Six candidates, all men, have put their names forward to become the next mayor of Brainerd. The Crow Wing County city of 13,500 has been without an elected leader since Mayor James Wallin, 73, died suddenly in September. Wallin, a longtime resident of the area, was named Brainerd Citizen of the Year just weeks before his death.
The City Council plans to give each candidate up to 20 minutes to speak at their Nov. 30 meeting, said council president Gary Scheeler. The candidates include a realtor, the city's former fire chief, a retired state representative and a local business owner, among others.
The council may appoint someone to the mayor's position immediately after hearing from the candidates, said Scheeler. Otherwise they will wait until the council's Dec. 7th meeting. Wallin's death means the council's appiontment will only serve until the next general election, in 2016, when voters will elect someone to serve out the remaining two years of Wallin's term.
This is the second death in office in two years for Brainerd public officials. City Council president and former mayor Bonnie Cumberland, 67, died in February of last year. She was found dead in her home when she missed the start of a regularly scheduled council meeting.
Brainerd has a weak-mayor form of government, with the mayor's vote counting only in those instances when the City Council deadlocks in a tie.