C.A.R.D. board votes local business owner as commissioner

News-DemocratAugust 20, 2013 

— The new commissioner for the Collinsville Area Recreation District will be Jeanne Lomax of Collinsville.

The C.A.R.D. board was short one member after board president Andrew Carruthers resigned in June. Commissioner David Tanzyus was elected as president in his place, and the board then accepted applications from interested residents for an interim commissioner.

On Tuesday, the board went into a closed session to discuss the appointment. After about 45 minutes, they reopened the meeting and voted 3-1 to approve Lomax for the board. Former board president Mary Ann Bitzer was the sole no vote.

Lomax is the owner of Liberty Cleaning in Collinsville and unsuccessfully ran for Madison County Board in 2012. A self-described "common-sense fiscal conservative" who has served as a Republican precinct committeeman, Lomax stated in her application that her goal was to serve as "a voice of fiscal restraint, integrity and honest for the people of my district."

Five people had submitted applications to fill Carruthers' seat after he resigned. The other four candidates included:

* Mary Fedder, a Collinsville nurse and part-time teacher at the Collinsville Area Vocational Center and a long-time trustee for the Mississippi Valley Public Library District;

* Michael Jeffries, a lines distribution foreman with the Collinsville city water department and past program director of the girls' Collinsville Soccer Association;

* Brad Sewell, manager of Frenchtown Transmission in St. Charles, Mo. and other small businesses' accounts;

* Jim Sparks, an employee at Indian Mounds Golf Course who has offered services for both the executive director and interim commissioner positions at CARD in the recent past.

Sparks later spoke to the board protesting the method by which the seats were filled. He said he believes the board should have called a special election, which the board members said they believe would be illegal.

"If I go further, it will sound like nothing but sour grapes," Spark said. "It's not that at all... Somehow there needs to be a different system by which the commissioners are chosen. It's all about politics."

Carruthers had filed to run for Madison County Board in 2012 a few months after he was elected to the C.A.R.D. board, then withdrew his candidacy, stating he wanted to focus on C.A.R.D. He resigned from the park district board in June and is currently chairman of the Madison County Republican Party. His term would have expired in 2015.

Contact reporter Elizabeth Donald at edonald@bnd.com or 239-2507.

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