For the third time in the past 10 years, the Johnson County Community College Board of Trustees finds itself in the process of appointing someone to fill out the unexpired term of a resigning member.
The board reviewed a slate of eight applicants at a special meeting last week and will meet again Thursday to interview the finalists to replace Bob Drummond, who submitted his resignation in February. Drummond’s term will expire in January 2018.
Drummond, a six-year veteran of the board, said at the time he wanted to step down to create an opportunity for someone else to serve.
The JCCC trustee board is made up of seven members elected at large who govern the college’s budget, policies and tax levy. Members serve four-year overlapping terms, although some terms will be lengthened once the elections move from spring to fall of odd-numbered years, as required by the Kansas Legislature.
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Drummond’s resignation about a year and a half before his term is up marks the third time in recent years that a board member has resigned mid-term. Don Weiss resigned from the board in 2012 and Melody Rayl in 2013, and both open positions were filled with appointments by the remaining board members. The appointee then goes on the ballot for election when the term is up.
Although mid-term replacements on other governing bodies have sometimes been controversial — most notably in Shawnee — JCCC board chairman Greg Musil said that hasn’t been the case for the more low-profile trustees. The appointment process makes the most sense when a board member steps down with a substantial amount of time yet to serve, he said.
“The only other way is to have an exorbitantly expensive special election,” he said.
Trustees are countywide offices, meaning ballots would have to be mailed or polling places opened everywhere in the county so any registered voters could weigh in, he said. Such an election would be a “foolish expenditure of funds,” he said.
Musil added that the board might not have the authority on its own to call a countywide special election.
Leaving the position open until the next election also is problematic when there are still months to go, he said. A trustee election would get far less attention in an even-numbered year when the partisan political races are run, he added.
The replacement process is open and public, he said, and has in the past produced good results for board representation.
Roxie Hammill: firstname.lastname@example.org