is important to encourage citizens to maintain interest in serving their community.
However, Schleif said calling a special election post-results was “weak and lame.”
“To have a special election to me is asinine,” Schleif said.
Village Attorney Robert Sorensen said historically the board has selected an interim trustee through an interview process to fill the vacancy until the next election.
He said there has not been a special election for a vacant seat in his tenure as village attorney. Vacancies have been filled by temporary appointment.
This would allow the new members –– the chance to be part of the selection process.
Two trustees, Schleif and Dawn Vollbrecht, chose not to run this election and filed non-candidacy papers.
Their positions have been filled by James Moeller and Dan Nejedlo, who ran uncontested for the seats in the April 2 election.