Otho loses mayor, council member

OTHO – The mayor of Otho resigned Tuesday. It follows the resignation of a City Council member last month.

No explanation for either departure has been made public.

Mayor Joe Hayes’ resignation letter was received earlier this week, but it did not give any reason, said City Clerk Glenda Rasmussen.

“I’m in no position to talk about that right now,” Hayes said Wednesday afternoon.

Gary Fox, who had been appointed the council’s mayor pro tem, resigned on June 13.

“I’d just as soon at this time not say anything,” Fox said, also on Wednesday afternoon.

Council member Jeff Roach said he had no further information.

“I would like to decline any comments for the fact that I know nothing,” he said.

Hayes was elected in 2013, replacing former Mayor Mark Groat.

Hayes also was appointed mayor on Sept. 9, 2008, for the term ending in 2009, according to the city’s website.

The Messenger’s archives indicate Hayes did not run in the 2008 election to serve a full term.

Groat was elected mayor in the 2008 election for the term beginning in 2009.

At its June 10 meeting, the Otho City Council indicated what it will do next.

“We intend to appoint the vacant council seat at the July 8 meeting,” Rasmussen said.

A legal notification of this intent was published in The Messenger on June 19.

After consulting with the League of Cities on proper procedure, the Council also intends to appoint a mayor at its August meeting, said Webster County Auditor Carol Messerly.

“They will publish notice they want to appoint a mayor,” Messerly said. “Part of that notice is to let citizens know they have the right to petition for an election.”

The petition must be filed with the city clerk within 14 days after the notice is published or 14 days after the appointment is made, whichever is later, she said.

A special election would then need to be held.

If not, the appointed council member and mayor would hold office until the next city election in 2015.

In the absence of a mayor or mayor pro tem, any councilperson can bring the meeting to order, Messerly said. The council must then appoint a temporary chair for the meeting.

Attempts to reach council members Sherry Ackerman, Brant Farrand and Jimmy Beekman were unsuccessful.