With the sudden death of Pine County Commissioner Doug Carlson of Sandstone, the county board has been left with a decision as to when they should set a date for a special election to fill the District 5 position.
By law, according to the Secretary of State’s office, a general election cannot be held sooner than 120 days after the seat has been officially vacated.
District 5 is comprised of the townships of Bruno, Danforth, Finlayson, Fleming, Kerrick, New Dosey, Nickerson, Park, Partridge and Sandstone and the cities of Askov and Sandstone.
A resolution declaring the vacancy was approved by the county board at a special meeting held Thursday, April 25.
The special election date has been set for September 17. The primary will be held July 23 if more than two candidates file.
There is a specific procedure for filling the vacancy, required by law.
Because there is more than one year remaining on the District 5 term, a special election must be held rather than filling the position by appointment. The county board will function as a four-member body until the position is filled by special election.
With the date set, 46 days must be allowed for absentee primary ballots to come in. Another 46 days must be allowed, after the primary, for absentee election ballots before the September 17 election date.
The election date cannot be changed in the event there are fewer than three candidates.
Filing will open on May 14 and will close on May 28 for those residents of District 5 wishing to file for the position.
Notices of the vacancy and election process will be published in the newspapers on May 2.
Board Chairman Steve Hallan of Pine City said he would have liked to have the election sooner so District 5 would have representation. The preliminary levy must be set in September. He said the board can set the preliminary levy and make adjustments once the new commissioner takes office.
A decision was made to fly flags at half-staff April 25 and 26, in honor of Carlson’s service to the county. Hallan suggested a tree be planted in memory of Carlson.
Administrator David Minke said the board could give its approval, which they did, for the Wellness Committee to seek donations for memorial efforts.
The next regularly scheduled county board meeting is 1 p.m. May 7 at the public works building, in Sandstone.