Third St. Clair County Board member resigns

News-DemocratMay 20, 2013 

A third St. Clair County Board member elected in the November election has resigned.

Patricia Keeley, D-Belleville, gave up her seat to accept an associate judgeship with the 20th Judicial Circuit, which includes St. Clair, Monroe, Randolph, Washington and Perry counties. The County Board accepted her resignation during a board meeting on Monday. She will be filling the judgeship in domestic violence court left vacant with the passing of Joe Christ on March 10.

"I love the County Board members and the folks that live in my district," Keeley said of her resignation from the board. "I like talking to them and solving problems when I can."

Keeley, an attorney with the Belleville law firm Pessin, Baird and Wells, was appointed to the position on May 8 after a majority of circuit court judges cast their ballots in her favor. She was first elected to the County Board in 2008.

"I'm honored and thrilled to get started," Keeley said. "This is something I wanted and worked for a very long time. I certainly appreciate the opportunity the circuit judges have given me."

Keeley has been an attorney for 17 years. Prior to her law career, she worked as a social worker for 15 years. She earned her law degree during that time by attending night classes.

The judgeship post is another way to continue serving people, Keeley said.

"I've been doing that a long time," she said. "It's kind of what I do."

Keeley's resignation will be in effect Friday, May 24, the same day she is scheduled to be sworn in as a judge. Her seat remains open.

Keeley defeated Republican challenger Richard R. Davis in the November 2012 election. Her term will not expire until December 2014.

In April, former Board Members Willie McIntosh, D-Washington Park, and Carl A. Gomez, D-Fairmont City, resigned their posts. Both were elected in unopposed elections in November.

McIntosh's wife, Joan I. McIntosh, was appointed to fill his seat. Robert L. Allen Jr., of Fairmont City, was sworn in last month to fill the seat vacated by Gomez.

During a ceremony honoring the three resigning board members, Board Chairman Mark Kern said all of them displayed the dedication necessary to be a member of the board.

In other news, the board expanded the so-called enterprise zone surrounding MidAmerica St. Louis Airport in Mascoutah to include development and expansion projects in neighboring Lebanon and Mascoutah.

To encourage development, businesses within the zone are offered incentives, such as sales tax exemptions on construction materials.

The boundaries were expanded to include the construction of a gas station and adjacent Huddle House restaurant in Mascoutah along with the expansion of a True Value store and construction of "hospitality oriented" facilities in Lebanon.

Contact reporter Daniel Kelley at dkelley@bnd.com or 618-239-2501.

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