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After lengthy balloting, Sukke edges out Przybilla for seat on Detroit Lakes City Council

Madalyn Sukke1 / 2
Steve Przybilla2 / 2

After six votes, Madalyn Sukke was named alderman at large for Detroit Lakes City Council.

The position, which will be up for re-election in two years, opened when Alderman Matt Brenk resigned after being elected mayor.

The city opened the position up for applications and received nine interested candidates. Applications were whittled down to five candidates, who the council then interviewed at length. Sukke, Dan Holzgrove, Steve Przybilla, Doug Friendshuh and Terry Stallman were asked 17 questions during the interview process.

At a special council meeting Thursday afternoon, the nine council members and Mayor Larry Buboltz voted by secret ballot for who they wanted to serve the city. They eliminated candidates after a couple votes until it was down to Sukke and Przybilla.

Split evenly 5-to-5, the council pondered flipping a coin, taking a re-vote or asking the candidates to say a few words on their behalf. A second vote was taken with the same split results, so Alderman James Hannon made a motion to appoint Przybilla, which opened the floor to discussion.

The two candidates were also asked to give one last plug for themselves.

"I knocked on 900 doors to get the job," Sukke said, who ran for election in November in Ward 1 against incumbent Ron Zeman. She added that the council obviously knows her desire for the job.

"I am articulate, organized and I'd be a good choice," she said.

Przybilla said he has "very much enjoyed being on the planning commission ... I would hope I get your vote."

When it came to discussion, though, the fact that Sukke had knocked on those 900 doors worked to her benefit.

"I thought Steve did a great job (in the interview), but I gave extra votes to the person who knocked on doors," Alderman Bruce Imholte said.

Alderman Jim Anderson said he echoes Imholte's comments. "Madalyn did come forward."

Alderman G.L. Tucker, who chairs the planning commission, said Przybilla has been excellent on the planning commission, but agreed that Sukke deserved the position because she ran in the election.

He said he understood firsthand the process because he initially applied for his alderman position and was passed over, only to win in an election later.

Making his arguments for Przybilla, Alderman Leonard Heltemes said he backed the candidate because of his qualifications.

Alderman Dave Aune asked Przybilla why he hadn't taken the initiative to run in November, to which Przybilla replied that he was in the middle of a multi-million dollar project at Emmanuel Community and didn't feel he could dedicate enough time to the campaign. Since it is finished, he would be dedicated to the council.

With a motion to hire Przybilla on the floor, the vote failed 4-5. A second motion was made to hire Sukke, which passed 6-3, with Zeman changing his vote in favor of Sukke.