Councilman elected last month resigns

Marie Havenga • Dec 6, 2017 at 8:00 AM

FERRYSBURG — Dan Matteson, who was elected to Ferrysburg City Council less than a month ago, has resigned.

Matteson sent a two-sentence email to City Manager Craig Bessinger on Saturday afternoon: “I am sending you this email to inform you that unfortunately I will need to resign my position on council for medical and personal reasons. I want to thank everyone for their support.”

Matteson did not return phone calls or text messages asking for further comment.

Matteson joined Richard Carlson as newcomers to the Ferrysburg City Council. Both were elected Nov. 7 and sworn in Nov. 20.

Bessinger said he met with Matteson shortly after the election for an initiation session.

“I met with him for a couple of hours to review some of the business of the city,” Bessinger said. “We talked about city business. He appeared to be looking forward to serving on City Council.”

Bessinger said he knows no more about Matteson’s situation other than what he sent in the Dec. 2 email message.

Although there have been council vacancies in the past, Bessinger said he believes Matteson's tenure “is probably the shortest one.”

In a text message Matteson wrote on election night, he said: “I have strong convictions in serving as a representative of City Council. I believe strongly in honesty, integrity, transparency and most of all accountability.”

Mayor Rebecca Hopp, who defeated Matteson's mayoral candidate choice Regina Sjoberg by 29 votes last month, said the news came as a surprise to city staff and elected officials.

“It surprised us all,” she said.

Carlson said the only conversation he had with Matteson was shaking his hand immediately after they were sworn into office two weeks ago.

“I think it's unfortunate that he feels he can't serve,” Carlson said. “... He was duly elected and now he feels he can't serve.”

On Monday, council accepted Matteson's resignation with a 6-0 vote and set wheels in motion for appointing a replacement. The city will publish an ad this week and next week to seek out candidates. The application deadline is noon Dec. 21. Council will then review the applications and likely appoint a replacement sometime in January.

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