Board of Supervisors Calls for Special Election

By Aaryn Frazier, January 08, 2019

The Wapello County Board of Supervisors made the official decision to hold a special election for Wapello County Sheriff early Tuesday, January 8.

First, the board accepted and filed the resignation of previous Sheriff, Mark Miller which was effective on January 1. Directly after that came time to discuss the vacancy that Miller left in the department and the county.

“The code makes it pretty specific,” explained Jerry Parker, board member. “There are two routes the supervisors can go in Chapter 69. We can appoint somebody or we can call for an election. And there are certain timeframes if we would call for an election. If we would appoint somebody, there is still a period of time where the citizens could –uh– petition for us to have an election anyway.”

Another board member, Brian Morgan, said that Don Phillips would still be a good choice seeing as how Miller saw to appoint him Chief Deputy in the first place. But also agreed that the other candidates, with their twenty-plus years of experience, each have their merit as well.

Andrea McDowell, a Wapello County citizen, spoke up to the board and all present.

“I live on Rabbit Run Road here in Ottumwa and I — the people I talk to. We’re not in favor of an election,” said McDowell. “We are one of the poorest counties in Iowa, and there is money that we could spend elsewhere. If you go out and travel on our county roads; they’re terrible. Even though you say you put gravel on them. I was on two roads this week that you coulda disappeared in. I don’t think that’s the best way to spend our money.”

However, Parker told those in attendance that the money spent on elections can’t be spent on roads. They come from different funds that cannot be transferred.

Ultimately, the Board of Supervisors unanimously decided to hold a special election. After speaking to the Kelly Spurgeon, county auditor, they made the motion to hold the election on March 5. Spurgeon said it would give time to figure out polling details as well as allow others to petition for the chance to run without party backing.

Tentatively, polling places will be in Agency, Eddyville, Bridgeview Center and City Hall (maybe AEA for an option on the north and south of town). They will be open the typical time from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. with absentee ballots available as well. Wapello County residents can vote at any polling place since there will only be one ballot.

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