Boone County Republicans begin recommendation process for new commissioner

Tuesday, September 27, 2011 | 11:15 p.m. CDT; updated 3:33 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, September 28, 2011

*CORRECTION: The Boone County Democratic Central Committee will hold its next meeting Oct. 13 at 7 p.m. at the Boone County Government Center. An earlier version of this article incorrectly reported the date.

COLUMBIA — Their heads bowed in prayer, members of the Boone County Republican Central Committee started their regular meeting Tuesday asking for guidance from God in dealing with the death of Presiding County Commissioner Ed Robb.

"The county has lost a public servant who brought unique talents and abilities to the office," committee chairman Bruce Cornett said.

Robb was the only Republican elected to public office in Boone County at the time of his death. Gov. Jay Nixon is responsible for appointing his successor, who will serve until the 2012 general election.

The committee will suggest a candidate for presiding county commissioner to Nixon by Oct. 12. People can start applying for the committee's recommendation Friday.

When there is a vacancy in county government, the committee has up to two weeks to screen and recommend a candidate to the governor for his consideration, according to its bylaws.

Applications, which include a letter of intent and resume, will be accepted until 5 p.m. Oct. 10 via email at

A special committee, consisting of Republican Central Committee members Tom Mendenhall, Cheri Reisch and Dale Roberts, is responsible for screening candidates for their commitment to the Republican Party and their personal qualifications for the position.

The special committee will screen applicants in person at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 11. Immediately afterward, applicants will be allowed five minutes to present themselves to the Republican Central Committee as a whole.  Another five minutes per applicant will be allowed for questions from the committee.

"We want to do everything open and according to procedure," Mendenhall said.

No decisions have been made on whether the Boone County Democratic Central Committee will recommend a candidate to Nixon for presiding county commissioner. The committee will hold its next meeting at 7 p.m. Oct. 13* at the Boone County Government Center.

"We won't be doing anything until we receive a call from the governor's office," Phyllis Fugit, chairwoman of the central committee, said.

Although Nixon, a Democrat, could take central committee recommendations into consideration, he is not obligated to appoint a Republican as presiding county commissioner.

Scott Holste, spokesman for Nixon, said in an email, "At the end of the day, it really doesn't matter if the governor asks for recommendations from the county committees or if the committees provide them on their own."

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