By Bob Balgemann


BELVIDERE – One of the jobs of the Boone County Board chairman is to appoint people to fill vacancies on the various committees, commissions, districts and associations, and in the fire districts. Those appointments need concurrence from the full county board.

In some cases, the recommendations don’t meet with unanimous support.

That didn’t happen April 15, when the board considered appointments to four fire district boards of trustees, to the Belvidere Cemetery Association and to the Garden Prairie Street Light District.

Each received a unanimous vote of approval from the board.

In most cases incumbent members, whose appointments expired this spring, were returned for fresh terms.

The list included:

Fire District No. 1, Carol Berglund, currently board secretary, to a three-year term.

Fire District No. 2, Kevin Stark, vice president, a three-year term.

Fire District 3, Jake Schoepski, treasurer, also a three-year term.

Fire District 5, William Hall, treasurer, three-year term.

Belvidere Cemetery Association, Roger Pope, Jamie Murray, Lee Ladenburger and Edward Marx, to six-year terms.

Garden Prairie Street Light District, Don Pilgrim, to a three-year term.

“That was the first time in a while that there were unanimous votes,” board Chairman Bob Walberg said in a follow-up interview.

Questions arise

There were no appointments at the February or March meetings. But at the Jan. 21 board meeting questions were raised about those recommendations.

The first came from District 3 board member Kenny Freeman, who wanted to know how many applications there had been for upcoming vacancies on the regional planning commission?

“Five,” Chairman Walberg replied.

Freeman asked if he would provide the names of the other candidates? “I’ve been getting a lot of phone calls about this,” he said. “If you want to appoint your buddies, then what point is there in anyone applying?”

Walberg explained how he decided on who to recommend for the various vacancies. He said he was looking for “some new blood” on the planning commission, adding that he has been trying “to find more young people” to serve.

District 2 board member Cathy Ward said she also had been receiving phone calls about the appointments. She said she knew of two commissioners who were well qualified but had not been reappointed. And she claimed the majority of those appointed were anti-wind farm people.

Finally, she asked for a roll call vote on each of the appointments.

But District 1 board member Denny Ellingson said he didn’t know why that was needed. And District 2 board member Karl Johnson said he didn’t know what the Cemetery Association, whose appointments also were on the agenda that night, had to do with wind farms.

“Same with the housing authority,” he said. “I think that’s (roll call vote) more than what’s needed.”

All of the appointments were approved with roll call votes ultimately being held. Freeman, District 3 board member Craig Schultz and Ward withheld their support of some, but not all, appointments.

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