3 of 9 Duluth Councilors to be Replaced in Election

Posted at: 11/04/2013 9:30 PM | Updated at: 11/04/2013 10:18 PM

A third of the Duluth city council will be replaced by candidates chosen in Tuesday's elections.

The new councilors will have a lot to learn, according to Councilor Dan Hartman, who will end his four years on the council in December. He told Eyewitness News Monday that when he started, he was nervous. "Super nervous," actually.

Meanwhile, Todd Fedora, a former city councilor, started in 2007. He was voted out in 2011. But when he began his time on the council he said it was "not so much nerve wracking as it is overwhelming."

Both men watched new councilors on their first days in the council chambers. They said the learning process is a lengthy one. "I think a good six months for me where I knew how everything was operating," Hartman said.

Fedora said "I'd say it takes all of a year to do it."

Fedora cited the city budget as a reason. New councilors won't discuss the budget in depth until many months after they're elected. Administration makes a budget proposal in the late summer. Before it is passed in December, department heads spend several months discussing chunks of their funding plans with the council.

The Duluth community will choose three new councilors at the polls. The four candidates running for two open at large seats are Zack Filipovich, Barb Russ, Ray "Skip" Sandman, and Ryan Stauber.

Running to fill the Fourth District seat is Howie Hanson. Garry Krause - the councilor who stepped down this fall because of a change in employment - will still be on the ballot, but he's not running for re-election.

And Council President Patrick Boyle is running for re-election unopposed in the Second District. But he also wants the St. Louis County Board seat held by Steve O'Neil before died of cancer. If Boyle wins in a January special election and chooses to take the board position, his council will need to be filled.

According to Fedora, the work of a new councilor will begin almost immediately after election night. He said they are "going to start getting phone calls from interested parties right away Wednesday or shortly after."

The parties he's referring to are various organizations calling to educate the new councilors about what they do in the Duluth community.

Hartman said much of what is done in the council chambers depends on who elected. He said, for example: "I care about historic preservation so that has been an issue that I have focused on."

Hartman said what existing councilors can get passed depends on who is elected too. "Some [new] councilors it's easier because they're less willing to pick a fight on things they're not willing to understand yet. There are others that are exactly opposite who fight on every single issue."

The winners in Tuesday's election begin on the council in January.

Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.

Click here for the Duluth sample ballot
Click here to find your polling place

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