Kuhl appointed mayor
NORTH LIBERTY– The City of North Liberty has a new mayor.
The city council voted unanimously Tuesday, June 24, to appoint Mayor Pro Tempore Gerry Kuhl to the seat left vacant by the May 18 death of late Mayor Tom Salm. The council had the option of holding a special election at an estimated cost of $6,000, but all councilors voiced confidence in Kuhl’s ability to lead the group forward. Unless citizens file a petition calling for a special election within 14 days of the appointment– July 8– Kuhl’s term as mayor will expire at the end of 2015, and he will be up for re-election in the regular city election of November 2015. The mayoral seat would also appear on the ballot of any intervening special election that might occur between now and November 2015.
It means the city council now has a vacancy. The method of filling that vacancy is similar to the way the mayoral seat was filled; council may call for a special election, or may vote to appoint someone to fulfill Kuhl’s term, which expired in 2017. If the council chooses to appoint a new member, citizens may file a petition calling for a special council election.
To be successful, the petition would need 27 valid signatures, or 15 percentage of the number of voters in the last municipal election (177). The deadline for that petition would also be 14 days from the council appointment.
Kuhl offered comments after taking the oath of office.
“It’s bittersweet to be standing before you and taking an oath of office. I miss Tom greatly but I think he would want us to move on with the items he asked us to do,” Kuhl said.
He thanked the council members for the appointment and promised to continue to work with the council as a team. “All of us are servants of the people; that’s something we must never forget. It’s about the citizens of North Liberty,” he said.
Kuhl also thanked city staff.
“They are the people who make this city tick. The late Mayor Salm would want us to carry out the goals we established in January, and follow the CIP (Capital Improvements Plan).”
Kuhl said the city’s next biggest challenges including building infrastructure on the city’s east side so the planned new high school opens on time; providing for adequate police and fire facilities; and continuing with improvements to Highway 965.
“So with that I say, let’s get to work,” Kuhl declared.