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Oakes mayor resigns

The Oakes, N.D., mayor who led the city through a period of significant growth has resigned after being reassigned to Wahpeton, N.D. Dave Ross has served as customer service center manager for Otter Tail Power Co. in Oakes, Wahpeton and Jamestown, N.

The Oakes, N.D., mayor who led the city through a period of significant growth has resigned after being reassigned to Wahpeton, N.D.

Dave Ross has served as customer service center manager for Otter Tail Power Co. in Oakes, Wahpeton and Jamestown, N.D., since Oct. 1. Prior to that, he managed only the Oakes office.

"It's been a struggle to even find the time to do the mayoral work in Oakes now," he said Thursday.

Ross submitted his resignation, effective immediately, at Tuesday night's City Council meeting. Council president Rod Buck is the acting mayor.

Oakes residents have until 4 p.m. April 23 to file a petition for office, which would trigger an election. Otherwise, the council will appoint a new mayor from within.

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An appointed mayor would serve until June 2004, while an elected mayor would serve the remainder of Ross' term, which ends in June 2006.

The mayor's position pays $100 per month.

During nearly nine years as mayor, Ross was "extremely active" in bringing businesses to Oakes, said Colette Gross, director of operations at OmniQuip/Textron.

In 1995, Ross worked with the company's president and government agencies to help land a manufacturing plant that now employs 100 people, Gross said.

"Dave will be a huge loss, and hopefully we can replace him with somebody with the same kind of energy and vision," she said.

Census figures show Oakes' population grew from 1,775 in 1990 to 1,951 in 2000, or by nearly 10 percent, "which is pretty phenomenal for a small town," Ross said.

Ross also takes pride in having worked closely with the Oakes Community Hospital and the Southeast Medical Center, which doubled its size in the 1990s.

Along with his mayoral duties, Ross served on the city's park board and economic development group.

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"(He was) very involved with the community on every level," City Clerk Beth Day said.

Although he has less spare time these days, Ross said he hopes to get involved civically in Wahpeton, as well.

"I guess I've always kind of had the attitude that I'm willing to help out and serve the community in any way I can," he said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Mike Nowatzki at (701) 241-5528

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