Recently we saw the country respond to a young, vivacious man as he
ran for president on the promise of change. Now the country is
waiting with hope as President-elect Barack Obama prepares to take
office on Jan. 20.
In stark contrast, the November election in Logan County was a
quiet affair. With this being a Republican-dominated county, the
three contested races had all been decided in the February primary.
While there wasn't much hoopla about it locally, the
election did place five people in new positions, with four of the
five going to the county board. As a result, change for Logan County
is already in process.
Logan County began its fiscal year on Dec. 1. This date not only
signifies the start of the county financial year, contracts and
other annual business, but biennially it also
initiates terms of newly elected and re-elected county officials.
The election process is structured to permit new representatives
to begin four-year terms every two years. On even-numbered years,
about half of the county's elected positions are contested.
During their terms, county board and individual officeholders set
goals and progressively acquire information. Decisions and
information are interactively shared between the offices and with
the board on a regular basis. Over time, individuals and the board
develop a base of knowledge and resources that is of continued
value. Staggering the terms of the offices helps ensure continuity
and preservation of that knowledge.
This past November, Logan County voters re-seated Carla Bender as
circuit clerk and Bob Thomas as coroner. Michael McIntosh was newly
elected to the state's attorney position.
Board selection process
Logan County is divided into six districts with two
representatives from each district to make up a board of 12 members.
Prior to the election when Logan County changed from at-large to
district representation, the two positions for each district were
set by a draw of numbers for either two-year or four-year terms.
This made it so that only one of the two positions in each district
might change by election every two years, preventing a district from
all-new representation in any single election.
Newly elected to the county board in November were Bill Martin,
Jan Schumacher, David Hepler (returning after a break) and Terry
Carlton. Rick Aylesworth and Patrick O'Neill were re-elected for
four more years. These six joined Bob Farmer, Gloria Luster, Chuck
Ruben, John Stewart and Terry Werth during the biennial
organizational meeting on Dec. 1 and chose Carlton to be their
chairman, Ruben to act a chairman pro tem and O'Neill as vice
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Simultaneously, District 6 lost its representative with two years
remaining, as McIntosh went to the state's attorney office.
When a board seat becomes open, it is the chairman who makes a
recommendation to the board, and then the board approves it by a
majority vote. A Republican from District 6 was sought.
Carlton presented four candidates at the board's first meeting as
a whole, on Dec. 11. Board members were provided resumes and heard
from four interested candidates. Before going into executive session
for discussion that night, the chairman asked that board members
would reach a consensus on their choice or choices, and then he
would bring a recommendation forward at the adjourned meeting.
When the board met on Dec. 16, Carlton recommended Ron Keller for
the seat. The board turned down the recommendation in a 6-5 vote.
Voting no were Bob Farmer, Dave Helpler, Gloria Luster, Chuck Ruben,
John Stewart and Rick Aylesworth.
Voting yes were Carlton, Bill Martin, Pat O'Neill, Jan Schumacher
and Terry Werth.
Carlton was not prepared to present a different candidate that
evening. A lengthy discussion took place about how the process
should continue. It was determined that during any one meeting he
could bring forth more than one name for the board to decide on, or
he could bring no names forward. It is a directive, but is not
required, that he would present a candidate every 60 days, and it
could be the same candidate.
For now the District 6 seat remains open, at least until the
board's next adjourned meeting.
The board of whole meets on Jan. 15, and the board's adjourned
session, when voting takes place, is on Jan. 20. Both meetings are
at 7 p.m. in the Logan County Courthouse.