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Perham City Council looks to fill open seat soon; applications accepted through Thursday

Perham City Councilors are working fast to fill the seat left vacant by the recent passing of former councilor Harriet Mattfeld. The council decided in April to seek applications for the open position, and now the deadline to submit those applica...

Perham City Councilors are working fast to fill the seat left vacant by the recent passing of former councilor Harriet Mattfeld.

The council decided in April to seek applications for the open position, and now the deadline to submit those applications is very near. Applications are being accepted until 5 p.m. this Thursday, May 4.

As of Monday, three applications had been submitted.

City Manager Jonathan Smith said councilors would review the applications over the weekend and then make a decision about how to proceed at their next regular council meeting, coming up Monday, May 8, so the turnaround time could be pretty quick.

They could decide to interview one or more of the applicants, Smith said, or they could simply appoint an applicant right away, without conducting interviews. At this point, it’s unlikely that they would consider anyone who did not apply.

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Once a candidate is appointed, Smith said, he or she will be sworn in at the next public council or Committee of the Whole meeting. That person will serve on the council for about a year-and-a-half, finishing out Mattfeld’s original two-year term. After that, he or she will have the option to rerun for the seat as a balloted candidate.

Mattfeld, an active community leader who held a seat on the council since 2002, died March 13.

“Harriet was pretty involved; she sat on a lot of other committees and things, so the council wanted to fill that void pretty quickly,” Smith said. “There’s not a hard and fast way to fill the vacancy -- councils do lots of different things. They (the Perham council) figured the application process would be the fairest way to do it, so they could see what people’s interests were.”

Anyone who lives within the Perham city limits and is at least 21 years old is eligible to apply. An application form can be found on the homepage of the city’s website, at www.ci.perham.mn.us/ .

A writer, editor and mom of four (two kids, two dogs), Marie's been in the newspaper business for over 20 years. She started at the Detroit Lakes Tribune in 2017 after working just down the road at the Perham Focus for several years. Before that, she was at the Herald-Review in Grand Rapids, Minn.
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