Johnson County to hold special election to fill supervisors vacancy

There will be a special election on June 8 to fill the Board of Supervisors vacancy left by Janelle Rettig, who resigned her seat on April 18.


Ryan Adams

A sign marking a polling location is seen outside the North Liberty Community Center in North Liberty on Tuesday, November 3, 2020. In 2016, Johnson County was one of six Iowa counties to vote for a democratic presidential candidate, according to the New York Times.

Caleb McCullough, Managing Editor

Johnson County will hold a special election on June 8 to fill a vacancy left by Janelle Rettig, who resigned early this week.

A committee made up of County Auditor Travis Weipert, County Recorder Kim Painter, and County Treasurer Tom Kriz decided on Friday that the county will hold the special election to fill the seat, opting for the election over filling the seat by appointment.

Rettig announced her resignation on April 18, saying she wanted to leave the office as the COVID-19 pandemic was wrapping up, and referencing health challenges as well. Supervisors chair Pat Heiden said Rettig’s announcement came as a surprise.

The race to fill the seat had already been populated before the decision to hold an election was finalized. Johnson County Deputy Treasurer Scott Finlayson and former Lone Tree Mayor Jon Green have announced intent to run for the seat.

As the Iowa City Press-Citizen first reported, Finlayson was the first to announce candidacy for the position. Finlayson was hired as the assistant Johnson County Attorney in 2007 and became the county’s deputy’s county treasurer in 2012, according to the Press-Citizen. He is also the treasurer of the Johnson County Democrats.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Finlayson wrote that his experience in finances and county government make him prepared for the job.

“We are going to need experienced and caring leadership to hit the ground running in this particular period as we navigate our way through Covid and into a new normal,” he wrote. “I feel proud and perfectly prepared to serve the people of Johnson County as we move forward.”

Green, 38, was the mayor of Lone Tree, Iowa, from 2018 to 2019. He has also held a position on the Iowa Democratic Party State Central Committee, and was formerly the press secretary for Wyoming Gov. Dave Freudenthal.

In a press release Thursday, Green said he wanted to focus on giving COVID-19 relief to essential workers and work with local activist groups on racial and restorative justice.

“We talk about ‘essential’ workers, but that’s usually code for ‘expendable,'” Green wrote in the press release. “Workers should expect as much assistance as the politically connected in this community. Affordable housing must mean more than a Section 8 voucher landlords won’t be required to accept. Our mental health resources here are excellent — but woefully inadequate to the crises at hand.”