On Tuesday night the Clarkfield City Council appointed former city council member Robert Schlenner to fill the council seat vacated by Erin Crosby until the next general election in 2014.
The appointment comes as a result of newly elected councilwoman Erin Crosby's resignation in early April after it was discovered that Crosby was unknowingly serving on the council while in violation of state statute due to her employment as a nurse at the Clarkfield Care Center, which is owned by the City of Clarkfield. Because the city owns the Care Center, even though it is managed by a third party, Crosby's employment there is a conflict of interest and unlawful according to a state statute that was implemented in 2010. Once the conflict was pointed out, both Crosby and the city acted quickly to fix the problem.
By state statute the council posted the vacancy for a month, reviewed any interested candidates and, on Tuesday, appointed a new council person to serve the remaining year and nine months of Crosby's term. Crosby was elected during the last election through a write-in campaign.
The city received two applications for the position. The first from Schlenner and a second from Stephanie Randall. Randall is an administrator at Schwan's and has previously been active with Clarkfield Civic and Commerce; playing a big part in the organization's annual Heart of the Prairie Days celebration.
In her application, Randall detailed her experience working in human resources and her involvement in the community. Randall has been attending council meetings regularly since the council began discussing the future of the Clarkfield Police Department.
Schlenner, a known commodity to the Clarkfield Council after several distinguished terms, largely left his application blank. Schlenner ended his latest term on the council following the most recent election and is considered one of the city's most dependable civic leaders.
The first motion to choose between the two applicants came from councilman Neil Linscheid, who moved to appoint Randall. That motion died for lack of a second, with little discussion.
Dave Biermaier then made a motion for Schlenner, which was seconded quickly by councilman Scott Vold. When called to a vote, the council voted 3-1 in favor of Schlenner with Mayor Gene Kockelman adding his support and with Linscheid as the lone dissention.
"The reason I motioned for [Schlenner] is simple," said Biermaier following the meeting. "We have a number of contracts coming up to work on: Ecumen, the Boyd wastewater contract, the police department. That's what he does for a living [at Schlenner Agency]. It's his past knowledge of these things, there's not a whole lot he needs to learn and then his past experience with contracts. He's able to step right in."