Melbye says at-large perspective better suits him and Crookston residents; next step is finding, appointing a successor.
Ward 4 Crookston City Council Member Wayne Melbye filed for the at-large seat on the council being vacated by Frank Lindgren because he figured that so many people calling all parts of the community home talked to him so often about city-wide issues that he was better suited for and at-large role.
Crookston voters agreed with Melbye in a major way on Tuesday, as they enthusiastically elected him to the at-large seat over two challengers, Jerry Robinson and Espo. Melbye received 2,198 votes, Robinson garnered 683, and 110 people cast ballots for Espo. Melbye received 73 percent of the vote.
"I think this will just make it more comfortable, and it will make more sense for people to come up to me to talk about various things, without me having to say right away, 'Well, I don't represent your ward,'" Melbye told the Times in a phone interview Wednesday.
Now, about finding a successor to Melbye in ward four. Mayor Dave Genereux told the Times Wednesday that Melbye will have to formally submit his resignation from his ward four seat, effective Dec. 31, and that the process to find a council member to be appointed from ward four will commence almost immediately. Any ward four resident who wants to be considered for the appointment will be asked to indicate their interest, the mayor said, and a committee will be formed to discuss the candidates. It's possible that council members will seek out potential appointees that they feel would be especially suited for the council seat, Genereux added.
Eventually, the council would vote on the chosen appointee, which Genereux wants seated by the first meeting in January 2013. "I want this process wrapped up in December," he said.
Melbye said he's already been approached by a few ward four residents who are potentially interested in succeeding him. "There are a couple people willing to sit down and talk about it, and maybe a couple of folks who maybe don't know exactly what all this entails," he said. "It's a matter of sitting people down and talking to them about it."
Incumbent Keith Mykleseth, who represents ward three on the council, held off a challenge by Gary Willhite, who some time ago served ward three on the council. Mykleseth garnered 313 votes to 158 for Willhite, for a 66 to 34 percent margin.
First and foremost, Mykleseth told the Times Wednesday via email, he wanted to thank his supporters for the "vote of confidence." He also wanted to congratulate everyone else who ran for office at local, state and national levels on Tuesday, whether or not they were victorious.
"I am excited about the future of Crookston, and look forward to working with all elected officials over the next four years," Mykleseth said.