FARLEY, Iowa — Farley voters will head to the polls next month to fill an opening on the City Council.

Council members on Monday night voted unanimously to send the matter to an election — rather than appointing someone to fill the position. The election will be held on Jan. 14.

The at-large vacancy was created when Joyce Jarding resigned in late October, citing family matters to which she needed to devote her attention. Jarding had served on the council since 1997.

Mayor Jeff Simon said her resignation was unrelated to a series of recent city staff resignations, including the departure of the city clerk and public works director.

Simon said council members originally intended to appoint someone to the seat, but after receiving three inquiries from people interested in the position, they shifted toward holding a special election.

“All three of them were good candidates, and it was too difficult to decide,” Simon said. “We were faced with that decision and decided that it would be best to let the people decide.”

During the meeting, Council Member Joe Erion asked what would happen if no one ran for the position.

“What if people don’t put in for it, or we are down to one?” he asked. “I’m not saying it will happen. I just want to make sure we have thought it out at least.”

Fellow Council Member Dave Kluesner said such concerns were unfounded.

“I’m not worried about it,” Kluesner said. “I’m sure there will be more than one person who will jump in.”

Erion later clarified that he was aware people have expressed interest in the position, but he is concerned that they might not be willing to put in the work that involves running in an election.

“Before, it was just a matter of us appointing them,” he said. “Now, they need to go out and file a petition. I’m not saying they won’t run, but I was just questioning what we will do if they don’t.”

Farley’s is the second special election slated for Jan. 14 in Dubuque County.

Voters in Peosta also will head to the polls that day to fill the mayoral vacancy. City Council members there initially indicated they would appoint someone to fill the position, but an ensuing citizen petition pushed the matter to a special election.

Simon said the controversy in Peosta did not have an influence on the Farley council’s decision to pursue a special election rather than appoint someone to fill the vacancy there.

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