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Sturgis mayor resigns after state Supreme Court ruling

Mark Carstensen
City of Sturgis
Mark Carstensen

Sturgis mayor Mark Carstensen has announced his resignation, effective immediately.

This was announced shortly after a ruling in favor of a petition to allow the citizens of Sturgis to decide the future of the local city manager position from the state Supreme Court.

The ruling overturns a circuit court decision in favor of city government, who argued the matter could not be referred to a public vote.

The city manager position was added 17 years ago, however a 2021 petition was filed aiming to remove the position. Petitioners argued the role of elected officials has been significantly reduced by the city manager’s responsibilities.

At this time, there isn’t a date set for the vote. The next local elections in Sturgis are scheduled for April 9.

Carstensen said he seeks to spend more time with his family after holding the position for over a decade. He is partway through his fifth three-year term.

The Black Hills Pioneer reports the group of petitioners behind that effort called for Carstensen’s resignation following the ruling.

City council president Beka Zerbst will be the interim executive for the community and said the appointment of a permanent mayor will be done soon.

C.J. Keene is a Rapid City-based journalist covering the legal system, education, and culture