Commissioner Mahoney to Retain Chairmanship; Wilkins Declines Vice Chair Nomination

Andrew Trzaska | January 4, 2012

District 1 County Commissioner Ken Mahoney will retain his chairmanship on the county board of commissioners in 2012, but the vote to re-elect him as chair on Wednesday was not without some intrigue.

A Democrat, district 4 Jim Derezinski, crossed party lines and nominated the District 3 Republican John Snider for the chairperson position; in his nomination statement included that he planned to nominate District 9 commissioner and Democrat Rillastine Wilkins for vice chair later in the meeting; this would have effectively creating a dual-party chairperson pairing, as existed in the previous year with the Democrat Mahoney as chair.

“I ask you to be a statesman whose concern is the next generation,” said Derezinski.

Derezinski stressed Snider’s long tenure on the board and Wilkins’s experience outside of the county board as a valuable pairing.

Mahoney kept the seat in a 7-4 secret ballot victory, leaving Derezinski to nominate Wilkins for vice chair, and District 7 commissioner and Democrat Scott Plummer to nominate Snider for the vice chair position.

In a move described by Wilkins as “for unity”, she spoke up to decline the vice chair nomination from Derezinski.

This left Snider to win the vice chair position essentially by default.

The match-up of Snider and Mahoney was a repeat of last year’s nominations, where Mahoney won by the exact same margin

Chairman Mahoney has held the chairmanship for 3 years.  Commissioner Snider just finished his first year as vice chair of the board.

The 7-4 vote matches the Democrat-Republican proportions of the board; since the it appears Derezinski voted across party lines, at least one Republican must have done the same in the other direction.

Mahoney claimed the seemingly partisan vote was of no consequence to the board’s future efforts.

“We don’t do anything here that isn’t a team effort… I appreciate the confidence that has been expressed today.”

The board’s Wednesday organizational meeting also saw the passage of the board’s 2012 rules, which may face a challenge from District 2 commissioner Alan Jager in the coming months.

Jager expressed his intentions to increase the amount of time before committee meetings that agendas would be available to commissioners and the public.

Jager wants 7 days before a monthly committee meeting to look over an agenda and talk to his consitutuents; currently agendas are usually available about 72 hours before a meeting, usually on Fridays preceding Tuesday meetings.

“I don’t believe I’m getting enough time to ask my constituents about things on the agenda,” said Jager. “It’s really before the committee meetings that we need it”.

Andrew Trzaska

103.7 “The Beat” – local government beat reporter and political analyst