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West County EMS/FPD board back up to full strength

By: Jim Erickson

For the first time in almost a year, the West County EMS and Fire Protection District Board of Directors is back at full strength.

The board achieved that status at its April 20 meeting when David Cobb and Matt Miller took the oath of office, joining Robert Levine on the three-member governing body. Charles Billings, West County’s legal counsel, administered the oath in front of a small group of West County personnel and other onlookers.

Both Cobb and Miller ran for the two seats up for election in voting this month and, because they faced no opposition, the board opted not to go to the expense of having their names placed on the ballot. After the April 7 election, both men were certified as the winners.

West County had been operating with just two directors since last June when then-chairman Richard “Rick” Rognan unexpectedly resigned after serving 15 years on the board. The law permits a fire district board to appoint someone to fill a vacancy but also says the two directors making such an appointment must be elected.

Cobb was appointed by the board in 2013 to fill the position formerly held by Miller who had resigned when he took a new job as principal of Wren Hollow Elementary School in the Parkway School District.

As a result, the remaining alternatives were to ask the Circuit Court to make an appointment or operate with a two-member board until the next election. Cobb and Levine opted for the latter, with Cobb taking over as chairman and Levine serving as both secretary and treasurer.

When the filing period for the April 7 election opened several months ago, Miller submitted his candidacy for the four years remaining on Rognan’s term while Cobb sought election to his first six-year term.

In the board reorganization that followed the swearing in, Cobb was re-elected chairman while Levine and Miller were named secretary and treasurer, respectively.

In other action resulting from the election earlier this month, the board officially received certification of the passage of Proposition F, which asked voter approval to raise the district’s operating fund tax levy by 30 cents per $100 assessed valuation. The measure passed with some 52.7 percent of the ballots cast in favor of it.

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