Oregon Village Hall

Oregon Village Hall, 2015

The Village Board is taking candidate applications to fill its vacant seat, formerly held by the late David Donovan, until 4:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 13.

Village administrator Mike Gracz told the Observer trustees will interview interested applicants at their Monday, Aug. 17, meeting. The board voted Monday, July 20, to appoint someone to fill the vacancy and order a special April 2021 election for a one-year term. Based on statutory timelines, a memo from village attorney Matthew Dregne to the board states, it is too late to conduct anything during the Tuesday, Nov. 3, general election.

Donovan, who died June 19 after a battle with amyloidosis and multiple myeloma, a bone marrow disease, had been reelected in April for a second term. He had been appointed to fill the seat Jeff Boudreau vacated in November 2019.

Trustees voted for the temporary appointment over three others outlined in Dregne’s memo, calling it a hybrid approach that addresses the vacancy right off the bat and still involves the public. They originally had the choice to leave the seat vacant until the term expires in April 2022, leave it vacant until an April 2021 special election or appoint someone until April 2022.

Some trustees appeared to think appointing a candidate until April 2022 was the best choice, while others wanted an option that was “more true to democracy,” as trustee Amanda Peterson put it during the July 20 meeting.

“It should go to the people,” she said.

Trustee Jerry Bollig entertained leaving the seat vacant for what was left of Donovan’s term. He made the point that since trustees agree unanimously on most decisions, having a seventh member as a tie-breaker vote wasn’t the biggest priority. Bollig also shared concerns not many residents would apply for the vacated seat.

“It’s not like the voters care whether we have six or seven people on the board,” Bollig said. “We all represent the desires of the community.”

Cory Horton, trustee, said he agreed with Peterson, but spoke on the advantages of appointing someone until an April 2021 special election.

“Our history has been to fill the vacancy,” he said. “The one benefit of appointing someone for a year is that it gives someone else a chance to get involved and see if they are going to like (being on the board).”

Email Emilie Heidemann at emilie.heidemann@wcinet.com or follow her on Twitter at @HeidemannEmilie.

Emilie Heidemann joined Unified Newspaper Group in 2018, where she serves as the community and business editor for four publications, as well as a quarterly magazine. Emilie covers the Village of Oregon and Fitchburg community beat.