MOUNT VERNON — The chief financial officer of one of Mount Vernon’s largest employers was appointed Mount Vernon City Treasurer Wednesday by the Republican Party Central Committee.
Mount Vernon central committee members chose Ariel Corp. CFO David Stuller over Russ McGibney, who is best known around Mount Vernon as one of the entrepreneurs behind Sips coffee house.
Stuller was elected as appointee in a ballot process. Ten of the 11 city central committee members were present and all cast ballots. Only the Mount Vernon representatives could vote, central committee chair Chip McConville said.
Stuller’s appointment will be effective the day he is sworn in, McConville said.
In seeking the position, Stuller said he has always been interested in politics.
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“(The treasurer’s position) opening up lets me use what I have, what I know and still stay active in the political world,” Stuller said.
The position is part time, and involves reconciling auditor’s reports and making deposits.
Ariel Corp. pays taxes into the city tax office. Stuller said he does not see a conflict, as taxes for Ariel are done by “outside preparers.”
Stuller said he will leave the operations of the city tax office mostly to staff, and will make himself available if needed. He described his intended approach to the tax office as “stay in touch, visit once in a while and maintain contact” and “make sure I’m available to them.”
If the city decides to go with a charter government, and that government decides to do away with the treasurer’s position, Stuller said he would work to make sure “the proper controls are in place” regarding finances.
Stuller will replace former treasurer Felicia Rhodes, who resigned in August after completing less than eight months of her term. Because Rhodes is a Republican, it was up to the central committee to name a successor.
Rhodes submitted her resignation amid concerns about her job performance. Former city treasurer Bud Krutsch was appointed to fill in for the interim.
McConville said the treasurer’s position will be up for election in the next municipal election in 2019. Stuller’s appointed term will run until then, and Stuller may choose to run for election at that time.
Stuller said it is his intention to run for treasurer on the ballot.
Clyde Kahrl had expressed interest in the position but withdrew at Wednesday’s meeting. Kahrl said he had received inaccurate information about the position when he expressed interest in seeking the appointment.
Also at the meeting, the central committee decided to send out surveys to Mount Vernon charter commission candidates. Committee member Jody Pritchard, who is also a commission candidate, said the Knox County Democratic Party has been sending out surveys with the intention of granting party endorsements. Although the race is non-partisan, political parties may endorse candidates, McConville said. McConville is also a candidate for the charter commission.
McConville also said that “seven or eight people” have expressed interest in being appointed as Knox County Juvenile and Probate Judge following the retirement from the position by Judge Jennifer Springer effective Oct. 1. The central committee will hold a meeting on the matter in October, McConville said.