Address change forces Waconia councilor’s resignation

Jim Sanborn
Jim Sanborn

The Waconia City Council will soon have to fill an unexpected vacancy as council member Jim Sanborn has announced his resignation from the council effective March 31, 2013.

The reason for the resignation comes down to geography.

Councilors must reside in the ward that they were elected to represent and Sanborn was elected to represent Ward I. Sanborn, his wife, Cheryl, and their five children are moving to a new house in Waconia but the new house is located in Ward II, thus forcing Sanborn’s resignation.

Sanborn discussed the situation in a letter dated Feb. 13, 2013 that he addressed to Mayor Jim Nash and also shared with councilors Kent Bloudek, Charles Erickson, and Marc Carrier, City Administrator Susan Arntz, Kellie Sites of the Waconia Chamber of Commerce, and the Waconia Patriot.

The letter appears here:

Dear Mayor Nash,

This letter is to inform you that I will be resigning from the Waconia City Council, effective March 31, 2013. I am making this announcement today so that you and the Council will have as much time as possible to find and appoint a replacement, and so that you and the Council can continue the business of government smoothly throughout the transition.

I am very pleased that Cheryl and I have found the perfect house for our family in the Legacy Village neighborhood, but I am also saddened that purchasing this new home will require us to leave Ward 1 and move into Ward 2. Those who have worked with me over the past several years know how seriously I take my Council duties, and how much I enjoy public service.

I would like to thank the City staff for all of their help during my time on the Council. Susan, Shane, John, Nicole, Craig, Craig, Jody – and of course Wannetta – were all a huge aid to me in my first months, educating me on how the City works and answering all of my newbie questions. Since then, they have been my partners in keeping Waconia great, and I will miss working with all of them.

Although we are moving to a new address, I still remain a steadfast part of this community and an enthusiastic advocate for Waconia. I plan to remain active in the Waconia Lions, Waconia youth sports, and as a proponent of good government in Carver County and St. Paul. I also understand there is currently an opening on the Waconia Park Board, and I hope the Council will consider me for that position once my Council duties have been fulfilled.

Waconia Minnesota is — by far — the best place I have ever lived. I am honored to have been elected by my neighbors to serve the community on both the School Board and the City Council. I am humbled that the good people in our City have trusted me to be a good steward, and I hope I have lived up to their expectations.

Looking Forward to the Future,
Jim Sanborn

In 2013, Sanborn began the third year of a four-year term that began in 2010. The council discussed the process for filling Sanborn’s seat during its meeting on Tuesday, Feb. 19.

According to Arntz, the council decided to solicit Letters of Interest from eligible members of the public who reside in Ward I by 4:30 p.m., Friday, March 15.  Letters can be emailed to [email protected] or dropped off at city hall.

The City Council plans to interview candidates on Saturday, March 23 with possible appointment on Monday, April 1. Information is posted on the city’s website. For more information, one can contact Arntz at (952) 442-3100 or [email protected]

Arntz noted that Sanborn has been a valuable asset to the council team and that he would be missed, sentiments that were shared by the mayor.

“I have appreciated Councilman Sanborn’s hard work, insight, and leadership for the last two years,” Nash said. “He has proven himself to be a great asset to Waconia and I will miss having him on the council. I wish he and his family the very best in their new home here in Waconia, and look forward to seeing his continued involvement in community events.”

In addition to serving on the city council, Sanborn served on the Waconia School Board for four years from 2007 to 2010.

Sanborn, who is the current president of the Waconia Lions Club and also volunteers his time as a youth basketball coach, said he would consider seeking elected office in the future.

“I certainly wouldn’t rule that out,” he said. “It stinks that I’m not leaving because I lost an election or because of a scandal or because the work got done, it’s because of a change of address. So yeah, I would leave that door open.”

Contact Todd Moen at [email protected]