Brooklyn Park swore in its new City Council Feb. 4, with new Councilmember Boyd Morson and returning Councilmembers Susan Pha and Lisa Jacobson taking the oath of office in the city’s council chambers.
The body is now temporarily stunted at six members following the departure of former Mayor Jeff Lunde, who was sworn in to the Hennepin County Board of Commissioners the same day.
With Lunde’s absence, Councilmember Tonja West-Hafner was appointed to serve as mayor pro tem in a 4-0 vote, with Morson and West-Hafner abstaining.
“Thank you to all of you for voting for me for mayor pro tem – I’ll do the best I can,” West-Hafner said.
While the city’s charter does not exclude the mayor pro tem from running for mayor, Councilmembers Terry Parks and Wynfred Russell said they would prefer to have someone in the role that does not plan to run.
“I don’t have any direct plans right at this moment” to run for mayor, West-Hafner said.
“It’s an unfair advantage I think, in my mind, if the mayor pro tem is running for mayor, but we can find out after February,” Parks said. “If she does run for mayor, maybe we can consider (having) her step back and someone else can do it.”
The council also approved plans for a special election to fill the mayor’s seat. Two timelines were approved, one for a scenario without a primary election, and one with a primary election.
In either scenario, candidate filing will open Feb. 2 and close Feb. 16.
If two or fewer candidates file for the seat, the special election will be held April 13.
If more than two candidates file for the seat triggering a primary election, absentee ballot voting will begin Feb. 26. April 13 would then be the primary election day.
Following the primary, absentee voting for the special election will begin June 25, and the special election will be hosted Aug. 10.
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