The People's Tribune

Missy Jaeger Announces She Will Not Be Sworn In As Pike County Clerk

Commissioner May Appoint Individual Until Governor Makes Official Appointment

Pike County Commissioners received a typed letter from Michelle (Missy) Hunter Jaeger last week that announced she will not accept the county clerk’s office for which she won in the last election along with a slate of other Republican candidates.

Jaeger was slated to be sworn in on Jan. 1 – along with the other county officials who won office. She defeated present County Clerk Melissa Kempke, who is a democrat, and has served the past several years.

Jaeger’s letter was only a sentence long and was addressed to Presiding Commissioner Chris Gamm.

“It is with heartfelt contemplation and deep regret that I submit to you my resignation from the recently elected position of Pike County Clerk.”

Among the many duties of the clerk’s office is payroll, bills and the budget so it would be difficult to begin the year without a county clerk.

The commissioners are looking to find a candidate to appoint by Jan. 1 to handle operations until the position is officially appointed by the governor. That process generally takes a couple of weeks.

Kempke told The People’s Tribune that individuals who are interested in the job can notify the governor’s office on the state website. She pointed out that she intends to let the governor know that she will be willing to continue in theposition.

Western District Commissioner Bill Allen said he is very disappointed by the turn of events.

“We’re in a situation now that we shouldn’t have to be in,” he remarked. “It’s very, very disappointing. Hopefully we can have someone ready by Jan. 1.”

Eastern District Commissioner Justin Sheppard agreed that an appointment will be made by Jan. 1, and added he hopes to coordinate so the appointment will be the one the governor officially installs for two years. (At the next election the office will be posted as a two-year unexpired term).

“I agree with Bill’s statement that our intention is to have a person selected prior to Jan. 1 to ensure that there will be an acting county clerk at the time our current county clerk’s term expires,” he stated. “We spoke with a representative from the Governor’s office and it was explained that in cases when vacancies occur the process is usually as follows: The Commission by statutory authority has 14 days to fill the vacancy once there is an official vacancy. Then the central committees from each political party can make recommendations to the governor to whom they would like governor to consider to appoint when he makes his appointment.”

“I believe we as Commissioners would like to see our appointment be upheld and ultimately appointed by our governor,” Sheppard continued. “We have to take into consideration that our Governor is a Republican and would most likely want to appoint a Republican to the vacant office. I believe if we made an initial temporary appointment which was not upheld by our Governor then it would be a detriment to county government operations by having to switch county clerks in the middle of the year,”Sheppard concluded.

Allen noted the commissioners have heard from several people and anyone else who is interested should reach out to Presiding Commissioner Chris Gamm.

Jaeger was selected by the Pike County Republican party after Allen Chandler removed his name from the ballot. Jaeger had noted at the time she was not familiar with the duties of the county clerk and would have to rely deeply on existing staff.

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