COLUMBIA — The Columbia Chamber of Commerce has formed a new committee to encourage candidates to run for open positions on the City Council.
The Recruitment Task Force is focusing on the First and Fifth ward seats that will be open in April 2011 when First Ward Councilman Paul Sturtz and Fifth Ward Councilwoman Laura Nauser's terms expire. Neither are running for re-election.
There are 11 members of the Recruitment Task Force: Scott Atkins of Atkins Investments; Rhonda Carlson of C&C Construction Inc.; Randy Coil of Coil Construction; Kee Groshong, a retired MU administrator; Susan Hart of Huebert Builders Inc.; Rob Monsees of Nanotechnology Enterprises Inc.; Larry Moore of Con-Agg of Missouri LLC; Melody Parry of Outfront Communications; Walter Pfeffer of Mutual of Omaha Co.; Bob Roper, a former chairman of the Chamber of Commerce; and Jim Yankee of Flat Branch Mortgage.
“We are trying to make sure good people are interested in running for council positions,” chamber president Don Laird said. “We want to generate some interest to run. A few good candidates have come forward and filed already.”
It is important to have multiple candidates running for the offices and that the candidates know the business portion of the community, Laird said.
City Clerk Sheila Amin said Glen Ehrhardt and Fred Schmidt have both filed for the Fifth Ward and First Ward seats, respectively. Ehrhardt is an attorney and partner at Rogers, Ehrhardt and Weber LLC, and Fred Schmidt is an accountant and owner of Accounting Cycle.
The new Recruitment Task Force is separate from the chamber's Endorsement Task Force, which was formed to endorse certain candidates for the first time during last spring's election. The Endorsement Task Force looks at all the candidates and evaluates who would have the best interest of Columbia at heart, Laird said. They then make a recommendation to the chamber as to who they think should be endorsed.
In the spring, the Endorsement Task Force supported Bob McDavid for mayor, Daryl Dudley for Fourth Ward councilman and Gary Kespohl for Third Ward councilman.
“There will be another endorsement committee this year, but the members of the committee have not been chosen yet,” Laird said.
Filing for candidacy opened Oct. 26 and will close at 5 p.m. Jan. 11.