Sample steps down as Ward 1 councilman

Ward 1 Alderman Bart Sample has resigned his city position because he and his family are moving to a different home in Flandreau.

Sample, who retained his four-year seat in April without opposition, will live in Ward 3 and under state law, cannot continue to represent his constituents in Ward 1. Monday was his last council meeting.

City Finance Officer Karen Gundvaldson said any qualified persons in Ward 1 can send a letter to Mayor Mark Bonrud to be considered for an appointment to the position. The letter would be due no later than July 3, she said.

The city council will interview those interested in serving the city as an alderman and will vote on Sample’s replacement. Whoever is chosen would serve until the election in April 2020, even though Sample’s position was for four years. State law requires that the person appointed has to run to retain the seat in the next election, she said.

The last time a similar process happened was when Bonrud left his alderman position to become mayor, Gundvaldson said. That created a vacancy in Ward 3, and Brad Bjerke was appointed to that seat.

Sample started on the council in August 2008, filling a vacancy and later running for reelection. He had a one-year absence in 2013-14 when he served in Afghanistan with the South Dakota National Guard where he is a staff sergeant and the only full-time employee with the Flandreau unit.

“I’ve absolutely loved my 10 years on the council,” he said. He said it will be different not being on the council, but he will continue to be involved in the community. “I still plan on being a proactive citizen and participate in our community and our city government.”

During Sample’s time on the council, the city has worked to prepare Flandreau for the future.

“As the longest serving council member on the current council, I’ve seen a whole lot of changes, and I think we’ve done a whole lot of good,” he said, listing electrical work, water and sewer updates and the hospital as important city projects. “There’s been some significant changes for the community, and I’m proud I got to be a small part of that. It really set our community up for success for our future.”

Sample said he has been impressed over the years with how council members have come to their position without a personal agenda, being interested in making decisions based on what is right for citizens.

“It doesn’t’ matter what job you have in life, it’s about people and trying to do the right for people,” he said. “The easy answer isn’t always the right answer.”

Sample has been known as conservative in spending the city’s money and a generous business owner.

“I’ve always been the budget hawk. I’m very conservative by nature. I’m especially conservative with the people’s money,” he said.

He and his co-owner Chuck Jones at Sparkle Car Wash choose a non-profit each month to receive money from the business, giving thousands of dollars a way each year.

He and his wife, Cassandra, a Flandreau High School graduate, have lived here for 13 years. They have two daughters, Mackenzie, 5, and Reagan, 7 months.

“We’re just absolutely dedicated to being involved in the community,” he said.

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