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Houser bests Oleson, 4-3, in a small vote for a small job at Solid Waste Agency

In Justin Shields, Linn County government, Solid Waste Agency, Tom Podzimek on January 21, 2009 at 7:43 am

Most don’t run for elective office so that can shrink from tasks and responsibilities.

Such was the case at Tuesday’s first monthly meeting of the year for the Cedar Rapids/Linn County Solid Waste Agency Board as the board prepared to elect officers.

The nine-member board is comprised of Mayor Kay Halloran, Cedar Rapids council members Tom Podzimek and Justin Shields, three other council-appointed members, two Linn County supervisors and Charlie Kress, Marion’s representative.

Podzimek is the board’s chairman for a two-year stint, so there was no vote for the position of chair.

The board, though, did need a vice chairman as Linda Langston, Linn supervisor, gave up her slot on the board to newly elected supervisor Brent Oleson. Oleson has argued that his supervisor district should be represented on the solid waste agency board because it represents Marion, the site of the solid waste agency’s Site 2 landfill. Mount Trashmore, the agency’s site 1 landfill, is in Langston’s district, she has noted.

At the meeting Tuesday, Kress jumped into the fray and nominated Oleson, a Marion resident who was attending his first meeting of the board, as vice chairman. Later in the meeting, Oleson was honest enough to preface a question about the expenses related to landfill closure, a signal that he was just getting his feet wet on solid waste.

Someone else nominated long-time Linn supervisor Jim Houser for the post.

It was a little uncomfortable: The post doesn’t matter much, and here were two supervisors positioned to compete for the spot.

There was no, “Why don’t you take it,” or “No, why don’t you?” And once that was decided, who doesn’t, after all, want to come out on top in a matter when people are picking between you and someone else?

With just seven board members in attendance, the vote was first on Oleson. Kress and Podzimek raised their hands, and there was Oleson’s hand for himself.

Shields, Pat Ball, the city’s utilities director, Mark Jones, the city’s solid waste/recycling manager, and Houser voted for Houser.

  1. Its hard to imagine a someone who would do a worse job than Houser, but Oleson is definately that guy. Glad they agreed.

  2. […] 21, 2009 by adambelz Rick Smith reports on the battle for the vice chairmanship of the Solid Waste Agency board. It was Houser vs. Oleson, and Houser emerged […]

  3. I think the Solid Waste Agency could use new blood and a “fresh face” to change it up a bit.

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