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Editorial: Consider running for office

It’s a difficult time of year to think about civic duty, but that’s exactly what must happen if someone is thinking about running for a position on an area board in the spring election.

Despite the hectic schedule surrounding Christmas, now is the time to be exploring the procedure for seeking office in the villages, on the school boards or the county board in Pierce County.

Some positions require the circulation of nomination papers; others need only a declaration of candidacy. The spring election is Tuesday, April 1, 2014 (Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014, primary, if needed), but all necessary preliminary work, regardless of the governmental unit (except those with caucuses), must be completed by 5 p.m. on the first Tuesday in January, which is Tuesday, Jan. 7 in 2014.

It’s too early to tell in most municipalities if incumbents in each of the positions will run again. Some will, some won’t. That, of course, shouldn’t discourage a citizen who’s interested in seeking office. When voters are offered a choice, it brings more people to the polls and gives citizens options to consider.

We pay tribute to all the people currently serving in local government and to those considering the possibility of running for office. The pay is low, criticism is often high and the responsibilities are huge. Those willing to serve are true public servants.

Positions open in the Village of Ellsworth are the three trustee seats now held by Richard J. Hines, Michael J. Steele and Richard Sweig.

Positions open on the Ellsworth School Board are those currently held by Kurt Buckner and Rick Kornmann.

The situation is similar to Ellsworth in the Villages of Elmwood, Plum City and Spring Valley, along with for the Elmwood, Plum City, Prescott, River Falls and Spring Valley school boards.

In the Villages of Bay City and Maiden Rock, caucuses will be held. The Town of Trenton will have candidates circulating papers for town board, one of the few towns where a caucus isn’t held.

All of the 17 county board supervisors are up for election in April. They all run at the same time in even-numbered years. Candidates must live in the district they hope to serve. They must register with the county clerk and collect at least 20, but no more than 100, signatures on their nomination papers.

Pierce County Board members are paid $40 per meeting for committee meetings, $50 for county board meetings and $10 for each hour after four. They’re also paid mileage.

Now is the time to put your plan into motion if you’re considering becoming a public office holder.