The SBFPD ran a legal notice Nov. 23, 2018, in the Lake Sun officially notifying the public of its intent to open candidate filing for a one-year position.

A once-contested seat on the Sunrise Beach Fire Protection District Board of Directors will be up for election in April 2019.

The SBFPD ran a legal notice Nov. 23, 2018, in the Lake Sun officially notifying the public of its intent to open candidate filing for a one-year position. This seat is currently filled by Denise Dill through an appointment in July 2016, but it was recently a bone of contention among the three-member board of directors.

Elected to the district board in April 2018 to a different seat, Bob Hemen filed a lawsuit in Camden County Circuit seeking direction from the judge on replacing Dill because he believed her legal term of appointment had run out. Indeed, Dill’s seat should have gone up for election on the April 2018 ballot. Minutes of board meetings earlier in 2018 indicate the mistake was realized after the filing period for offices had ended and the ballots had already been printed. Upon legal advice from long-time SBFPD attorney Tom Loraine and subject matter specialist attorney Ivan Schraeder, nothing was done as the board waited for the next April election in 2019.

A judge recently confirmed this advice, citing Missouri Constitution Article 7, Section 12, controlling over the statute cited by Hemen’s attorney, Missouri Revised Statute Section 321.200.2. On the Tenure of Office, the Constitution states, “Except as provided in this constitution, and subject to the right of resignation, all officers shall hold office for the term thereof, and until their successors are duly elected or appointed and qualified.”

The Nov. 20, 2018 ruling dismissed Hemen’s lawsuit and allowed Dill to retain her seat until the next election when the position goes up for election.

In the Nov. 23 legal notice, the district seeks candidates for the office during the filing period of Dec. 11, 2018 to Jan. 15, 2019. Candidates must file with the Clerk of the fire district at headquarters, located 30 Porter Mill Spring Road, during weekday business hours, accounting for a lunch hour and closing at 4 p.m. each day.

The election will be April 2, 2019. Candidates for director must be citizens of the U.S., a resident and registered voter for two years and at least 25 years of age.

A $50.00 fee is required from all candidates at the time of filing.

After Dill’s position was affirmed with an announcement at the Nov. 20 board meeting, she and board president Brian Layman voted to also place a proposition to voters on April 2, 2019, seeking to make the board of directors a five-person board for greater stability. During the controversy over Dill and other problems among the board members and administration, Layman attempted to resign but then withdrew his resignation. With limited numbers, the controversy among the board members threatened the stability of the district, though staff have successfully continued operations without service interruption.

Hemen was not present at the meeting due to a previous judge’s order not to conduct business until his ruling. The judge’s decision was issued around 4:30 p.m. Nov. 20, and the board meeting began at 5:30.