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City Council selects Richard Vanselow for vacant District 6 seat

Richard Vanselow, right, studies his notes prior to being interviewed by the City Council for the Distict 6 aldermanic seat. The council later selected him to replace former alderperson Alan Burchill, now Hudson's mayor. The other applicants waiting to be interviewed, from left, are John Wohlers, Leif Halverson, Greg Ewig, Mary Claire Potter and Michael Lemberg.1 / 2
New District 6 Alderperson Richard Vanselow2 / 2

On the fourth round of voting Monday night, the Hudson City Council selected Richard Vanselow 3-2over Mary Claire Potter to replace now Mayor Alan Burchill as the District 6 alderperson.

The council delayed the interview process scheduled to start at 6 p.m. for half an hour to give applicant Mark Pribonic time to arrive from his workplace in Minneapolis.

The alderpersons began interviewing the six other applicants for the position at 6:30 p.m., and drew out the process until Pribonic arrived at 7:30 p.m.

Pribonic explained that he had been stuck in traffic for two and a half hours because of the evening's snowstorm.

There were eight applicants for the position originally, but City Administrator Devin Willi announced that Jeffrey Tersteeg had withdrawn his application.

Gregory Ewig, Leif Halverson, Michael Lemberg and John Wohlers made their cases for representing District 6 - in addition to Vanselow, Potter and Pribonic.

On the first ballot, Potter received two votes and Vanselow, Pribonic and Halverson received one each.

After a second round of secret balloting produced the same result, the alderpersons decided to hold a run-off between Vanselow, Pribonic and Halverson, with the top vote-getter competing against Potter on the next ballot.

Vanselow won the run-off with three votes. Pribonic and Halverson again got one vote each.

Then the final round of balloting was held with Vanselow gaining three votes to Potter's two.

Alderperson Scot O'Malley moved to suspend a council rule that would have required a four-vote majority to fill the vacant council seat. The motion passed on a 4-1 vote with Alderperson Randy Morrissette opposing it.

Vanselow, a retired 3M Co. manager, was sworn into office immediately.

City Council selects Richard Vanselow for vacant District 6 seat


In introducing himself to the council, Vanselow said he has enjoyed "every minute of life" in Hudson since he and his wife moved here from Chicago 25 years ago.

"We raised our two sons in this community, experienced the residential growth, the industrial expansion, the retail expansion on the hill and the current economic downturn," he wrote in his application letter to the council.

Vanselow, who resides at 1525 North Ridge Drive, said he would like to see the county land north of St. Croix Valley YMCA preserved as green space.

He said he also is interested in how the Carmichael Road corridor is developed, and what impact the development will have on the Sixth District.

The district is on the northeast side of the city. It is bounded by Eighth, Orange and Seventh streets to the west, St. Croix Street to the north, the city limits to the east (just beyond Carmichael Road) and Vine Street to the south.

Encouraging development of the mostly vacant River City Center property on Second Street also should be priority for the council, Vanselow indicated.

He complimented the council for its cost-cutting and said controlling spending will remain an important issue for the city as the federal and state governments reduce aid to local governments.

Council's questions

The applicants were presented with three written questions they were asked to address in their remarks: 1. Do you have any community concerns? 2. Do you have any specific goals or expectations for District 6 or for the city in general? and 3. Why do you desire to be a member of the common council?

Vanselow said he wanted to contribute to the council's efforts to control costs and encourage the growth of the city.

Potter highlighted her seven years as president of the Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau between 1996 and 2004.

She said her 17 years in the Chamber industry (including with the Minneapolis Chamber) gave her experience working with a wide range of people.

"I worked to build consensus among the members regarding issues facing the businesses and the community, including small retail shops to major manufacturers," she said in her application letter.

She said she gained an understanding of the City Council's work and challenges during time as head of the Hudson Chamber. Her last name was Olson then. She's now married to John Potter, executive director of The Phipps Center for the Arts.

Potter is member of the Plan Commission and helped develop the revised city Comprehensive Plan adopted at the end of 2009.

"I believe Hudson is in a very good place right now," she said.

She said Hudson continues to gain recognition as a fun city to visit and a good place to live. She's been a resident of the city for 14 years.

Who's running in April?

Vanselow and Halverson raised their hands when Alderperson Scot O'Malley asked for a show of hands from the applicants who had filed as candidates for a full two-year term on the council in the spring 2011 election.

Potter and Ewig indicated that they hadn't filed declarations of candidacy yet, but they planned to.

Pribonic said he had already circulated nomination papers and gotten the required number of signatures to have his name placed on the April 5 ballot.

City Administrator Devin Willi said Pribonic needed to file his declaration of candidacy.

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

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