COLUMBIA — Anyone expecting a hostile session full of bickering and political maneuvering would have been disappointed.
On Monday afternoon at the Roger B. Wilson Boone County Government Center, county commissioners met with Presiding Commissioner-elect Ed Robb, who will become the only Republican elected official in county government.
In November, Robb defeated Democrat J. Scott Christianson in a heated race by a margin of only 528 votes.
However, the mood was cordial Monday afternoon as Ken Pearson, the departing presiding commissioner, explained his duties over the past year, which included working with the Columbia-Boone County Board of Health, the Columbia Chamber of Commerce and the Boone County Public Works Department.
Southern District Commissioner Karen Miller and Northern District Commissioner Skip Elkin also reviewed their workloads for the past year. Commissioners act as liaisons to an array of government agencies. Afterward, Miller, Elkin and Robb divvied up the county government positions, trying to maintain comparable responsibilities and to give each person assignments they were interested in.
When Robb mentioned his computer science background, for example, Miller quickly let him take over as the commission representative to the Information Technology Board.
Miller said that Public Works and Facilities Maintenance are two of the most time consuming positions and cautioned against taking both.
Elkin agreed, saying that even without both those assignments he usually spends 20 to 25 hours each week just in county government meetings. He said he spends additional time each week in the commission chambers, talking with the public and attending other meetings, such as those of the Columbia City Council and the Columbia School Board.
Robb said the positive and occasionally humorous mood of the meeting didn't surprise him.
“After the election, you have to go to work,” he said. “I have had a good relationship with Karen and Skip. I had a good relationship with the assessor’s office in the past as well. I just don’t see a lot of thorny issues.
“I’m sure there will be some topics we will disagree on, but that’s probably true in any organization.”