November 28, 2016
One of the Carroll City Council’s newest members — and its youngest — will step down next month after a year on the council.
Brandon Vonnahme, an at-large council member elected last November, and his family are moving outside of Carroll’s city limits in December, a move that will make it impossible for Vonnahme to remain on the council representing the city of Carroll.
“I definitely don’t want to leave (the council),” Vonnahme told the Daily Times Herald this morning. “This is something I regret that I have to do. I enjoyed the year, and I would have enjoyed the next three years of my term.”
The move will place Vonnahme and his family in a home they’ve dreamed of owning, a log home on 210th Street, south of Carroll. When Vonnahme and his wife, Teresa, bought their first home in 2008, they drove past the lots on that road, going to and from football games in Des Moines, and promised to look at them if any were ever available.
Now, almost a decade later, they saw a for-sale sign on that road, checked out the place and fell in love.
Vonnahme said he didn’t realize at first that the move would require him to step down from the City Council, and he wishes it were different.
Vonnahme, 30, who works as the assistant chief financial officer at Iowa Savings Bank, ran for Carroll City Council more than a year ago because he wanted to urge Carroll’s younger population to be more involved in the city’s workings.
“With the stuff I have going on — four kids and a job — if I can do it, anyone can do it,” he said. “It doesn’t give anyone an excuse that they don’t have time.
“The youth has a voice, and it needs to be heard in the community, and people need to be willing to do that.”
Vonnahme was elected as a new council member last year along with Misty Boes, 42.
“I think the community’s just ready for something different,” Vonnahme said after the election last year. “I think they were just ready for some young blood in there to hopefully shake something up and kind of get things moving.”
He’s proud of what the council has accomplished in the last year, Vonnahme said this morning, including hiring a city manager, Mike Pogge-Weaver, whom he believes will serve the city well, and moving forward in a big way for the first time in a decade with plans to improve the Carroll Public Library after the city was gifted with Commercial Savings Bank’s current building to help with the expansion.
More generally, though, Vonnahme said, he’s proud of the civility that has marked the council’s discussions in the past year.
“We had enough respect for each other to be able to talk through things and not have arguments — it was always a discussion,” he said. “We seem to be moving forward and being more productive and being able to discuss matters.”
In the case of a City Council member who resigns mid-term, council members can choose either to appoint someone to fill the vacancy or call for a special election, Carroll City Clerk Laura Schaefer said.
Mayor Eric Jensen said no one has yet approached him about filling the vacancy, and that the council has 40 days to either appoint someone or call for a special election after Vonnahme’s last day. If the council appoints someone to fill the vacant spot, that person, or anyone else interested in the spot, would need to run in the next city election — either next November or before then, if a bond issue or something similar is placed on the ballot.
Vonnahme will be missed, Jensen said, adding that his finance education and work experience were valuable during the city’s financial discussions, and his age allowed him to bring a different perspective to the council.
“His outlook for the betterment of the community was highly respectable,” Jensen said. “It’s a big loss for us. People respected him.”
Vonnahme, who graduated from Carroll High School in 2004, said he believes the log house on 210th Street will be his family’s “forever home.”
The Vonnahmes have four children: Taye, 12, Braxton, 8, Avah, 6, and Scarlett, 2. The oldest three are in Kuemper Catholic Schools. They likely will move in mid-December, Vonnahme said.
He added that he plans to remain very involved in Carroll.
“Carroll’s going to be where we live forever, and hopefully it’s where my kids will want to come back,” he said. “I’m going to be actively involved in making Carroll the best it can be.”
Vonnahme said he is grateful for the people who supported him and his campaign, and to the residents of Carroll he was able to serve for the past year. He added he will address his resignation at tonight’s City Council meeting.
“(The new council member is) walking into a very good situation with City Council and the new city manager,” Vonnahme said.
“I think we have all the tools in place to get things done. Keep an open mind — don’t close your mind to things. Be open to hear suggestions.”