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Government, Politics & Issues

Trio Appointed To Madison County Board After ‘Pushback’ To Prenzler Nominees

The Madison County Board voted to approve the appointments of three new members to the board last Friday, after county leaders overwhelmingly voted against initial nominees. The new members were all put forward their predecessors to fill the vacancies.
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The Madison County Board voted to approve the appointments of three new members to the board last Friday, after county leaders overwhelmingly voted against initial nominees. The new members were all put forward by their predecessors to fill the vacancies.

Editor’s note: This story was originally published by the Belleville News-Democrat, a news partner of St. Louis Public Radio.

Three vacancies on the Madison County Board were filled Friday night after county board members pushed Chairman Kurt Prenzler’s to make appointment nominees based on recommendations from board members who vacated their seats late last year.

The Madison County Board approved the appointments of three new members at a special meeting Friday, filling vacancies left by three board members who resigned late last year. The meeting came as a result of the board voting overwhelmingly last week to reject nominations by Prenzler that county board members said did not take into account the recommendations of the board or the outgoing board members.

Republican board member Mick Madison said the rejections were a response to continuous attempts by Prenzler to “go around” the county board with appointments and last-minute votes. He said the board didn’t have a chance to review or interview the nominated appointees and that its recommendations were not taken into consideration.

“This is pushback. (Wednesday’s vote) was a culmination of those things, we’ve had enough of this and we’re not taking it anymore,” he said. “Board members keep asking for more information and more time for considerations before he brings things up.”

This week, one nominee from Prenzler’s first trio of nominations remained. However, there were two new nominees, Michael Babcock for for District 14 and Terry Eaker for District 15. Valarie Doucleff was once again nominated to serve in District 6. The board approved all three appointments.

Babcock is a lifetime resident of Madison County and Wood River’s Township supervisor, a role he plans to continue. Eaker is also a lifetime resident of Madison County and owns a barber shop in Bethalto. Doucleff is a longtime teacher in the Alton School District.

Doucleff, Babcock and Eaker were each recommended to fill the vacancies by their predecessors, according to county board member Mike Walters, who helped organize the search for nominees after last week’s meeting.

Prenlzer was lauded by several members of the board for going back to the drawing board and working with the board to nominate individuals recommended by the outgoing board members.

The three appointees replace Tom McRae, who represented the 14th District; Ray Wesley, who represented the 6th district; and Chrissy Dutton-Wiley, who represented the 15th District. All three former board members are Republicans.

McRae stepped down from the board after being elected county circuit clerk. Wesley resigned to serve as McRae’s deputy circuit clerk. Both resigned in late November.

Dutton-Wiley resigned in mid-December after moving out of the district and into McRae’s district. McRae recommended Dutton-Wiley fill his vacant seat, but she was not considered as a replacement.

Dutton-Wiley served as District 15’s board member for four years and had two years left on her term when she resigned. She said last week she hoped to be appointed to the District 14 seat but now plans to run for the seat next time it is open.

Prenzler originally nominated Doucleff of Godfrey to District 6, Larry Meisenheimer of Bethalto to District 14 and Dana Brockman of Wood River to District 15.

Kavahn Mansouri is a reporter with the Belleville News-Democrat, a news partner of St. Louis Public Radio.

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