Osage City Council: Election coin toss winner resigns

Osage City’s Ward 1 city council position is again vacant after the winner of an election tie-breaking coin toss presented his written resignation last week.

Rick Martin, who was appointed in May 2012 to fill a vacancy left by Matt Brewer, won the position in April after tying in the election with Denise Lauber, with each candidate receiving 70 votes. A coin toss determined Martin as the winner.

Osage City Mayor Quintin Robert announced at the end of the July 23 council meeting that Martin had met him at his residence before the meeting and asked that the mayor read Martin’s resignation letter to the council.

“I tried to dissuade him, but he had his heart set,” Robert told the council.

Robert read the letter, “Dear Mayor and Council, As of July 21st, 2013, I am resigning as First Ward council member. Because of personal reasons I feel like I cannot fulfill my responsibilities of a council member. I am thankful I had the opportunity to be involved in city government and thankful for the council members who selected me last year, and also the voters who voted for me during the last election. It has been a privilege to work with everyone and it has been a learning experience for me. I hope and pray your decisions will suit the needs of Osage City. Thank you for your hard work, Sincerely, Rick Martin.”

Robert said the position had “come full circle” with the council again needing to appoint someone to fill it.

“It’s the direction of the council that we appoint someone, and there’s not a lot of guidance on how we do that,” Robert said.

He said past vacancies had been “opened up to the public … and let interested parties come speak to the council,” but noted the tie election in April.

“That ward was decided by a coin toss, a dead heat between him and his opponent Denise Lauber, and we’re only 90 days past the election,” Robert said. “You’re not under any obligation to see if she’s interested, but being so close to the election it would probably be a natural.”

Lauber was present for the April election decision at a meeting of county commissioners; she called “tails” and lost the coin toss. See related story here.

Osage City Council Member Leroy Stromgren said he wanted to table the discussion until the next city council meeting to “let everybody think about how they want to do it,” and that he was shocked at Martin’s resignation.

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