Council delays filling vacancy

3 residents apply to fill Ostertag’s seat

BAYPORT — The City Council decided Monday to delay appointing one of three applicants to a vacant council seat so they could take more time to evaluate the trio seeking the appointment.

The council plans to hold a special meeting the middle of this month to consider filling the vacancy created by the December death of Councilman Mark Ostertag and discuss the city’s search for a new city manager, according to Sara Taylor, assistant city manager and planner.

Bayport residents Morgan Kamps, Patrick McGann and April Torzewski are the only three applicants for Ostertag’s old council seat, Taylor said. All three submitted brief written statements expressing their desire and qualifications to serve on the council.
Taylor said the council’s decision to delay action on the appointment was done to give the four council members a chance to evaluate Kamps, McGann and Torzewski.

“It’s just to evaluate the applicants’ materials and decide who would be the best candidate,” she said.

Taylor said the council has not set a date for its special meeting, but she expects it will occur in mid-March. That timetable gives the council members about two weeks to consider each applicant before they decide who to appoint to the vacant council seat.

“I think the goal was to appoint them in mid-March and giver them time for orientation and have them on the council April 1. That’s our next regular meeting,” Taylor said.

Taytlor said the council will also use that special meeting to discuss its search for a new city manager with its consultant, Springstead, Inc. Former City Manager Mitch Berg resigned from the job March 2, two days after the council voted to close an investigation into Berg sparked by an city employee’s complaint.

Berg submitted his resignation Dec. 20. He asked the council in January to rescind his resignation, but the council placed Berg on administrative leave pending the outcome of its investigation.

Assistant City Attorney Jennifer Nodes presented the results of her investigation Feb. 28 to the council. She said her inquiry looked into several comments Berg made to city staff and department heads deemed inappropriate. Nodes recommended the council close the investigation based on Berg’s resignation.

Along with closing the investigation, the council voted to send Berg a letter outlining the reasons for its inquiry and decision.

Berg has denied the allegations made in the investigation and said his attorney continues an inquiry into the city’s actions.