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Kelly Rae Geater

Kelly Rae Geater

VINTON – The letter of resignation submitted on Tuesday by Benton County Treasurer Kelly Geater will receive formal action today.

Action expected on Friday will allow the Board of Supervisors to move forward on finding a replacement.

“This is not an easy decision,” said Geater with emotion in her voice.

“There is not a whole lot of protection for us as elected officials.”

Geater, who has been the county treasurer since 1999, has accepted another position in Linn County. She worked in the office for three years before election.

Geater said she attempted to work it out that she could work into next year, but her new employers wanted her to start more quickly.

Geater did not elaborate on her reference to the safety of elected officials.

Tuesday’s discussion was conducted in public because as elected official there is no boss-employee privilege with another elected official that would qualify for a closed session.

Gary Bierschenk, a supervisor, said he did not want to accept the resignation, but wished her well.

Rick Primmer, board chairman, said that she had done an awesome job for the county and she would be missed.

Supervisors meet today to review their options to fill the vacancy.

Hayley Rippel, Benton County Auditor, said that under Iowa law, the responsibility for operating an office with an elected official vacancy falls to her.

“Here is the Code section I’ve been researching and the steps we will have to do,” said Rippel on Wednesday.

“So after Friday’s meeting, I’ll hopefully know more and can get a public notice in the newspapers and get moving. We are a team, and I’m staying positive we will work through another transition in the County.”

Here is a quick review of Chapter 69 in the Code of Iowa that supplied to the Board ….

69.3(2) states possession of the office of Treasurer is held by the County Auditor in case of a vacancy.

69.4(4) states County officials submit their resignations by writing to the County Auditor

69.7 states an officer receiving a resignation shall notify the Board, which has been technically done.

69.8(3) states county office vacancies are filled by the Board of Supervisors, unless an election is called as provided in 69.14A. The Board may also decide to fill the vacancy by calling a special election.

69.10 states the appointment made by the Board needs to be done in writing and submitted to the County Auditor’s office.

69.11 states the vacancy will last until the end of the term or the next time the County is called for an election. However, a vacancy shall not appear on a Primary ballot. Therefore, the position would have to appear on the General Election ballot in November to fill the vacancy. This is important for anyone interested in filling the vacancy.

69.14A states, for this purpose, that within 14 days of the publication to fill the vacancy or after the appointment is made, a petition may be filed with the Auditor requesting a special election to fill the vacancy. The petition must be signed by 10% of the votes cast in the county for the during the preceding general election (331.306). This section also states a notice to appoint must be published at least four, but no more than 20 days before the appointment is scheduled to occur. If the vacancy will be filled by appointment, the appointment must be made within 40 days after the vacancy occurs.