At the end of 2018, Franklin County will be losing nearly 70 years of leadership experience as four of the top elected officials end their careers of public service.
All of the “big four” have served between 15 and 20 years in the same county positions and one served an additional 18 years at the state level as well.
Beginning Jan. 1, 2019, the offices of presiding commissioner, county clerk and prosecuting attorney will be held by new people for the first time in decades
Longtime 20th Judicial Circuit Presiding Judge Gael Wood retired last month after 17 years on the bench.
He was first elected in 2000 and was forced by state statute to retire at age 70.
He will serve as senior judge of the 20th Judicial Circuit until the end of this year. A replacement judge will be appointed by the governor, who will serve until Jan. 1, 2019.
The position of presiding commissioner has been held by John Griesheimer since 2010 and he will finish a storied political career at the end of 2018, having never lost an election.
Griesheimer came back to the county commission after serving 18 years in the state Legislature.
He was first elected to the Missouri House of Representatives in 1992 before term limits were established and served five terms, or 10 years.
When term limits finally did catch up with him, he moved to the other side of the Capitol building and was elected to two terms (2002, 2006) in the Senate, serving a total of eight years.
As term limits again limited his service to eight years, he came full circle back to county government.
Before heading to Jefferson City 18 years before, Griesheimer had served as First District commissioner from 1988 to 1992.
Before that, he was on the Washington City Council for six years, beginning in 1982.
Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney Robert Parks announced in March he would not be seeking re-election next year and will retire with an even 20 years in office.
Parks, 67, has devoted his entire law career to the county prosecutor’s office.
Besides being elected to five four-year terms as prosecutor, Parks previously was an assistant prosecutor for 5 1/2 years, serving under prosecutors, Gordon Upchurch and Dave Tobben.
Parks faced an opponent the first two times he ran for the office. He was unopposed in the last three elections.
Franklin County Clerk Debbie Door will retire at the end of her current term next December.
She will leave the office after 16 years.
Handling the candidate filings and conducting the elections is no small task for her office. Voter registration is another responsibility. To handle and supervise the duties charged to the office requires multiple skills.
During her time in office she has seen several county projects completed, including the Brush Creek Sewer District project, implementation of a countywide master plan and the largest construction project ever undertaken by the county, which includes a new administrative building, judicial center and renovations to the present county courthouse.
Four other county officeholders also are up for re-election in 2018 and they all have confirmed to The Missourian they will be running, at least at this point.
Circuit Clerk Bill D. Miller, Collector Linda Emmons, Auditor Tammy Vemmer and Recorder of Deeds Jennifer Metcalf all are seeking re-election.