The 8th District representative on the Superior City Council announced Monday, Nov. 15, that he is stepping away from public service at the end of the month.
In a Facebook post, Councilor Craig Sutherland cited family, career and health as reasons for stepping down just short of five years after he was first elected.
“I have come to the realization that I need to focus on my health and family,” Sutherland wrote in his resignation letter sent to the city clerk, the mayor and members of the council Monday. He subsequently dropped off a signed copy of the note.
Sutherland said his daughter Grace is now 9 years old and he realized how much time and different events he’s missed with her while sitting in a meeting. He's spent half her life serving on the city council, he said.
“This is the age where it hit me; it’s just too fast,” Sutherland said.
“Family always comes first,” Mayor Jim Paine said, adding that he wishes Sutherland well in his future endeavors.
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Sutherland juggles responsibilities for the family business, Sutherland CBD, with his service on the council despite the day-to-day challenges of having multiple sclerosis.
As a member of the council, he serves on five of the council’s standing and special committees, and is the chairperson for two.
Living with MS, Sutherland said it can be difficult at times to muster the energy needed just to get to a meeting, especially when the seasons change.
“It’s time for me to hang it up,” Sutherland said.
The councilor said he would step down Nov. 30 with the hope that the council would decide to hold a special election in conjunction with the April 2022 election to fill his seat for the remainder of his term. Sutherland’s two-year term expires in April 2023.
Candidates can begin circulating nomination papers on Dec. 1 for seats on the ballot next spring.
Paine laid out the options for the city council at its Tuesday, Nov. 16, meeting.
“The council can take whatever action they choose to fill or not fill the vacancy,” he said.
In the past 20 years, the council has left vacancies or chosen to appoint someone, but always held a special election when the vacancy was longer than one year.
Tuesday night, councilors decided to appoint someone until a special election is held April 5. Anyone hoping to fill the vacancy should submit a letter of interest and resume to the Superior City Clerk's Office by Dec. 1. The resume is not mandatory.
Candidates will have the opportunity to address the council Dec. 7, before councilors consider nominees for the appointment.
Sutherland initially proposed holding the special election, but withdrew his motion after Councilor Tylor Elm proposed filling the vacancy until a special election could be held.
"I really do think that me putting my constituents in this situation, I don't want them to not have a voice for the next five months," Sutherland said.
Of his constituents, Sutherland expressed his gratitude.
“I just want to thank them for their support, even if they didn’t support me,” Sutherland said. “It’s been fun. I just want to encourage anyone that wants to run, and reach out to me if you have any questions.”
This story was updated at 8:55 a.m. Nov. 17 to include the council's decision on filling the vacancy in the 8th District. It was originally posted at 5 p.m. Nov. 16.