The field of Morton County Commission candidates has grown to five. Former Mandan City Commissioner Jerry Serhienko and Cody Schulz, business manager for the state Emergency Services, announced this week they will run for one of the three open seats.
Incumbent Bruce Strinden, area businessman Scott Johnson and New Salem businessman Clint Feland also are running.
Serhienko served nearly two years on the Mandan City Commission when he was elected to fill the spot vacated when Tim Helbling became mayor.
Serhienko said he is running to be proactive about potential oil development impact from the Tyler Formation. He fears Morton County might be facing the same issues as western North Dakota and sooner than it thinks.
“I see what happened with the Bakken Formation happening here,” Serhienko said.
His other concern for the next four years is how the county would be affected if Measure 2, an initiative that abolishes property taxes, passes.
Serhienko previously did financial work for the Burleigh County Regional Child Support Office before retiring.
He has lived in Mandan 42 years, is a Navy veteran of Vietnam and graduated from the University of Mary with an accounting degree and a minor in business.
Serhienko is chairman for the Build Mandan Band Shell program and is a member of the Vietnam Veterans Association. He and his wife, Connie, have two grown children and one granddaughter.
Schulz, 34, lives in Mandan and is a New Salem native. He said his background in financial management, skills in communications and inter-governmental ties could prove useful on the commission.
“I believe we need to be focused on planning and investing for the long term. The most efficient way to go about doing that requires cooperation and collaboration among all city and county governments within the county,” he said.
Schulz manages finances for state disaster recovery and mitigation programs. He is a member of the Adjutant General’s Housing Rehabilitation and Citizen Retention Grant Committee.
He holds a master of business administration degree from the University of North Dakota’s College of Business and Public Administration.
Schulz said growth management will be very important to Morton County in the next four years.
“There will be a number of economic diversification opportunities in energy, agriculture, retail and manufacturing,” he said.
“The county is entering into a very exciting period. We are experiencing growth demographically and economically,” Schulz said.
“The challenge within the county is making sure we are promoting pro-growth policies while also ensuring we retain the attributes that make this county great.”
Commissioners Dick Tokach and Mike Bitz said they will not seek re-election this year.