The O’Fallon municipal races are set for the April 2 election, as a record 16 candidates have filed petitions. Eight out of 14 council seats are open.
“This will have a great impact on O’Fallon,” Mayor Herb Roach said. “Sixteen people have shown an interest. This may be the highest amount ever. Thanks to all the candidates who applied.”
A record number of women are running for office as well, with six on the ballot. This reflects a national trend.
Only two seats on the O’Fallon City Council are uncontested – incumbent alderman Kevin Hagarty in Ward 3 and newcomer Christopher M. Monroe for the two-year term available in Ward 5.
Hagarty has served since 2011 and is seeking his second term. Originally from Belleville, he and his wife have lived in O’Fallon since 2000 and have two children. He is a probation officer in St. Clair County.
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Monroe, a Marine veteran, is a former Central District 105 School Board member. He is an account manager with ECHO Incorporated and an independent distributor with AdvoCare. He has three daughters and one son. Originally from Cahokia, he is married to Jennifer Monroe.
Only one other incumbent is seeking election – Robert Kueker of Ward 2 — is seeking his second term.
Aldermen who chose not to run include Ned Drolet of Ward 6 and David Cozad of Ward 7. Retired Air Force, Drolet was first elected in 1999, and after 14 years, in 2013 did not run for re-election. He ran two years later and is serving his final term. Cozad, also retired Air Force, was appointed in 2009, was elected in 2011 and 2015.
Ward 1 has a three-way race between newcomers Jessica Gunther, a clinical social worker who started the local chapter of “Hate Has No Home Here” earlier this year; Catherine McBride; and Dennis Muyleart, who ran for the seat in the last election.
In Ward 2, Kueker will face off with Jessica Lotz, who is the special events manager for the O’Fallon-Shiloh Chamber of Commerce.
In Ward 4, Mary Lynam-Miller, Todd Roach and Sarah Atterberry are vying for the open seat. A lottery was held Dec. 26 to determine the order on the ballot
Atterberry is a program secretary at Anderson Hospital in Maryville.
Roach, who is Mayor Herb Roach’s son, is currently a trustee on the O’Fallon Township Board. He has previously served on the District 90 School Board. He works as a human resources manager for American Railcar Industries Inc. in St. Louis.
Lynam-Miller is the marketing liaison with Clinton Manor Living Center in New Baden.
In Ward 6, Tom Vorce and Christopher “Casey” Scharven are running. Vorce works for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Scharven, retired Air Force, is a senior logistics analyst with Engility Corporation.
In Ward 7, Nathan Parchman and Brian Gibson are first-time candidates. Parchman is an associate wealth advisor with Cambridge Management Corporation. Gibson is president of the Providence Banking Center in Fairview Heights and active as a local coach.
O’Fallon has seven wards, which are represented by two aldermen each, who are elected on rotating four-year terms. That means every two years at least one council seat is up for election.
However, this year, two aldermen, Richie Meile of Ward 1 and Matthew Smallheer of Ward 4, were elected to the St. Clair County Board while one, Andrew Lopinot of Ward 5, was elected Treasurer.
They have all three resigned and assumed their county positions. The mayor will appoint replacements for the vacancies at the Jan. 7 meeting, Roach said.
“I am very sad to see them go, but I wish them all the best. If they operate with the same passion and expertise with the county as they did while on the City Council, I know they will do well,” Mayor Herb Roach said.
“Thank you to these three individuals for donating their time and energy to help make O’Fallon better,” he said.
State law requirements give the mayor 60 days to recommend a replacement to the council, and that will be in January.
“The council must then vote to accept the recommendation. Regardless of who is chosen, each of the seats will be up for election in April. So, my recommendation will only be short-term appointments,” Roach said.
Ward 5 is the only one with two seats available. Monroe is the sole candidate for the two-year unexpired term of former alderman Andrew Lopinot. Appointed Alderman Gwen Randoph, who took Courtney Marsh’s place in August, is running against former alderman Christopher Hursey. Marsh resigned in June due to moving out of her ward.
Hursey was appointed in November 2016 to fill the unexpired term of longtime alderman Mike Bennett, who moved to another city. In April 2017 election, he ran as a write-in candidate for the two-year unexpired term because he was removed from the ballot by a St. Clair County judge. He was defeated by Lopinot.
Hursey is the son of O’Fallon Treasurer David Hursey, who has been elected to four terms.
In February 2017, Associate Judge Chris Kolker ruled that both Christopher Hursey and David Hursey had to be removed from the ballot when objections were raised about Christopher not properly labeling his paperwork that he was running for the unexpired two-year term and that David did not get the proper number of signatures.
When petitions first became available in September, 12 people picked them up, and eventually nine others did, with seven not filing between the Dec. 10-17 window.
To run for city council, individuals must be registered voters, at least 18 years old, and have lived in the ward they are running in for at least one year at the time of the election.