Chairman Shelstad announces special meeting to select new county commissioner

Commission Chairman Del Shelstad stands with constituents in December 2020 as they protest a series of health orders during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Ryan Lewallen/County 17)

The Campbell County Commissioners have called for a special meeting next Thursday to decide who will fill a vacancy on their board, the county announced Wednesday.

In a notice posted on Jan. 19, Chairman Del Shelstad called for a special meeting to be held next week, Jan. 27, at 5:30 p.m. at the Campbell County Courthouse “for the purpose of filling the vacancy in the Office of County Commissioners.”

The board is comprised of five seats, one of which was left vacant earlier this month following the sudden resignation of DG Reardon from his role as a county commissioner.

Since then, the Campbell County Republican Party Central Committee has put forth three candidates- Jim Ford, Traci Barkey, and Don Hamm- to take over Reardon’s spot, each of them selected from a pool of nine applicants on Jan. 18.

At that point, the commissioners had 20 days to decide who among the final three would join them on the board. With the special meeting notice, however, the commissioners have indicated their willingness to finalize their decision weeks ahead of that deadline.

Should the commissioners make their selection from the three candidates on Jan. 27, however, whoever is chosen will occupy a seat that expires this year, as do the seats for Campbell County Commissioners Bob Maul and Rusty Bell, which means that candidate will need to run in the fall 2022 election to maintain their seat for a full, four-year term.

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But if the commissioners fail to select one of the three GOP candidates, any qualified elector in the county could request that the decision goes before a district judge.

Reardon’s resignation came in the form of a letter to the board that was announced on Jan. 5. After serving as a commissioner for three years, Reardon said his resignation was based on his family moving to another community to pursue their careers and a decision made by his wife and himself to follow them.

“I’m proud of what the Board of Commissioners has been able to accomplish in one of the most trying times in Campbell County history, or at least in the last couple of generations,” the letter said. “I will forever have Campbell County in my heart and soul as I venture off into the next chapter of my life.”

Reardon had previously been elected to the board in 2018 and, during his time as a commissioner, served as board chairman during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, a tough job according to Shelstad.

“He was tasked with trying to keep order not only in this commission, but in our community,” Shelstad said of Reardon’s resignation earlier this month, adding that he did a great job.