Ford County Board chairman's goals remain unchanged

PAXTON — After being appointed Monday to his third consecutive two-year term as chairman of the Ford County Board, Rick Bowen said his goals for county government remain unchanged.

“We’re going to just try to keep going as we have — keeping a balanced budget, being conservative on our spending and hopefully being able to keep all services in tact and keep all the employees happy and continue on our successful track,” Bowen said.

“We’ve got a good team (of board members). We really didn’t have much change (on the board due to the election), so that’s a positive. We can just keep going the way we have been.”

Bowen, 46, of Elliott, is a 10-year veteran of the board who was first appointed chairman in December 2008, replacing Debbie Smith of Paxton. He was appointed to his third term by a unanimous vote during the board’s biannual reorganizational meeting Monday.

Also Monday, re-appointed as vice chairman was Elynor Stagen of Gibson City, who has served 11 years on the board, including the last eight as vice chairman. Stagen also heads the board’s finance committee.

No others were nominated for either the chairman or vice chairman positions.

The  10 members of the 12-member board who were present Monday also were sworn into office, after each won election in November. The two who were absent, Randy Ferguson of Gibson City and Bob Lindgren of rural Loda, will take their oaths at a later date.

All but one board member — Dave Hastings of rural Paxton — is an incumbent. The 63-year-old retiree, however, has served on the board previously. He served eight years before he reluctantly resigned last January, at the board’s request, after his wife, Judy, was appointed county treasurer. But then he opted to run for a board seat in the March primary election. He replaces Tom McQuinn of rural Paxton, who lost his bid for re-election to a second term.

The duration of each newly elected board member’s term was assigned through a random drawing conducted by County Clerk Linda Kellerhals on Monday, as well.
Serving two-year terms will be: District 1 board members Gene May of rural Paxton and Hastings; District 2 board members Floyd “Bud” Otto Jr. of rural Roberts and Pat Haskins of rural Sibley; and District 3 board members Randy Berger of Gibson City and Bowen.

Serving four-year terms will be: District 1 board members Jason Johnson of rural Paxton and Richard Hewerdine of Paxton; District 2 board members Tim Nuss of rural Roberts and Lindgren; and District 3 board members Ferguson and Stagen.

Committee assignments for each board member will be made in the future. On Monday, Bowen asked board members to submit their requests to be on specific committees.

Kellerhals presented the official results of the Nov. 6 general election on Monday.

In other news, Bowen reminded the board that the annual Christmas party for county employees and elected officials is at noon Friday in the courthouse’s first-floor lobby. Bowen is making the meal.

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