MADISON (WKOW) -- Dane County Board Chairman Scott McDonell announced Monday his plans to run for Dane County Executive.
"I don't think public service is a dirty word," McDonell said as he kicked off his candidacy flanked by his wife , Megin, and more than two dozen supporters, including state senator Fred Risser of Madison.
McDonell stressed his approach as county executive would be strengthen both the private and public sectors. McDonell said his candidacy was a response to "those who would dismantle our quality of life" with increasing cuts to public services. McDonell cited preservation of the environment, effective public safety programs, and developing a modern transportation system to include high speed and commuter rail as key initiatives.
McDonell has served on the County Board for 15 years, the past five years as chairperson.
McDonell said he preferred an election in April to replace resigning county executive Kathleen Falk because it would involve higher voter turnout and be less costly than staging a special election next summer.
Falk's resignation announcement last week stated she would resign effective April 2011 in order to allow a special election to replace her to take place simultaneous with the regularly-scheduled spring election.
But state elections officials said Falk would have to resign by late December to allow the special election to happen in April.
Falk's spokesperson Joshua Wescott has said the county corporation counsel's interpretation of election laws is different from state officials and at this time, Falk still intends to resign in April.
County Clerk Robert Ohlsen said he is deferring to the judgment of state elections officials and beginning to plan for a summer special election.
Ohlsen told WKOW27 News he is requesting an additional $270,000 to cover the expected cost of supporting the summer, special election to replace Falk.
Falk's resignation will cut short her four year term by half, so McDonell and other candidates will be running to serve out an abbreviated term of county executive.
As county board chairperson, Falk's resignation will also lead to McDonell's immediate appointment as county executive, with McDonell having thirty days to appoint someone to serve until a successor is elected and seated. McDonell said he would avoid acquiring any advantage of incumbency by not appointing himself.
Unsuccessful 2009 county executive candidate and former Madison school board member Nancy Mistele has not ruled out another run for the office.
Online reporting by Breann Bierman and Tony Galli.