Dubuque City Council to appoint 4th Ward representative - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque City Council to appoint 4th Ward representative

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- Leaders in Dubuque have a vacant seat to fill after losing one of its council members to cancer earlier this month. Dirk Voetberg had been fighting leukemia since July. He had served the 4th ward since 2007, and previously served three terms. Now instead of holding a special election which can cost thousands dollars, the city council will appoint the vacant seat.

Tuesday night, the Dubuque City Council voted to appoint a 4th Ward resident to fill the vacant seat of Dirk Voetberg.

"We just thought it was the prudent thing to do, especially in today's economy. To try to appoint someone that would be representative of the ward that had those concerns in mind," Mayor Roy Buol said.

Holding a special election would cost the city about $8,000. If more than two people wanted to run, a primary and special election would cost $15,000.

Since the term expires in November, the council voted that appointing someone would be the best way to fill the position in the required amount of time.

"We have 40 days according to state code. And 40 days falls on a Sunday so we get to move it to Monday's council meeting," Buol said.

That's Monday, March 21, but the council is taking letters of interest from 4th Ward residents until March 7. The council will then hold a special session to interview candidates on March 12. Still, Mayor Buol admits it's a tough seat to fill.

"Dirk was an incredible person he brought such a vibrancy and an intellect to the council and it's really hard to find someone with those kinds of skills to replace him and represent the 4th Ward," Buol said.

Residents in the 4th Ward can override the council and petition for a special election but they'll need at least 120 signatures of 4th Ward residents.

Visit http://www.cityofdubuque.org/ward4map to view a map of the fourth ward or call the City Clerk's office at 563-589-4120 to verify a specific address.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires

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