Just three weeks ago, three new members joined the Eagle Town Board following the spring municipal election.
But they won’t be the new kids on the board for long.
Joe Knabel, who was elected to the Eagle Town Board in 2012 and who has two years left to serve submitted his resignation late Monday afternoon.
“It is with mixed emotions that I must inform you of my intent to resign from my position on the Eagle Town Board of Trustees,” Kanabel wrote in the letter he sent to his fellow board members. “Over the last two years it has been a rewarding experience and honor to serve the community as a member of the town board. As disappointing as this decision is for me to announce, I am equally excited about the opportunity that lies ahead. I have recently been offered a position with a major development company that will require the relocation of me and my family out of the area.”
When contacted Tuesday Knabel reiterated that a family decision and career opportunity prompted his resignation.
“It was just a job opportunity that came up,” he said. “My family talked it over and we love living in the Eagle community. It’s one of the things we are torn over.”
Ultimately however, he felt the opportunity was too good to pass up. “Unfortunately, it means having to move away,” said Knabel.
Knabel did not give a formal resignation date in his letter, noting instead that he would continue to serve until his replacement is named.
“In light of the recent discussions of a town board retreat and work session, it may be beneficial to have the new appointment made prior to these events,” he wrote. “It would be my desire to continue to work with the board until the appointment is finalized. With that said, I will have travel commitments with the new job opportunity that may limit my availability for several of the upcoming board meetings.”
“Joe will be missed. During his two years here he has learned the job and become one of the most astute trustees we have ever had,” said Eagle Town Manager Jon Stavney.
As for his replacement, the town board has a good deal of decision-making leeway provided they act within 60 days of his formal resignation. According to Eagle Town Attorney Ed Sands, the board can appoint someone to serve the two remaining years of Knabel’s term. Sands said there is no requirement to publish the vacancy or interview candidates, nor is there a requirement to appoint the next-highest vote-getter from the municipal election held April 1.
In his letter, Knabel advocated appointing Paul Witt, the town board candidate who came in fourth during the municipal election.
“With my resignation comes the ultimate appointment of another member of the community to serve the remaining portion of my term. Having just come off of the recent election cycle, I would like to offer the suggestion and my support of Paul Witt as the person to fulfill my term,” wrote Knabel. “Paul has served as trustee for the town in the past and he was next in line in terms of the number of votes in the recent election. Paul would bring forth the knowledge and experience to ensure a smooth transition for the town. As the appointment of the next trustee is a decision by the board, I offer my comments as only a suggestion for your consideration.”
As he prepares to leave office, Knabel offered some advice to both the newly elected and the soon-to-be appointment member.
“When you are a trustee for the community, you are there for the whole community and you need to keep the best interests of the whole community in mind,” he said.
Knabel said studying the rules and process governing town board operations helped him find his role. “You have a job to do on the board of trustees and it’s not just about your personal beliefs,” he said. “Be open-mined. Always ask if something is the right thing for the community.”