With Mayor Terry Seitz’s announcement he is resigning at the end of the year, a caucus will be held to determine who will finish out his term.
State Senator Mark Messmer, the current chair of the Dubois County Republican party, is organizing the caucus now and anticipates it will be held after Christmas. The caucus will be made up of representatives from each of the 13 precincts in Jasper. During the caucus, they will vote on the appointment to finish the final year of Mayor Seitz’s term.
Candidates must fill out and send an official declaration of candidacy form to Messmer at 795 E. Scherle Lane in Jasper. Forms are available at the Dubois County Clerk’s Office and at Messmer’s office at Messmer Mechanical in Jasper.
Submission must be in at least 72 hours before the caucus. Candidates must live in the City of Jasper and must have voted Republican the last time they voted in a primary.
Messmer stated he had received a call from Councilwoman Nancy Eckerle with her interest to be considered. “I think she is a fine candidate,” he said. “But it is up to the other precinct members to vote on her.”
Eckerle has served as the Jasper Chamber Executive Director and was elected to office in 2015. She did not answer calls or messages for comment this morning.
Councilman Kevin Manley stated he was considering putting his name in for the position but would be taking the weekend to consider it before announcing his decision.
At first Councilman Dean Vonderheide said he didn’t feel he could serve in his other capacities effectively if he were to take on the role of mayor but after receiving some urging to consider it during the day Thursday, he stated he would consider throwing his hat in the ring. In addition to being president of the Jasper Public Library board of directors, Vonderheide also has a burgeoning business he’s developing at the family’s Haysville farm, White River Hops. He started the business after retiring from Kimball International.
Councilman John Bell stated he would not seek the office either noting his own life/work balance as an issue. He is also a business owner and serves on several commissions with the city. He added he would not be running for re-election in 2019.
After a vote is held, the new mayor will be sworn in January 1 or 2.
Update: The story originally stated Manley and Vonderheide were not going to consider the position but both subsequently called after the story was published to let us know they had reconsidered because of the number of calls he had received to put their names in.