George Withus, an information technology coordinator at Minot State University, is the new Ward 2 alderman on the Minot City Council.
The council appointed Withus from a field of four applicants Monday to fill the vacancy created with the death of Hardy Lieberg in May. The council initially had decided not to fill the position before the June 2012 election but changed course after the flood heightened the need for additional representation from Ward 2. The Ward also is represented by Alderman Bob Miller.
Withus had organized a neighborhood post-flood meeting with city and agency officials. His leadership on the project earned him the support of several aldermen.
Withus formerly served in the Air Force and had been operations manager at Wholesale Supply Co.
before joining MSU in 2000. He resides at 10-7th St. NW in the Lincoln School neighborhood.
"I know that there's a lot of tough decision that have to be made, and I think I cam make those decisions working with this council," Withus said.
Other applicants were Kim Fundingsland, Peter Stenberg and Nikki Paulsen, who was the only applicant to have run for the office previously.
Withus' first action on the council was to vote with other aldermen to advance a proposal for regulations on temporary housing for flood recovery workers. The proposal, which now goes to the planning commission for review before coming back for final action, would allow for the temporary housing by special permit only in industrial areas zoned M-2. The permits would be granted for two years and could be extended a third year.
The Flood Recovery Committee's housing subcommittee had drafted the proposed regulations based on Williston's rules for temporary oil-field housing, although Minot's regulations will apply only to flood recovery workers.
The council also approved a $25,000 annual lease on a warehouse along U.S. Highway 2 and 52 near Burlington for flood materials storage.
The council voted to advertise to hire two master electricians as temporary inspectors to process requests from residents desiring to do their own electrical work. To be approved to do their own work, applicants would have to show knowledge of the electrical code and submit an electrical schematic on the property. The inspectors also would have to approve the finished work.
The State Electrical Board currently has four to five electrical inspectors assisting the city on its wiring permits. Self-wire permits require greater inspection time, and the city has asked the state for one or two short-term inspectors to handle those permit requests until the city can hire the two additional inspectors. The state expects to decide on the city's request by the end of the week.