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home : news : news Wednesday, May 25, 2016

6/22/2013 Email this articlePrint this article 
Petsche to fill Central vacancy

By Jeremy Huss
Staff writer

Tami Petsche of DeWitt has been appointed to the Central Community School Board to fill the seat vacated by the resignation of three-term board member Kurt Rickard.

Petsche, who works as director of the DeWitt Chamber and Development Co. (DCDC), will serve the remainder of Rickard's term until school board elections Sept. 10.

Board members Christy Kunz, Jim Irwin and Steve Fuglsang approved the appointment following discussion of a possible conflict of interest issue raised by audience member Ann Green. Board member Jennifer Naeve was absent.

Green questioned whether it is a conflict of interest for Petsche to serve on the school board because school superintendent Dan Peterson serves on the DCDC board of directors, effectively making him Petsche's boss.

Board members said they had looked into the conflict-of-interest question in relation to Petsche's spouse, Bill Petsche, who is a school district employee, but had not considered Peterson's relationship to the DCDC board of directors. Peterson is one of 12 directors on the board.

Regarding the spousal relationship, Irwin said school employees cannot serve on the school board, but there are no legal restrictions on their spouses serving.

Board members said they weren't concerned about a conflict of interest with Peterson's involvement in the DCDC because of the limited amount of time remaining before an election to fill the board seat.

They also noted numerous candidates were approached about filling the vacancy and turned down the request, while Petsche had agreed to accept the appointment.

Peterson acknowledged the potential for a conflict of interest but said he was comfortable with the situation.

"I'd probably have more concerns if I thought it was for more than three meetings," board president Kunz said.

Irwin said the board has been advised when making appointments in the past to look for candidates without ambition to run for office so it doesn't appear they're trying to select the next office-holder, and Petsche isn't planning to run for the seat at election time.

Peterson said the DCDC wants positive publicity, and Petsche wouldn't agree to serve if she thought a conflict would bring negative publicity.

He also reminded board members of a July 5 deadline to fill the position, and they voted unanimously to approve the appointment.

The first day to file nomination papers to run for the school board is Monday, July 8. Papers are available from the school board secretary or the county auditor's office.

Candidates are required to submit a petition signed by a minimum of 50 eligible voters within the school district in order to have their names placed on the ballot. The deadline to file nomination papers with the board secretary or county auditor is 5 p.m., Aug. 1.

Two seats on the Central board currently held by Petsche and Fuglsang will be on the ballot at the Sept. 10 election.

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