Franklin County Commission

And then there were two, Franklin County commissioners that is.

After the retirement last Friday of longtime Franklin County politico John Griesheimer, the normally three-member county commission will operate as a duo for at least the next month.

First District Commissioner Tim Brinker told The Missourian the business of the county will proceed as usual and with major projects ongoing, the commissioners will remain hyperfocused.

“Sure, it’s great to have more heads making decisions and hands helping, but nothing will suffer with just two of us,” Brinker said. “Business will progress and we will continue to answer any calls or concerns that may come in.”

Griesheimer had already announced he would not seek re-election to a third term as presiding commissioner before his early exit due to health reasons.

Brinker, along with Washington School Board member Trish Mitchell and Union City Engineer Jonathan Zimmermann had all filed for the open office.

The trio will face off in the Aug. 7, Republican primary election and with no Democratic opponent in November, the primary will decide who the new presiding commissioner will be.

Once the primary election has passed, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson has the option to appoint a person to the now vacant presiding commissioner seat as early as the day after the election, which would be Aug. 8. It is likely he would appoint the winner of the primary.

In the meantime, County Clerk Debbie Door announced last month she would appoint Brinker as acting presiding commissioner from July 9, until the election, or later.  

Door told The Missourian state statute gives the county clerk authority to make the verbal temporary designation to allow county business to be conducted.

Door said the designation is very informal and doesn’t require any paperwork to be filed or a swearing-in ceremony.

Although it is not a frequent practice, it has been done from time to time in recent years.

Experience

This is not the first time in which the county commission has operated as a two-person entity or a governor has filled an empty commission seat.

In 2015, there was a four-month commissioner vacancy in the second district after the death of Mike Schatz.

In June 2015, then Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon tapped Jeff Maune, Union, to complete Mike Schatz’s unexpired term as Second District Franklin County commissioner until the 2016 election when he was defeated by Dave Hinson.

Schatz, a Republican, took office in 2013. He died Feb. 8, 2015, after battling cancer for more than a year. Prior to being elected Second District commissioner, Schatz served 31 years as a Franklin County deputy sheriff.

During that period, Griesheimer and Brinker carried the load of county business.

“We’ve been in this position before,” Brinker said. “We have to apply logic to each process and do the best we can for the taxpayers of the county with or without three persons on the commission.”

Judge

If a situation arises where a third county commissioner is needed, Brinker said the commission can contact 20th Judicial Circuit Presiding Judge Ike Lamke to appoint himself or another judge to the seat temporarily to conduct county business.