July 18, 2024

Jen Worisek appointed to city council

Jen Worisek was appointed to the vacant Ward 3 council position Tuesday night. Worisek has previously run for this position.

Almost two months after the resignation of Ward 3 councilmember Matt Levine, Creston City Council appointed Jen Worisek Tuesday to the position. She will finish out Levine’s term, which is up for reelection in 2025.

Worisek had previously run for city council in 2021, but was defeated by incumbent Levine. Levine received 127 votes, while Worisek received 103. She works as a paramedic at Greater Regional Health, and was previously a firefighter for the Creston Fire Department.

Councilmembers Richard Madison, Jocelyn Blazek and Martin Graham formed a committee to interview Ward 3 applicants and recommend an appointee to the position. They shared their recommendation of Worisek Tuesday.

However, before the council had a chance to discuss this appointment, Mayor Waylon Clayton suggested going to a special election instead.

“I talked with my lawyer, I’ve also talked with the League of Cities and I’ve also talked with our community members,” Clayton said. “I’m going to recommend that we go to a special election. You guys to do not have to do that, you can do what you want in this thing, but my recommendation after listening to the people is that we move to that.”

A special election would cost between $1,750 and $2,500. Citizens of Ward 3 also have 14 days after the appointment of a councilmember to ask for a special election. To do so, a minimum of 35 signatures from people living in Ward 3 must be collected.

Blazek said she was not in opposition to a special election, but waiting this long to propose one tied the council’s hands.

“Iowa code sets a very tight timeframe for filling a vacancy,” Blazek said. “I don’t think any of us were opposed to a special election, but if the mayor felt so strongly about it, why was this not brought up six weeks ago? Our timeframe expires Friday. I feel like if we were going to consider a special election, we should have done so when we received the resignation.”

Iowa code requires the city to fill the vacant council position within 60 days of the previous councilmember’s resignation.

Blazek said she was happy to eventually go to a special election if so wanted by citizens of Ward 3, but that for now an appointment should be made in order to follow Iowa code.

“I think the best option we have right now is to go ahead with the appointment,” Blazek said. “It fulfills our obligations, it gives Ward 3 a representative, it allows us to move forward in conducting business and it still gives the citizens time to conduct a petition if they want to do so.”

Councilmember Kiki Scarberry made the motion to approve the appointment of Worisek, seconded by councilmember Steve Wintermute. The appointment was approved unanimously.

Erin Henze

Originally from Wisconsin, Erin is a recent graduate from UW-Stevens Point. Outside of writing, she loves to read and travel.