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City accepting applications to fill city council vacancy

Grand Marais City Hall in winter
Grand Marais City Hall in winter

At the Grand Marais City Council meeting on Wednesday, November 28, the council addressed the vacancy on the board due to Carl “Pete” Gresczyk deciding to decline the council seat to which he had been elected.

WTIP has been reporting on this on-again, off-again story, since shortly after the November 6 election, when Gresczyk first voiced concerns about a possible financial conflict of interest. His company, G&G Septic, has a contract with the city of Grand Marais to haul sewage sludge to Duluth on a regular basis. He also has a contract with the city for rental of PortaPotties in the city.

The city’s attorney Chris Hood worked with Gresczyk to find a way for him to serve without a conflict, however, Gresczyk expressed concern about the public perception of his company and his family and ultimately declined the position.

At the November 28 meeting, the city passed a resolution declaring a vacancy on the city council, the first step in finding a new councilor. City Administrator Mike Roth told the council that a special election does not need to be held. The council has the authority to appoint a citizen to the two-year council seat. Listen to related interview with City Administrator Mike Roth, here.

Gresczyk defeated incumbent Jonathan Steckelberg, who had been appointed to fill a vacancy created when Councilor Tracy Benson moved out of the city and resigned. Steckelberg does not automatically continue on the council, as his appointment was specifically designed to end when the special election could be held.

Steckelberg could apply to serve again. He was just 24 votes behind Gresczyk in the council race.

The city has heard from another candidate. Craig Schulte ran in the three-way race for the other council seat on the November ballot. Schulte was just one vote behind Councilor Anton Moody, who was reelected to his council seat, along with Kelly Swearingen.
Schulte submitted a letter expressing interest in an appointment to fill the council vacancy.

The council decided to advertise for applicants interested in assuming the vacant position. They will accept applications until Dec. 7. The council will review the applications and possibly make a decision at the Dec. 12 city council meeting.  

Anyone interested in being appointed to the Grand Marais City Council can learn more by calling City Hall at 218-387-1848 or emailing cityhall@boreal.org.