In announcing her early resignation Monday, Dane County executive Kathleen Falk said she planned to remain in office until a replacement is elected on April 5.
But there's a snag: the county clerk can't call a special election until there's a vacancy. That means Falk will have to resign well before April.
Reid Magney, spokesman for the Wisconsin Government Accountability Board, says when a county executive leaves office early, the board chairman temporarily takes over. Within 30 days, he or she must appoint a successor, who is approved by the board. The county clerk then must call for an election within seven days.
And even then, says Magney, "There has to be 49 days between when an election is called and the primary."
In other words, in order for the election to follow the normal spring cycle, Falk would have to resign at least 49 days before the Feb. 15 primary -- or by Dec. 28, 2010. Falk spokesman Joshua Wescott says her office thought she could resign effective April 5.
Says Magney: "She could do that, but there has to be a vacancy before the clerk can call an election."