New alderman appointed

By Gray Hughes


A replacement for Hill City Council alderman Jason Gillaspie once his term is up in July has been named.

Steve Jarvis, who served on the common council for nearly two terms, was appointed in a 2-1 vote to the council. Aldermen John Johnson and Jim Peterson voted “aye” and Gillaspie voted “nay.”

Jarvis will join the board once Gillaspie’s term is up in July and will serve Ward I. Gillaspie did not seek re-election,

However, there was some discussion surrounding Jarvis’s appointment.

When Mayor Kathy Skorzewksi first brought up the need to fill Gillaspie’s set, she first brought forth the idea of having a special election.

“I believe, what is in the best interest of the city, is that we are able to provide notice and opportunity for people to participate,” Skorzewski said. “In an effort that we make sure we honor our citizens’ constitutional right to vote, I would recommend that we put this to a special election and let the public decide who would represent them moving forward.”

Skorzewski said she had heard from two individuals who had expressed interest in running for the seat.

Peterson said that no one came out to run in the last election for the three offices that would be vacant. He said he was in favor of doing the appointment.

“We have someone who has been on the council before,” Peterson said, referencing Jarvis. “He has experience with the council and is willing to serve as a viable option to this community.”

Johnson agreed with Peterson, saying that someone should have “stepped up” at the last election.

There may now be people who are interested in running for that office, Skorzewski said.

“Knowing that there is now more than one party interested in this, not allowing this to go to special election would really seem to not be in the best interest of the town,” she said.

Skorzewski said she just wanted to make sure the information was out there so the best decision could be reached.

The information was out there last March, Johnson said, and Skorzewski agreed with him. Nobody runs for anything in Hill City, Johnson said.

“I don’t disagree,” Skorzewski said. “But I am hoping that changes. I am hoping we start to make progress.”

Gillaspie, who was teleconferencing in to the meeting, said that he would run again if it came to a special election.

“I also have experience on the council,” he said. “I am more than happy to continue, whether it’s through appointment or through special election. But if there are more people interested — which is one of the reasons that I did not hand in a petition although I got one — was to see if there was someone who wanted to step in and do something.”

Because of that, Gillaspie said he was in favor of the special election.

Peterson and Skorzewski both said said they wished Gillaspie did file his petition so that they would not need to be in this position. Peterson then made the motion to do the appointment process, which was seconded by Johnson.

The vote passed 2-1 to do the appointment with Peterson and Johnson voting aye and Gillaspie voting nay.

“Next time there is an opportunity for someone to take an aldermanic position (I hope) that they would come forward and do so,” Skorzewski said.

That is when Jarvis’s name was called as the person to be appointed to Gillaspie’s seat. Jarvis’s name was put forth by Johnson, Skorzewski said.

“I just want to say I appreciate the opportunity to get back on the council again,” Jarvis said.

Jarvis said he is semi-retired now and wants to get involved again. He was on the Hill City Planning and Zoning Commission before serving as an alderman and is currently on the Hill City Library Board.

In addition to Jarvis, Skorzewski said she would also like to see Gillaspie considered, as well.

“I would like to make a comment,” Gillaspie said. “Last meeting, my understanding was the motion to appoint (Bill Miner) prior to his term starting in July was not approved and the motion to appoint someone into my spot is a bit premature because my term is not up until July. So I am not even sure why this is on the agenda, especially with the precedent at the last meeting.”

The precedent established at the last meeting was because Miner went through the election process, Peterson said, and the council attempted to appoint him early.

These are two different things now, Peterson said.

Peterson then made the motion to appoint Jarvis to the council once Gillaspie’s term is up in July. The motion was seconded by Johnson.

“Welcome aboard,” Skorzewski said after the vote was taken.