Updated: Five apply to fill vacant council seat as applications close

by Joni Astrup

Associate editor

Five people have applied to be appointed to an open seat on the Elk River City Council.

The latest applicants are Brett Dexheimer, Nick Freitag and Barbara Jane Olsen. Bernard Ruppert and Stewart Wilson had applied earlier. The application deadline was Tuesday, Jan. 15.

Dexheimer is the vice president-operations at Thiele Technologies in Northeast Minneapolis.

He was an original member of a team of citizens that attempted to establish a charter school in the Handke building in Elk River in the early 2000s. He currently works with Elk River High School and local businesses to upgrade some of the school’s engineering computing technology. He also was a Elk River Youth Hockey Association volunteer coach for more than 10 years.

Dexheimer has lived in Elk River since 1996.

Freitag is the director of sales and marketing at Alliance Machine Inc. in Elk River.

He has been involved in Habitat for Humanity, Gateway Church and the Chamber of Commerce.

Freitag has lived in Elk River for 29 years.

Olsen is a real estate broker and owns her company, Best Way Realty. She also is employed as an office assistant in the Sherburne County Assessor’s Office.

Olsen was a political science major in college. She once ran against Dan Erhart for Anoka County commissioner. She also worked on Coon Rapids’ comprehensive plan when the city was experiencing a growth boom and served on the Coon Rapids Planning and Zoning Commission for more than 10 years. She is a member of Central Lutheran Church/WHY Church; a member of the national, Minnesota and St. Paul Association of Realtors; and a member of MAPP Minnesota Association of Assessment Personnel.

Olsen has lived in Elk River for 17 years.

Ruppert is retired. He worked as a security officer and has a college degree in speech communications. He was a candidate for the Minneapolis City Council, Ward 3, in 1983. He is a long-time member of the American Legion and a Vietnam-era Army veteran. Ruppert bought a home in Elk River and occupied it in March 2012.

Wilson is a senior vice president at The Bank of Elk River and chairs the Elk River Housing and Redevelopment Authority. He also is on the Finance Committee for Guardian Angels, is active in the Elk River Rotary Club and is a member of the Chamber of Commerce. Wilson is a lifelong Elk River resident.

An Elk River City Council agenda.
An Elk River City Council agenda.

The Elk River City Council will be appointing a person to serve the remaining two years of Nick Zerwas’ term. Zerwas was elected to the Minnesota House of Representatives in November and has resigned his council seat. His term runs through Dec. 31, 2014.

The city has looked at a process that would include the council interviewing candidates and hosting a public forum or forums before the council makes an appointment. City Administrator Cal Portner is expected to present a time line to the council on Tuesday, Jan. 22.