BISMARCK, N.D. --Bismarck City Commissioner Mike Seminary, 59, announced Thursday he is running for mayor. Seminary is the only candidate to enter the race since Mayor John Warford announced last week he is not seeking re-election.
Seminary, a business development director for Houston Engineering, has has lived in Bismarck for 29 years. He has served on the city commission six years.
He said his biggest strength as mayor would be he has no fear. “I am willing to take on difficult issues and sometimes make a decision that’s not popular,” he said. His decisions will be based on information he receives and how they benefit the most people, said Seminary.
Seminary said his goals are to implement the city’s strategic plan, follow through on the city’s updated growth plan and complete feasible portions of the downtown master plan and long-range transportation plan. Affordable elements of the downtown sub-area plan have yet to be determined by the commission and it is still taking information, said Seminary.
Seminary said the city can build on its recent success by listening, asking critical questions and supporting young talent here.
He said as city commissioner, he helped improve the building permit process, create the city’s new curbside recycling program and followed through on the city’s strategic plan.
The city may have to adjust its zoning to meet the growth plan needs, he said. “The city cannot stay the same way it was 30 years ago,” he said. That change could be controversial, he said, adding the city would be sensitive to how change will affect people. “We will do everything we can to accommodate their concerns, but there will be change coming,” he said.
Seminary said critical infrastructure would need to be prioritized because of limited federal highway funds. New funding sources must be found, he said.
He now holds portfolios for the economic development, Burleigh County Planning Commission, public works-service operations, solid waste utility, street Lights, roads and streets, fleet/facility maintenance and intergovernmental relations.
The city could potentially have four new city commissioners in 2014. If Seminary is elected mayor in June and Commissioner Parrell Grossman wins the District 8 judgeship in November they would have to be replaced. Commissioner Brenda Smith will not seek re-election and her seat will be filled in the June 10 city election. Commissioner Josh Askvig also is seeking a second term. If he should lose, that would mean another new commissioner.
City Attorney Charlie Whitman said the commission can call for a special election to fill vacancies or wait 15 days after a vacancy and then appoint someone to fill the unexpired term. If the next regular city election is more than six months away, electors can submit a petition, within 15 days of the vacancy, calling for a special election, he added.
(Reach LeAnn Eckroth at 701-250-8264 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)