Otho names Groat mayor

OTHO – Former Otho Mayor Mark Groat was appointed to the position of mayor again at a special council meeting Tuesday night.

The appointment comes after Joe Hayes resigned as mayor July 1. No explanation has been given for the resignation.

The council appointed Rob Ewing as its fifth council member at its last meeting.

Former council member Gary Fox, who had been mayor pro tem, resigned on June 13. Attempts to reach Fox and Hayes for comment were unsuccessful.

Groat said he has served two terms as mayor, most recently running in 2009. He also served on the City Council for 10 years or so, he said.

“I thought hard about this the last two or three weeks,” Groat said. “I’ve done it for a few years, so I kind of know what’s going on.”

Ewing and Otho resident Jason Hamburger also applied for the position.

Hamburger said he moved back to Iowa in 2009, and moved to Otho in 2010.

The four council members, excluding Ewing, wrote names on slips of paper and passed them to meeting chair Brant Farrand. The vote was 3 for Groat, 1 for Hamburger.

The council, including Ewing, then voted unanimously to appoint Groat. Groat then named Farrand mayor pro tem.

When Hayes was elected in 2013, Groat did not run for the office.

“I thought I’d let someone else take the reins,” he said. “The person who was there, I thought would do a really good job, so I decided not to run.”

Groat and Ewing will be up for re-election in the November 2015 city election.

The citizens could also petition for a special election this year if not satisfied with the council’s choices, said City Clerk Glenda Rasmussen. The petition would need at least 10 valid signatures, and more would be better in case some were deemed invalid, she said. Valid signatures must come from residents of Otho who are registered to vote.