EUREKA — The Woodford County Board has a new member, though the process to seat him was neither swift nor without controversy.
The panel unanimously confirmed Pete Streid on Tuesday night to replace Mike Hinrichsen, who stepped down to become village president in Germantown Hills in May.
But Streid's appointment came only after more than an hour of discussion both between board members and during the panel's public comment session.
At issue was the appointment process itself.
Board Chairman Stan Glazier — whose statutory duty it is to select appointees to fill open seats, subject to board approval — recommended Streid for the job, but GOP precinct committeemen who interviewed a trio of candidates preferred a different candidate, Al Durst.
Glazier said he hoped to move the appointment process into the public — "moving (the county) forward 30 years" — rather than leaving it in the hands of a closed precinct meeting.
But the move drew attacks from some board members, including Barry Logan, who called Streid an "illegitimate nominee" and said Glazier had "thumbed his nose at the Republican Party. He is not the king of Woodford County. ... No real Republican can vote any other way than for (Durst)."
Doug Huser, on the other hand, criticized the county party for closing ranks around what he said was a preordained nomination and implied a conflict of interest for Durst in any business related to one of the county's largest offices. His son is employed as a county sheriff's deputy.
Board members on both sides of the debate claimed undue political pressure, including threats to their political futures in the GOP-dominated county, if they persisted in backing their preferred nominee.
Logan said countywide officials feared speaking publicly for Durst out of fear of retaliation, while Duane Kingdon described a call from an official claiming "consequences" for his support of Streid and shrugged it off.
"I will not be threatened. I will not be strong-armed. I've been put in this chair to make the best decisions I can make. ... If it costs me the election, so be it," he said.
An effort to substitute Durst as the appointee failed on a 5-8 vote, and after a brief question-and-answer period with him, Streid was voted in 13-0.
The board also:
• Agreed after lengthy debate to have a contractor review the conditions of brick flashing on the county jail roof before proceeding with planned maintenance.
• Approved changes to the county's purchasing ordinance after extended discussion.
• Passed a travel expense policy to keep the county in compliance with a new state law that requires one to be in place before any reimbursements are made after July 1.
• Rejected an effort to require board members to submit proposed corrections to the minutes one day ahead of each board meeting. Members spent a lengthy period at their May meeting debating changes to the April meeting's minutes.
• Approved Huser as the board's new vice chairman.
Chris Kaergard covers politics and government. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 686-3255. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisKaergard.