Dave Larsen to fill in as mayor until election in Granite Falls

Leslie Moriarty

Herald Writer

GRANITE FALLS — For the next couple of months, city councilman Dave Larsen will be mayor.

Larsen was appointed by the council Wednesday to fill the term of former Mayor Rella Morris, who resigned in preparation for a move to Arizona next week. Larsen will serve until November, when a new mayor is elected.

The council’s decision to appoint Larsen took at least one council member by surprise. Councilman Tom Bergan, who is mayor pro tem and is running for mayor, thought he was a shoo-in for the interim job.

"I expected a little more respect," he said. "I’ve put in 12 years on this council, and this really flabbergasts me."

The other four members of the council voted for Larsen. Bergan voted for himself.

Larsen said he was caught off guard by his name coming up.

"It’s normal procedure for the mayor pro tem to move up to mayor in cases like this," he said. "But I can see it both ways. If that was to have happened, it wouldn’t be fair to the other guys running for mayor."

Bergan said he thinks there was an undercurrent against him.

"For the past eight years that she’s been mayor, she’s been against me getting anything," Bergan said of Morris.

"I’ve been a resident of Granite Falls for 26 years, and I am the third-generation member of my family in Granite Falls. I’ve given a lot to this community, and that’s all I’m in this for. I have no personal agenda."

Bergan is running for mayor against J.D. Blackwell and Butch DeRosia in the primary election next Tuesday. The top two will go on to the Nov. 7 general election.

Larsen has been a council member for four years and is not running for re-election. Morris said she thinks that may be why the council chose him as interim mayor.

"The council didn’t want to give any advantage to one of the candidates that is running for mayor," Morris said.

Councilman Phil Dockendorff agreed.

"We felt if we put Tom in there, it would be like we were endorsing him for mayor," Dockendorff said. "We thought that would be unfair to the other candidates."

Morris denied having any part in the council’s decision to choose Larsen.

Morris and Bergan have had a spirited relationship for some time. In past campaigns, each has accused the other of not residing in the city as required to run for public office.

But Bergan said that by appointing Larsen as interim mayor, "it was like they were endorsing the other candidates," he said. "But I’m going to try to put this all aside and just do the best job that I can for Granite Falls."

You can call Herald Writer Leslie Moriarty at 425-339-3436

or send e-mail to moriarty@heraldnet.com.

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