Search continues - Willing candidates, mapping errors plague filling soon-to- be-vacated commissioner seat

By Kay Braddock

  The quest continues and although Prairie County Republican Central Committee Chairman Larry Keltner is remaining optimistic he readily admits finding willing candidates for the soon-to-be vacated commissioner seat has been a trying task.

“Unfortunately, I’m not getting run over by people volunteering,” Keltner said of the nearly two-month process he has undertaken to find candidates for the district two position.
Keltner noted time requirements of the commissioner position and normal employment obligations most people face has played a factor in the weeding out process of potential candidates. “I don’t have three people lined up, but I’m still looking.”
Because vacating commissioner Bill Leach is a Republican, Keltner, who has served as RCC chairman for just over a year, now finds himself as point man for gathering names. State statutes dictate that the RCC must present three candidates from district two to the remaining commissioners, Ann Marie Davis and Todd Devlin. From there, the commissioners can choose from those names or request three more names, ultimately voting from the six names presented.
“I would like to give them six right off,” Keltner said. But as it stands right now only one person who meets the requirements has expressed interest in the position.
Selected individuals are required to have lived in the district for at least two years preceding the day the vacancy occurs, according to state statutes. 
Two other individuals expressed interest in the position, Keltner acknowledged. One was eliminated because he had not lived in the district for two years. Due to mapping errors the other potential candidate also did not qualify.
According to Clerk and Recorder Toni Kalfell, the mapping error was discovered during last week’s commission meeting. One map was correct, the other was not, she explained. The discrepancy led Kalfell to look up the resolution giving the written legal description of the district two map. The incorrect map showed district two including residents living south of Park Street and east of Jane Street. The written legal resolution actually described the district two boundary leading south at the intersection of Bowen and Jane Streets to the corner of Prairie Street. From there the district two boundary runs east on Prairie Street to the corner of Wilkins Avenue. See map below.
“I trusted that the map was right,” Keltner said. Acknowledging the error did cause some confusion, he pointed out no formal submissions had yet been made.
“I have not submitted any names,” he said, explaining the formal submission will include a document with names and contact information of each candidate for commissioners to review.  
Although Leach will not be moving until June, his resignation will occur at the end of April, which means he will be fulfilling only two more commission meetings. 
The RCC has 30 days to fill the position once it’s been vacated, according to state statute.  The appointed commissioner will fulfill the remainder of the current term, which ends in 2010.
“I would prefer to be very calm about this,” Keltner said. He noted rather than asking individuals if they’re interested in the position, he’s finding it’s better to ask for suggestions from people of who they think might serve as potential candidates.
Published April 15, 2009
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