By Bob Balgemann


There are a few Boone County Board members who don’t like the way board Chairman Bob Walberg recommends appointments to the various advisory boards, committees, and commissions.

That fact was in evidence again July 20 when board member Kenny Freeman wanted reconsideration of the June 15 appointment of Kathryn Rudy to the county conservation district board.

He said he voted in favor of the appointment in June but would not do so in July.

Another board member, Cathy Ward, read from a prepared statement in which she continued to disagree with the way appointments were being made.

Concerning the conservation district vacancy she said the incumbent, George Thomas, sought re-election and had enjoyed serving on the board. She added that he had no idea why he was not reappointed.

She noted that Kathryn Rudy was the daughter of Marshall and Julie Newhouse, “who are friends of Mr. Walberg. I strongly object to the way these appointments are made. Many of them are opposed to wind farms, which should be no surprise.”

The process calls for recommended appointments by the chairman, with concurrence from the full county board.

While saying the chairman wasn’t doing anything illegal, she claimed board members often did not know about “behind-the-scenes connections” until a few hours before the appointments are asked to be made.

“We never know who (else) has applied or who they are going to replace,” she said.

“There’s quite an exaggeration to your comments, but that’s all right,” Walberg said.

“It’s all facts,” Ward countered.

“No, it’s not,” the chairman interjected. “The truth of the matter is you cannot succeed yourself on that (conservation district) board. You have to go off for at least one year. Mr. Thomas, according to rules of that position, was not eligible to be reappointed.”

No one challenged Walberg on that statement.

Instead, Ward asked why Thomas wasn’t told he could not be reappointed.

“He was,” Walberg replied. “We’ve had this discussion. You’re grossly exaggerating a lot of these issues. Thank you very much.”

Board member Jeffrey Carlisle then took the floor, saying they were discussing a matter of policy, and he thought it was time to change the policy. That could be done by taking a proposal to the administrative and legislative committee for a recommendation, which then would be referred to the full county board for a decision.

“That’s what we do to change policy,” he said. “We don’t gripe about it; we don’t wait 20 years. We make the change. So, let’s do it. Thank you.”

However, Walberg said there was no need to change anything.

“Actually, this is not policy,” he said of the appointment process. “It is state statute.”

The motion to reconsider the appointment of Rudy was still on the floor and the chairman called for a voice vote. Yes and no votes were intertwined, with Walberg claiming the motion had failed.

Freeman didn’t agree and he asked for a roll call vote.

That did happen and the motion to reconsider failed, 8-4, with support from board members Sherry Branson, Freeman, Jessica Muellner, and Ward. Opposing that action were Chairman Walberg and members Carlisle, Denny Ellingson, Sherry Giesecke, Karl Johnson, Raymond Larson, Cory Lind, and Brad Stark.


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