Dane County Board Supervisor George Gillis announced his resignation from the District 14 seat, prompting the county to consider appointing a replacement.
Gillis, who is also the executive director of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin, is moving out of his district on the city of Madison’s southwest side. He plans to formally resign June 22.
“I have been fortunate to serve the neighborhoods in District 14 over the past five years,” Gillis said in a statement. “My work on various standing committees has allowed me to appreciate the many ways county government impacts the residents of this county in a positive way.”
Under current Dane County ordinances, a special election is required to fill Gillis’ seat. However, state law prohibits holding it until after the fall general election.
The Board of Supervisors will consider an amendment to county ordinances to allow for a temporary appointment to fill the vacancy.
“It is concerning that a vacancy at this point in the term would mean the district would have no representation for the better part of a year, including through the county’s budget process in the fall,” board Chair Sharon Corrigan said.
The proposed amendment would authorize the board chair to make a temporary appointment, with confirmation by the full board, if the vacancy occurs early in the term. The appointed person would be subject to a special election during the next regular spring election.
The board’s next general election would be in the spring of 2020, but the next regular spring election is in 2019.
The appointment process requires the person seeking the seat to circulate nomination papers and gather 25 signatures and a public hearing in the district. The county clerk sets the timeline once the seat is vacated, and Corrigan will make the appointment within a month of the vacancy.
The appointed and confirmed person would hold office until the special election in spring 2019.
“Clearly, having a special election as soon as possible makes sense,” Corrigan said. “However, state statutes preclude that from happening this year. The appointment process will allow the people of District 14 to continue to have a seat at the county government table.”