Continuing his legacy: Atkins Hoggatt appointed to council
Only one round of voting was necessary this time to appoint Sarah Atkins Hoggatt to the District 5 common council seat left vacant after the death of her husband John Hoggatt in April.
Atkins Hoggatt said this appointment will allow her to continue Hoggatt's legacy of service to the community.
"I am very much looking forward to completing my husband's term," Atkins Hoggatt said.
The attempt to fill the empty seat started at the last council meeting on June 4, when the list of four candidates morphed through withdrawals and reconsiderations. That night five rounds of voting was not able to produce a clear winner with the required four-vote majority.
At Monday's meeting Council Member Joyce Hall made a motion to add Atkins Hoggatt back onto the list of candidates being considered. The council had originally planned, on suggestion from Council Member Randy Morrissette, to consider only Mary Claire Olson Potter and Elizabeth Malanaphy during this meeting after they were the only two to receive votes in the last round of voting on June 4.
The motion to reconsider Atkins Hoggatt was approved 4-1, with Morrissette voting no.
Atkins Hoggatt told the council if appointed, she would absolutely run again when the term ended. She clarified that her answer of uncertainty to this question at the last meeting was because she wants to ensure the residents feel she's doing a good job representing them. The process of collecting signatures for election would show that, she said.
The other two remaining candidates also addressed the council again ahead of the vote.
Potter reiterated her experience, serving the city for 17 years first as Hudson Chamber of Commerce president and now on the planning commission and board of appeals. She said she would listen to both residents and businesses in the district, and bring experience and commitment to the role.
"I do not come with an agenda," Potter said. "I want to represent the views of district five and address the issues of the city working all together."
Malanaphy encouraged the council not to vote for her, saying Atkins Hoggatt was the better candidate. She also said Potter had amazing qualifications and would make an excellent council member.
Malanaphy suggested the council consider adding one or two at-large members to the council, as is done in other cities like River Falls.
With Atkins Hoggatt back in the running, the council voted only once before receiving the 4-1 majority necessary to appoint her. Potter received the other vote.
Atkins Hoggatt immediately joined the council for the rest of the meeting, taking her new place in Hoggatt's seat.
Beyond her required duties on council and committees, Atkins Hoggatt said she wants to serve as a liaison for her constituents, helping them navigate city services.
"I want them to feel that I'm accessible," she said.
To this end she plans on setting up office hours once she has her bearings in the new role.