Olson elected Board of Supervisors chair

Robbie Sequeira Special to the Herald
Story County officials who took the oath of office during a ceremony Jan. 2 are, left to right, County Treasurer Ted Rasmusson, Story County Treasurer Stacie Herridge, District Court Judge Bethany Currie who presided over the swearing-in ceremony, Story County Supervisor Linda Murken, Story County Attorney Jessica Reynolds and Story County Supervisor Rick Sanders. Photo by Robbie Sequeira

Eight elected officials were sworn into their roles at the Story County Administration Building on Jan. 2 following their victories in the November mid-term elections.

Third-term Supervisor Rick Sanders and newcomer Linda Murken were sworn into the Board of Supervisors, joining Lauris Olson, who was later voted in as board chair.

Stacie Herridge will return for a second-term as Story County Recorder, while Ardis Baldwin and Lori McDonald will assume the role of Deputy Treasurer. James Cheek swore in as the Deputy Recorder.

Jessica Reynolds will continue to provide legal counsel as the Story County Attorney, with Tim Meals as the First Assistant County Attorney.

Ted Ramusson was also sworn in as Story County’s new treasurer.

Story County District Court Judge Bethany Currie presided over the swearing in of the newly elected officials.

An hour later, at the Board of Supervisor’s organizational meeting, Olson was elected chair of the board on a 2-1 vote. Murken will serve as the board’s vice chair.

“What makes this county so consistent, so progressive, has to do with the staff, elected officials that work with teamwork,” Olson said.

“I’m so excited about the opportunities ahead of us at 2019, every time we take a new look at things — we are able to achieve goals in Story County,” said Sanders, who had served as chairman in his previous term on the board.

Major Talking Point

The board discussed in-length with members from Veterans Affairs Commission about the process of appointing commissioners. At question was whether the Board properly executed Iowa Code 35b when it made appointments to the commission.

The law states, “The County Commission of Veteran’s Affairs shall consist of either three (3) or five (5) persons, as determined by the County Board of Supervisors, all of whom shall be veterans as defined in section 35.1.”

Two resigning commissioners from the commisison debated the merit of the process of the board having a bid in their appointment. The process has changed intermittingly from internal appointments to the Board of Supervisors appointing members.

County Attorney Jessica Reynolds clarified that the board successfully and legally upheld state code during the process.

Murken said the process for appointment should implement a two-fold approach of ensuring both qualification and transparency. In the coming weeks, the board will reopen the matter for further discussion on potential modifications for the interviewing and appointment stage of the process for all county commissions.

Quick Hits

The board also decided to move away from a voting membership on the Story County Board of Health and to move into an ex-officio capacity. They also decided to take both Safety and Wellness committees off as official appointments.

The board also noted that it will continue to produce abbreviated YouTube previews and reviews of board meetings that have average roughly 1,000 views.

Finally, the board voted to continue meeting on 10 a.m. on Tuesdays.