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Letter: Use special election for Ward 4 opening

I encourage all of our Willmar City Council members to support holding a special election to fill the vacant seat on the City Council from Ward 4. I would suggest that unless and until those on the City Council favoring an appointment can make a ...

I encourage all of our Willmar City Council members to support holding a special election to fill the vacant seat on the City Council from Ward 4.

I would suggest that unless and until those on the City Council favoring an appointment can make a showing to the people of Willmar that appointing someone to fill the vacant seat on the City Council is, in some demonstrable way, a more beneficial, transparent, and democratic way for their leaders to be chosen.

The presumption should remain with allowing citizens to elect their leaders, not be told who their leaders will be.

At the Ward 4 listening session Thursday, every single person present indicated they wanted a special election held, with the exception of a few who indicated they had no particular opinion.

Not one single person said they preferred an appointment.

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Some expressed the opinion that they believe that a majority of the members of the City Council have already decided that they will be appointing someone.

Councilmember Ahmann denied that assertion, but also described with some specificity the characteristics of a proposed “theoretical” person who could be appointed to fill the spot from Ward 4.

If such a person who matches similar characteristics described by Mr. Ahmann magically appears and is appointed on Monday night, then the citizens of Willmar will once again be confronted by the fact that the City Council has already made a decision behind closed doors, and that mere lip service to democracy is all we will get.

I hope my fears, and the fears of others, will be proved wrong. I hope that the Council has not already decided on an appointment and that a genuine debate occurs on Monday night.

If, however, a majority of the Council appears to all be on the same page, with only minimal debate on such an important topic, and a ready-to-go appointee waiting in the wings, I think it will be clear to the people how the majority on our City Council are happy to make their decisions for them.

Aaron Welch

Willmar

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