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County looks to next steps after Gabrielson’s death

After the stunning news last week of the passing of Mower County Commissioner Tim Gabrielson, the county is now looking at how best to move ahead.

Gabrielson was reported missing by family Nov. 9 and was discovered the following day, laying beside his vehicle not far from his home.

Gabrielson had just won another term as county commission just a few days before and had already served 12 years on the Mower County Board of Commissioners.

“That’s knowledge that Tim had and it was just undeniably such a great benefit,” said Board Chair Jeff Baldus, who learned to lean on Gabrielson while still in his first term. “Tim had been around for a long time. He was always open and always willing to give his opinion and share his thoughts.”

Now the commission will have to fill the position left vacant by Gabrielson’s passing. One option is to simply appoint someone to the position to fill out the rest of this term, but Gabrielson was set to start his next term in January, leaving just three meetings left in the year.

Instead, the commission will more than likely look to January of next year and the special election that will be held to fill Gabrielson’s new term.

“I believe at this point the initial reaction of the board is in honor of Tim, we would leave his seat vacant,” Baldus said. “Then hold a special election for his next term.”

“It’s only a month and a half to the end of this term,” said Commissioner Jerry Reinartz. “To come up with an agreement appointing somebody to fill out that short of time  we feel is not in the best interest of Tim’s district.”

The commission will discuss the topic and how to proceed at its next board meeting later this month.