Modale Mayor James Cox offered to resign at the March 11 regular Modale City Council meeting if council members wanted him to do so.
Though he was not present at the May 13 regular meeting, Cox still serves as Mayor.
However, Councilman Marlin Dugdale previously turned in his written resignation and was at the recent meeting to address the vacant seat.
Councilman Kevin Ganzhorn opened the public hearing to address the open council seat and appoint a new councilmember.
“I have no objections to whomever applied for this position,” Sal Vittitoe said. “The only thing I would like to say is that I voted for all of you, including Marlin. Please do not take my vote away from me. That is what you are doing if you are going to appoint a new city council member.”
Vittitoe added that Dugdale re-applied for the seat.
“Two months ago when I came to a city council meeting, I had no idea what was going on because there was talking amongst you guys that had nothing to do with what the mayor brought up,” Vittitoe said. “There was talking in the back row. I had no idea. I asked the person next to me, ‘What the hell are they talking about?’”
She added that her husband, Councilman Joe Vittitoe, also did not understand what was going on as the conversations had nothing to do with the agenda.
Ganzhorn replied, “It will be up to the council if he gets reappointed. He gave up this position.”
Council member Ray Larsen asked what the city attorney had to say about the matter.
“I spoke to the Secretary of State’s office, and they told me that once you put it (your resignation) in writing with your signature, it is official, and you would have to be appointed just like anybody else,” City Clerk Linda Windschitl said.
Windschitl read a statement from Mayor Cox recommending Katie Offenbacker.
“After speaking with her (Offenbacker), I feel she would be a huge asset to our council and would support her being appointed 100 percent,” Windschitl read. “I feel that Modale really started moving forward at the last meeting with roads, sewer lagoon, and other things. I don’t want Modale to stop moving forward or to look back and not accomplish any more.”
Cox urged the council to put everything else aside and appoint the person they most felt would help Modale maintain that forward motion.
Dugdale and Offenbacker were the only two interested in the open seat.
Dugdale said that he didn’t have an issue if council chooses someone else, but he would like to see the sidewalk project completed.
“There is not going to be hard feelings if I don’t get voted back in,” Dugdale said. “That is not a problem with me.”
Offenbacker has been a Modale citizen for 11 years, and said she is ready to serve the community.
“I have heard talk amongst the town that I am taking it for the wrong reasons, and I would highly disagree. I am ready to do my part and do what I can to make it a better community and help it prosper,” Offenbacker said. “I feel that it is my turn to step up, and I am willing to do so.”
Larsen moved to reinstate Dugdule, and added that this issue is connected to the lagoon issue.
“We have to understand what went on here. That kind of thing cannot go on at any public meeting, plain and simple. We are here to do the people’s business, not beat each other up,” he said. “I don’t blame anyone for getting upset and turning in a premature letter of resignation. Sometimes you have to step away, but the greater good is solving our sewer problem, and there is not a lot of realistic thought going into that process right now.”
Another resident offered that a new, youthful perspective might be just what the community needs. He added that the time has come for Modale to move past the “35 years ago” train of thought.
Again Larsen brought the discussion back to the lagoon, and Modale Librarian Sherri Schulz called a Point of Order, stating that the agenda item currently being discussed is the appointment of a council member.
Larsen’s motion eventually died for a lack of a second. Council member Josh Marshall moved, and Ganzhorn seconded, to appoint Offenbacker and the motion passed with only Larsen voting nay.
Offenbacker was sworn in and sat on council for the remainder of the meeting.
Offenbacker started a conversation about the speed of drivers going through town and the ongoing discussion on social media.
Council has been considering signs with flashing lights to warn drivers of the decreased speed limits. Council members and city personnel plan to continue looking for a solution.
Additionally, council and citizens hoped that traffic will decrease significantly with Interstate 29 open, although since the meeting it has once again closed due to Missouri River flooding.