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Beyer appointed Howard trustee

By Kevin Boneske
Staff Writer

HOWARD – After being eliminated in the three-way February primary, the appointment of Scott Beyer as Howard’s trustee for Wards 9-10 was approved Monday, July 23, on a 7-1 vote by the village board.

Beyer, a 17-year Howard resident and talent development manager at Associated Bank, replaces Jim Lemorande, who passed away June 11 after being re-elected to a new two-year term in April.

Beyer’s background also includes serving on village committees, which include the Community Development Authority, Plan Commission, Small Business Partnership Committee and Comprehensive Plan Ad-hoc Committee.

His appointment to the board runs until April 2019 when the trustee seat will be up for a one-year term in a special election.

“I want to be able to influence those decisions that will allow the village to keep moving forward,” Beyer said in the questionnaire he filled out expressing his interest in being on the board.

Village President Burt McIntyre said the board vacancy following Lemorande’s death was advertised, with four individuals in Wards 9-10 expressing interest in the position.

To help review the applications, McIntyre said he asked trustees Cathy Hughes and Chris Nielsen to assist him.

“We went through (the applications) and developed a question script that was given to each of the applicants,” he said. “All the questions were the same to each applicant. We felt we needed to do that for consistency and fairness of the process.”

McIntyre said the applicants had a “tough thing to do” in answering the questions they received while being interviewed for the position.

“I can assure you they don’t get that kind of scrutiny during an election,” he said. “We talked to all four of the applicants at length. We gave them as much time as they felt they needed.”

McIntyre said all four of the applicants – which in addition to Beyer included Tim Meves, who lost the April general election to Lemorande, along with John Kopp and Mary Kay Minnis – “would have certainly done the position well had they been seated on this board.”

After completing the interview process, McIntyre said he discussed the applicants at length with Hughes and Nielsen, and they initially did not reach a unanimous decision on who to appoint.

“We had a difference of opinion on who should be nominated to the board, but we were able to discuss, to examine, and we found out that the advantages of the applicant far outweighed the disadvantages, and we were able to come together and make a recommendation to this board,” McIntyre said.

Nielsen said the decision to recommend Beyer for the trustee vacancy “really came down to some fine details which we spoke about at length.”

“It was about, I think, the individual itself – who would best serve the village of Howard,” he said. “The process was long. It took about three weeks to come together and get our stuff done and our questions and then interview the candidates. We took this extremely serious on what our decision was going to be.”

Hughes, who thanked McIntyre in his handling of the appointment process, said the selection of Beyer “came down to who was best for the village.”

“When we talked about it as our group – with the experiences and interview and answers – it did come clear that Mr. Scott Beyer would be our new trustee,” she said.

Trustee Mike Hoppe, the only board member to vote against Beyer’s appointment, took exception with Beyer being recommended over Meves, who had advanced to the spring general election after Beyer was eliminated in February primary.

Though McIntyre had sent out an email June 18 to the board members outlining the appointment process and timetable to be used to select a replacement for Lemorande, Hoppe said he knew nothing about a “secret committee” formed to interview the applicants.

“I’m just dumfounded,” he said. “Secondly, I don’t think we should ever disenfranchise our voters, and I think our voters spoke very clearly. We had a primary this year in February. Scott Beyer was eliminated.”

Hoppe compared how this spring’s trustee election turned out for Wards 9-10 to Meves being the first runner-up and someone who should be appointed following Lemorande’s death.

“We cannot take the voters out of the equation,” Hoppe said. “How many times have we heard, in this village, from our constituents, ‘What the hell should I vote for. My vote don’t count.’ Well, here’s a clear example of where their vote doesn’t count. It’s not fair.”

Hoppe said he wasn’t aware of the other two applicants for the trustee vacancy and asserted the appointment process was “close to being rigged.”

“Mr. President, I urge you do the right thing, I really do,” Hoppe said. “You have to stop this. This is just unpatriotic.”

McIntyre said in response to Hoppe that the appointment process wasn’t “rigged.”

“It was not a done deal, it was not a rigged deal, and I apologize if I did not make the committee better known,” McIntyre said. “I thought the board knew about the committee…”

Nielsen said the board found itself in a unique situation to fill the trustee vacancy after Lemorande’s death.

“You know, you coulda, woulda, should have,” Nielsen said. “We did everything that we could do to find the right candidate. This is a one-year (term) and then there’s a special election coming up next year, next April, so that the voters can voice their opinion.”

In the future, McIntyre said the board needs to discuss the procedure for filling a board vacancy “and put it in black and white how it’s to be done.”

“This was unique from the standpoint that we just had an election, the winner passed (away), and we had to get (an appointment) to fill in,” he said. “… We need to come up with a policy and that will be on a future agenda item.”

Immediately after the board’s vote approving Beyer’s appointment, he was sworn into office by Director of Administrative Services Chris Haltom and then took his seat on the board for the remainder of the meeting.

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