An article posted on the Carthage Press website, says the commissioners talked about prospective candidates Monday and narrowed the field to six. Commissioner Darieus Adams contacted the six, with two telling him immediately they wanted nothing to do with it. The commissioners then selected three of the remaining four, former Sen. Gary Nodler, Empire District Electric Company Chief Operating Officer Ron Gatz, and former Missouri Southern State University Athletic Director Sallie Beard.
Though the commissioners have indicated they followed the Sunshine Law by having just one commissioner, Adams, talk to the prospective board members, the fact that they never posted that their discussion of the subject indicates in all likelihood, both the letter and the spirit of the law were violated:
(Commissioner Darieus) Adams said the commissioners discussed possible candidates on Monday in their office at the courthouse, before they heard Jasper County Prosecutor Dean Dankelson's recommendation on Tuesday that they make the appointments, thinking that the decision may come their way.
“We wanted to be proactive and we wanted to move the process along as quickly as we could and move on and get business back to normal,” Adams said. “We talked about names and many names were mentioned, we pared that down to a few names and the other two asked me if I would be the one to make the phone calls and that's exactly what happened.”
Adams said the commissioners talked about the public process of taking applications and the public interviews the R-8 Board went through in May and decided to appoint people who had not been part of that process.
“They went through that process, we're all aware of that,” Adams said. “As a result of that, we felt we wanted to go in a direction that was removed from all the people that had been previously asked. There were some great people, clearly, very good people who were willing to serve. We thought it was prudent and the best thing to do was to seek three proven leaders, people who had been involved in our community for many many years, ask them to serve and fulfill the obligation until the April 6 election.”
(Carthage Press photo by John Hacker)