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Tiffin councilor resigns

Petersen bows out after nine years of service
Former Tiffin council member Mark Petersen.

TIFFIN– Tiffin City Council has a new vacancy.
Council member Mark Petersen tendered a letter of resignation to Mayor Steve Berner on Thursday, Jan. 22, citing personal reasons in an email dated Jan. 26.
“Over the past years I have been dedicated to the city of Tiffin and have reached a point that I need to turn the page and move on, as I pursue other adventures,” Petersen wrote. His resignation took effect immediately.
Petersen had previously served on the city’s Planning & Zoning Commission, and was elected twice to four-year terms on the council. Petersen was re-elected to the council in 2013. He also served on the planning committee for TiffinFest and as a member of the emergency management team. “I want to thank all those who supported me when I ran for the Tiffin City Council position and during my nine years on the Tiffin City Council. I will continue to show my support for the community of Tiffin,” Petersen added.
The City Council has two options to fill the vacancy, and was expected to discuss those choices at its Wednesday, Jan. 28 meeting.
First, the council may vote to hold a special election at the earliest practicable date. If the council chooses to hold a special election, it must give the county auditor a minimum of 32 days written notice of the date chosen to hold the election. According to Johnson County Auditor Travis Weipert, a special election is estimated to cost the City of Tiffin around $2,000, depending on the number of poll workers needed. If the vacancy is filled by special election, the newly elected councilor would fill out the remainder of Petersen’s term, which expires in December 2017.
Second, the council is allowed to appoint a new councilor within 40 days of the vacancy, by a majority vote of the remaining quorum– in this case, three of the four members. Appointment requires the council to publish notice of its intent, but the appointment can be made immediately after the published notice. The term for a vacancy filled by appointment would expire upon the city’s next election.
However, within 14 days after the notice is published or the appointment made, any citizen may file a petition calling for a special election. The number of signatures required would be equal to 15 percent of the number of voters who voted in the last city election. Based on the 2013 city election, a petition for a special election would need 39 valid signatures.
Petersen’s resignation comes on the heels of an announcement from City Administrator Michon Jackson that she is leaving her position with the city effective Feb. 6. Jackson accepted a new position in Marco Island, Florida.