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Questionnaires sent to candidates to fill vacancy on fire district board


By BILL MILLIGAN

For the Call

Responses to candidate questionnaires to fill a vacant director's seat are under review this week by two members of the Mehlville Fire Protection District Board of Directors.

"We've mailed out questionnaires to the people who have expressed an interest in serving on the board,'' Chairman Thomas O'Driscoll told the Call Monday. "Their responses are due this evening. We'll take a week to look them over.''

O'Driscoll and board Treasurer Dan Ottoline Sr. are seeking to fill the seat held by Secretary Joseph Gaterman, who lost his battle with cancer April 29 — 10 days after being sworn in as secretary.

Gaterman, a former chief, was elected April 8.

The candidate appointed by the board would serve until next April, when an election will be conducted to fill the re-maining five years of Gaterman's term.

Questionnaires were sent to eight individuals including Gaterman's opponents in last April's election John Mikolay of Oakville and Bonnie Stegman of Oakville.

Gaterman received nearly 50 percent of the votes cast in that election.

Other candidates include Mrs. Nan Gaterman of Oakville, retired Deputy Chief Tom Nieder of Concord, Gail Chat-field of Concord, Matt Palazzolo of Crest-wood; Ken Boemer of of Crestwood and former Mehlville Board of Education member David Gralike of Oakville.

Candidates were asked to respond to five topics. First, candidates were asked about their qualifications for appointment.

Second, candidates were asked what are the three most important issues facing the fire district today.

In addition, they were asked about their solutions to those problems, funding sources to address each issue and "given the budgetary constraints, prioritize the above three issues and explain your priority values.''

Discussion of the responses to the board questionnaire was not on the agenda for the board's Aug. 18 meeting. However, a closed session scheduled to be conducted to discuss legal issues was amended to include a discussion of "personnel.''

"Their responses are due this evening,'' O'Driscoll said. "We'll take a week to look them over.''

Missouri's Open Meetings and Records Law, commonly referred to as the Sunshine Law, states that a public governmental body is to meet openly, except when its members discuss certain matters, including "hiring, firing, disciplining or promoting of particular employees by a public governmental body when personal information about the employee is discussed or recorded."

However, a Sunshine Law publication issued by Attorney General Jay Nixon states, "Generally, an employee is one who receives wages or salary from the government ... But independent contractors, members of volunteer citizen boards and elected officials are not employees for purposes'' of the Sunshine Law exemption re-lating to the hiring, firing, disciplining or promoting of particular employees.

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