Oelwein City Councilman At-Large Matt Derifield has resigned his position effective Sunday, Nov. 10.
In an email to The Daily Register Tuesday afternoon Derifield said he no longer felt he could dedicate the time necessary to the citizens of Oelwein.
Derifield was only about halfway through his four-year term in office upon submitting his resignation. City Administrator Dylan Mulfinger said the move came as a complete surprise to him and other members of the Council.
According to Iowa Code, the Council has 60 days in which to fill the vacancy. Mulfinger said they may decide to hold a work session to discuss replacement options.
He noted that even if the Council appoints a replacement to serve out the remaining two years of Derifield’s term, the citizens still have the option to force an election through petition. A petition of at least 200 qualified voters’ signatures can be filed seeking a special election. Because it is an At-Large Council seat, a special election would be citywide, which increases the cost to the city.
Mulfinger said the city’s share of the bill for the last election on Nov. 5, was $3,000. He said a special election could end up costing more because the city would not be sharing the expense with the school district.
Following the hotly contested city election of last week, in which two incumbents lost their bids for re-election, it remains to be seen if citizens will be satisfied with a Council appointment.
The following is Derifield’s letter of resignation addressed to the community:
“To all the wonderful citizens of Oelwein,
This past Sunday I had to make a hard decision, but it was one that had to be done. I had to make a decision that was best for me at this time.
I have found myself not being able to dedicate the time necessary to the citizens of Oelwein anymore, as I have taken a new path in life. With all that being said, I regret to inform you I have submitted my letter of resignation from the council.
This was a tough decision. I tried to figure out a way to make it successful but in the end this wasn’t possible. It was a great pleasure to have served the outstanding community for nearly the last two years.
The council has made some great strides, and I’m blessed to be a part of them. I thoroughly enjoyed the time and memories spent working with the council, mayor and city administrator. I truly am blessed to have everyone vote for me two years ago.
Thanks again for all your support, and thanks to my wife, Kate, who’s been there for me every step of the way.
God Bless you all,
Matthew L Derifield
Former Council At-Large”