Editorials

It’s bobblehead night at the St. Clair County Board

When a county board member dies, you could find new blood or you could pick the dead person’s spouse. Predictability and party loyalty are the desired traits if your goal is a body of head-nodders.
When a county board member dies, you could find new blood or you could pick the dead person’s spouse. Predictability and party loyalty are the desired traits if your goal is a body of head-nodders. Photo illustration

For decades we’ve seen local government, especially county boards, appoint the widow when the board member died. For too long that was one of the few ways these boards saw anyone besides head-nodding, or nodding off, old men join them.

St. Clair County Board member Dixie Seibert died Feb. 7 after serving since 1994. She was proud of helping make the county more professional and open than it had been: “The most important thing is for us to remember that we are public servants, accountable to our neighbors who have placed their trust in us to represent them in county government.”

Seibert’s passing was sad, but it offered an opportunity to add some diversity, bring in fresh ideas and find some youthful energy.

Nope. St. Clair County Chairman Mark Kern picked the elderly widower, Paul Seibert. The rest of the head-nodders agreed that predictability and party loyalty were just the assets they needed.

Dixie Seibert was on the Environmental Committee, Executive Committee, Finance Committee and Public Safety Committee. She had a specific set of talents, and saying her husband is the right replacement is akin to saying Kristin Matheny should manage the Cardinals the next time Mike has a cold or Don Gummer could step into the acting role when wife Meryl Streep next needs a break.

Plus, again, it misses the opportunity to bring along someone new with energy and ideas.

But when was a county board ever the place for energy and ideas. Just keep nodding, folks, just keep nodding.

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