The Janesville City Council’s fifth-place vote-getter from the spring election won’t be selected to fill the seat left vacant by Jens Jorgensen.
The council held a special meeting Tuesday to determine a replacement process for Jorgensen and reorganize its leadership positions for 2019-20.
Jorgensen announced late last month that he was resigning with one year left on his term to take a job in Fond du Lac. His decision came about a week before the spring election, which featured five candidates running for four spots.
Before the election, Doug Marklein told The Gazette it was possible the fifth-place finisher could be appointed if that person’s vote total was close enough to the four winning candidates.
Incumbents Marklein, Sue Conley, Jim Farrell and Tom Wolfe earned re-election. Jan Chesmore was fifth with 4,384 votes, about 1,300 votes behind fourth-place Farrell.
Chesmore wrote a letter to the editor last week expressing her dismay that she was not selected.
“It’s a shame that the city council has decided that your vote doesn’t count when filling the vacancy created when Jens Jorgenson left Janesville for new opportunities,” she wrote.
Chesmore’s name was not mentioned during Tuesday’s meeting.
Rich Gruber, who was selected as the new council president Tuesday, said the council had not discussed appointing Chesmore and instead decided to follow the same replacement process as four years ago.
In 2015, Gruber applied and was chosen after being interviewed for the position. Matt Kealy had resigned after moving outside the city.
The council quickly settled on those guidelines Tuesday rather than an alternative.
Interested applicants must submit applications by noon Friday, April 26. Eligible candidates must live in the city, be at least 18 years old and cannot be unpardoned felons.
Applicants then will visit the council chambers at 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 1, and give four-minute pitches to the other council members. At the end of the meeting, the council will narrow the pool to an unspecified number of finalists.
Finalists will return to City Hall at 6 p.m. Friday, May 3, for interviews. The public will have a chance to comment during this meeting, and the council will select its seventh member after the interviews.
Besides outlining the process to replace Jorgensen, the council also selected its new leaders for the next year. Picking a president became unexpectedly complicated, as it took seven rounds of voting before the council chose Gruber.
Gruber and Conley were the two initial nominees for president, and their votes ended in a 3-3 tie. The council voted three more times, but that did nothing to change the numbers.
Marklein, the outgoing council president, made a motion for a coin flip but did not get a second. The council voted a fifth time, and Gruber and Conley remained tied.
The council reopened nominations and added Tom Wolfe to the mix. The nominees tied again, this time a three-way deadlock at 2-2-2.
Finally, in the seventh round, Gruber broke through with three votes to Wolfe’s two and Conley’s one.
Gruber said his first priority will be filling Jorgensen’s seat. He hopes to build on the progress the city has made and said he envisions another exciting year ahead.
Voting for council vice president was less convoluted. Wolfe, who was vice president before this month’s election, will stay in the role after he was the lone nominee for the position.