Spring Lake Park Council Member Bob Nelson was appointed interim mayor July 15 after former Mayor Cindy Hansen resigned July 1. The city is now looking for applicants to fill Nelson’s former council seat.
Nelson, who has been a resident of Spring Lake Park over 60 years, was first elected to the City Council in 2000 and elected mayor in 2006.
Hansen defeated Nelson when he ran for a second term in 2010, but he has since served as a council member.
“I’m thrilled and honored to be back in the position of mayor of Spring Lake Park,” Nelson said. “I’m ecstatic, and I’m looking forward to the challenge.”
Hansen announced her immediate resignation July 1, citing a move out of the city. She did not respond to multiple requests from ABC Newspapers for further comments on her resignation.
“The resignation of a sitting mayor is a rare occurrence, but it’s not unheard of,” City Administrator Daniel Buchholtz said.
The last mayoral resignation in Spring Lake Park occurred in December 1989 when Mayor Don Masterson resigned and Council Member Harley Wells was appointed to fill the mayor’s seat.
Hansen had been elected to three terms as mayor, most recently in 2018 when she defeated sitting Council Member Barbara Goodboe-Bisschoff.
After Hansen’s resignation, Nelson was appointed as acting mayor, effective July 2, until an interim mayor could be appointed at the July 15 council meeting.
On July 15 the City Council unanimously approved a resolution to accept Hansen’s resignation and declare a vacancy for the office of mayor.
Minnesota state law only allows an appointed council member to serve as interim mayor for two years or less. With Hansen only serving six months of her latest four-year term, a special election will be needed during the 2020 election season.
The individual elected mayor in November 2020 will take office immediately after receiving a certificate of election. That candidate will serve the remainder of Hansen’s term.
Nelson said he plans to run for the mayoral seat in the 2020 special election.
At the July 15 meeting, Council Member Ken Wendling moved to nominate Nelson to serve as interim mayor.
Then Goodboe-Bisschoff immediately presented a resolution nominating herself for the position.
Wendling’s resolution was considered first because it was presented first. The resolution passed in a 2-1 vote, with Goodboe-Bisschoff dissenting and Nelson abstaining.
The council also declared a vacancy for Nelson’s former council seat, and the city is accepting applications. The City Council will interview the candidates and make an appointment.