Five candidates are in the running to fill a vacancy on the Brainerd City Council.
Council member Sue Hilgart submitted her resignation in July and attended her last council meeting Sept. 3, as she plans to move to Arizona to pursue a new career.
The rest of the council will vote on a replacement during a special meeting at 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 9, when the five candidates will get the opportunity to explain why they would be a good fit.
After the presentations, each council member will vote for one candidate. Unless one candidate has received a majority of votes cast, the following procedure will be used:
Candidates receiving zero votes will be eliminated.
After that, the candidate receiving the fewest votes will be dropped.
If the combined votes of the two lowest candidates do not equal the votes of the next lowest candidate, both will be eliminated.
If there is a tie for the lowest two or three candidates and the combined total does not equal the next lowest candidate, they will be eliminated. If only three nominees remain, there will be a run-off between the tied candidates.
When one candidate receives a majority vote, that person will be appointed to the council.
Tad Erickson has previously served on the city’s planning commission.
“As the city of Brainerd continues to develop into a thriving city, I want to play a more active role in the process,” Erickson wrote on his application. “As Brainerd continues to grow, I want to help find solutions to challenges like housing, transportation, economic development.
“I love the city of Brainerd; Brainerd has many assets that get overlooked, and I see lots of potential for Brainerd.”
Erickson has been a Brainerd resident and property owner for nine years.
Wayne Erickson has been a business owner for more than 21 years and has served on the city’s parks commission, charter commission, Economic Development Authority.
“I would like to be a fair voice for my community within my city,” he wrote on his application. “...I would like helping my city grow into one that welcomes business development and affordable housing.”
Through his government service, Wayne Erickson said he understands the importance of listening to everyone’s views.
Sulamita Furman has previously served on community boards in Grand Rapids.
“I believe in a thriving Brainerd. I want to be a part of that improvement, rehabilitation and revitalization,” she wrote on her application, adding she wants to see Brainerd flourish and believes serving on the city council is a way to do that.
Donald Gorham serves on the city’s planning commission and has served on various other city committees for the last 14 years.
“I have found the experience rewarding,” he wrote on his application. “A seat on the council would be a chance to help my hometown.”
Gorham said his 30 years of work in the small business world and leadership in community groups has given him a background that can help the city.
Michael O’Day believes his communication, listening and critical thinking skills will benefit the council.
“I believe it to be a privilege and an honor to serve your local government,” he wrote. “I think this council is the best way to serve the local government in my own hometown.
“I believe I am good at communicating my ideas, as well as listening to the ideas of others. I have the ability to think critically in complex situations in order to come to the best conclusion.”
Also during Monday’s meeting, the city council will appoint an interim city administrator, as current administrator Cassandra Torstenson submitted her resignation last week and will be leaving the city Oct. 3.
The interim administrator will likely serve for 3-6 months while the council works to hire a full-time replacement.
Editor's note: This story was updated Monday, Sept. 9, to correct a mistake that listed Tad Erickson as a member of the Brainerd Public Utilities Commission.