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Five New York Mills officials won't seek reelection

Three New York Mills school board members and two city officials will not be seeking reelection this fall, leaving behind five open seats.

New York Mills Mayor Larry Hodgson announced in a letter to the newspaper on Monday that he will not be seeking reelection. Councilmember Richard Rankka stated in an email that he will be retiring from public office at the end of this term and will also not seek reelection.

In a school board workshop on Monday, board members Josie Hendrickx, John Peeters and Dan Welter stated that they wouldn't be running for office again. Tim Kupfer is also up for reelection this fall but remains undecided as to whether he will run.

Hodgson has served as mayor for six years. He stated in his letter that his time in office has been an "exceptional learning experience," but that now "it is time for someone else to step into this position."

As mayor, he stated, "I have had to make many decisions that affected the people of this community, and I assure you that those decisions were not made without the highest regard as to how they would most benefit the people of New York Mills."

"I am sure that there are qualified people in the community that could step forward and put their name on the election ballot," he added, "but it must be remembered that this is not a position that should be pursued if you feel that you have a personal vendetta. This position is technically termed as a 'public servant' position and it is your duty to serve the community."

In the letter, Hodgson complimented the "exceptional staff" he's worked with for always answering his questions and keeping the NY Mills community operating efficiently.

"I commend each and every one of them for a job well done," he said.

Rankka has been a member of the city council for eight years. He stated in his email, "My two terms were a good experience and I believe we always tried to make decisions that were in the best interest of the city during that time." 

He stated, "I take my position on the council seriously and it deserves more of my time. I travel frequently for work and it creates conflicts with meeting schedules and doesn't allow me to give as much time to the council as I would like." 

He also wants to stress the importance of getting new council members into office to "offer fresh ideas and challenge the status quo."

The NY Mills school board has many longtime members, with just one, Jill Carlson, in her first term. Welter has 15 years of experience on the school board, Peeters 11 years, and Hendrickx seven. No reasons were expressed during the workshop for not running for reelection.

Longtime member Rachel Grieger encouraged qualified people to step to the plate. She said many people think only parents can be on a school board, but that's not the case. A candidate must live within the school district; that's the only requirement.

The filing period for candidates starts July 31 and goes through August 14. School board candidates should file at the district office and city candidates at the city office. Cost is $2.

School board and city council member terms are four years. The mayor's term is two years.