Dane County Board Sup. George Gillis is resigning from the board in a week, presenting a problem to officials because state law won’t allow for a special election until after the November elections.
Gillis represents the 14th District on Madison’s Southwest Side. He is resigning after five years on the board because he is moving out of the district.
“This county is special, and I intend to continue to contribute to the community, just not as an elected official at this time,” Gillis said.
The board can’t hold a special election now, even though county ordinances require one, but board Chairwoman Sharon Corrigan said state law won’t allow a special election until after the general elections in November, so an amendment to the county ordinance is being considered to allow for a temporary appointment to fill the vacancy.
The next general election for the board isn’t until spring of 2020, but the next regular spring election is in 2019, so an appointed supervisor could run for the seat in 10 months.
A vacant seat not filled until November or beyond would reduce the 37-member board to 36.
“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 the year, including through the county’s budget process in the fall,” Corrigan said.
The full board would need to approve an amendment allowing for an appointment to the board.
The appointment process would include requiring the person seeking the appointment to circulate nomination papers and obtain signatures of at least 25 district residents. A public hearing would also be held in the district.
The county clerk would set the timing of the declaration of candidacy and filing of papers, once the seat is vacated, with Corrigan making the appointment within a month of the vacancy.
The person appointed would serve until the special election in spring 2019.
“Clearly, having a special election as soon as possible makes sense,” Corrigan said. “However, state statutes precludes that from happening this year.”
The amendment will be taken up by the board’s executive committee before the full board considers it at its next regular meeting on Thursday.