Kozak appointed Vermillion mayor

Kozak appointed Vermillion mayor by David Lias Roger Kozak no longer enjoys the title of city alderman.

At a special meeting of the Vermillion City Council Monday, Kozak was appointed unanimously to finish the term of William Radigan as Vermillion's mayor.

Radigan, who died March 27, had one year remaining on his mayoral term, meaning Kozak will be up for election as the city's mayor next April.

Kozak was nominated for the mayor's position by Alderman Jack Powell. Before the council took action Monday, Kozak made sure proper procedures were followed.

"Since I've been nominated, should I excuse myself from the consideration of this nomination? I want to do what's proper," Kozak asked City Attorney Martin Weeks.

"I don't know that you have to, because you could be a candidate and you could be making all kinds of statements as to what you are going to do," Weeks replied. "I think there's nothing to prohibit you from participating. There's nothing in the (city) code that would indicate that you don't have the right to vote."

Weeks added that Kozak had to resign his position as Southeast Ward alderman before taking the oath of office of mayor.

Kozak, who has served on the council since 1994, decided not to delay the process. He immediately tendered his resignation after his nomination was approved and was given the oath of office as Vermillion's new mayor by City Finance Officer Mike Carlson.

Kozak's move to the mayor's office means there is a new vacancy on the city council that must be filled by appointment.

"The council will be making that decision," said Council

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President Frank Slagle. "They may decide to do something similar to what we're doing with the mayor's position, and give people an opportunity to express interest in the position and select someone from that list of names as the new alderman."

"I certainly thank all of you for giving me this opportunity to serve as mayor for the remainder of the vacant term," Kozak said after being sworn in, "and you can be sure that I will put forth the effort to earn the trust that you are giving me this evening.

"During the last several years that I've been on the council, there has been a lot accomplished, and I think there's a lot on the table that needs to be accomplished yet," he added. "I hope that we can go forward as a group to continue the momentum that we have here in Vermillion."

Kozak, 55, said after the meeting Monday that he will stay on the job as vice president at The University of South Dakota for one more year, juggling his full-time duties at USD with his new responsibilities as mayor.

"I've had a discussion with (university President) Jim Abbott, and my position will continue for another year at the university," Kozak said. "But he recognizes the duties and responsibilities of mayor, so that has all been discussed and taken care of with President Abbott."

Kozak said prior to Radigan's death he had planned to reduce his involvement with the university at approximately the end of June 2002.

"My plans all along were to semi-retire," he said. "It wouldn't be full retirement, but I certainly will not be going at the pace I'm going today. That has been in my plans for the last three years."

Kozak said one of his first actions as mayor likely will be to visit with Carlson and City Manager Jeff Pederson to develop a routine of work and communication.

"In the role of councilman, you call whenever you have a question," he said. "In the role of mayor, I think that interaction is certainly going to be much more frequent. My first visit will be to determine what will work best for them, and what will work best for me."

Kozak said his primary goal during his seven years as city alderman has been the improvement of the city of Vermillion.

"There is nothing that I bring to this position that would say that this is the reason for wanting to become mayor," he said. "It's a continuation of my desire to work with the city council, to work for the city to improve the city."

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