The Moorhead City Council will review recommendation from city attorney John Shockley next week to determine a plan for filling the open seat in Ward 2. The position was vacated earlier this month when its former occupant, Shelly Aasen Carlson, was appointed unanimously to fill the unexpired term of former mayor Johnathan Judd, who is joining the Seventh Judicial District as a judge based in Fergus Falls.
According to the attorney, the city charter lays out the procedure for filling the vacancy. After the seat has been declared vacant, the opening must be announced publicly and applicants solicited by the council. Beyond that, the specific details are left to members of the council.
Shockley said prospective appointees generally have completed the same application that’s used for city commissions and boards, generally establishing their qualifications. Depending on the number who respond, the council could decide to cull the list to finalists – historically, three to five – or briefly interview all candidates. Members Larry Seljevold and Steve Lindaas expressed a preference for a relatively short period of two weeks for soliciting applications. Several members supported advertising the vacancy more widely beyond the required legal notice in The Extra to reach as many interested residents as possible.
Shockley agreed to circulate a memo and prospective timelines to council members next week, which they’ll consider and decide at their regular meeting March 8. If the applicant pool opens at that time, they could make a decision as soon as their second monthly meeting March 22.