In arguably the meatiest race in Tuesday's local elections, nine candidates ran for three seats on the six-member Fort Scott Community College Board of Trustees. And although results are unofficial until canvassing at 10 a.m. on Monday, it appears that local businessman John Bartelsmeyer, former FSCC President Richard Hedges and insurance man John Kerr are the newest members of the board.
Bartelsmeyer garnered 843 votes, Hedges 745 and Kerr 706 to claim the three open spots and in doing so ousted two current trustees, Myrtle Anne Colum and Jim Fewins.
Bartelsmeyer captured 18.13 percent of the vote, Hedges 16.02 percent and Kerr 15.18 percent.
Kerr won a tight race for the last spot, edging out Randall Readinger for the final seat. Readinger finished just nine votes behind Kerr for the last spot.
Bartelsmeyer, who has eight years prior experience as a trustee, has said he hopes FSCC "continues to provide high quality academic and technical programs that prepare students to compete for employment or transfer to a university."
He said his top priority will be to contribute to the economic development of Fort Scott by meeting the current and changing needs of our community and local employers.
He has also said he believes board members should run for the post "not to better themselves, but to give back to the community."
As is usual, one of the main issues for Fort Scottians and FSCC was the mill levy. Last year, the board kept the mill levy flat at 25.357 mills.
Kerr said he is concerned taxpayers are "paying too much in taxes" and if elected, would not support any increase in the mill levy. Kerr said trustees should always be good stewards of the money the college receives. Readinger also said he would not want to raise the mill levy.
He also was critical of a sizable raise the trustees gave President Clayton Tatro a couple of years ago.
Kerr, no stranger to politics, graduated from Gonzaga University with a Bachelors of Science in Political Science and has worked in Washington, D.C., where he concentrated on legislative issues from taxes and regulatory reform to veteran's affairs.
Hedges is a former member of the Kansas Board of Regents, served on the Fort Scott City Commission for 14 years and was a former three-term mayor of Fort Scott.
He said his top priority will be working with the other trustees to map a clear course for the college.
Trustees serve four- year terms that are staggered, with elections every two years. Seats held by trustees Robert Nelson, Jim Sather and Mark McCoy will be contested in 2015.
Others receiving votes were David Conradt (507), Fewins (400), Stephen Stanton (322), Colum (281) and Townsend (149).