October 15, 2009

Governor Appoints Harris to Fill Presiding Commissioner Vacancy

For the first time in more than 23 years, someone other than Mike Stephenson will gavel a meeting of the Scotland County Commission into session as the presiding commissioner.

On October 8, 2009, Governor Jay Nixon appointed Charles E. Chipper Harris Jr., of Memphis, as presiding commissioner for Scotland County. The position became vacant upon the resignation of Mike Stephenson.

Stephenson announced his resignation on August 10th with his last day in office declared as September 30th.

Harris, age 62, is the manager and vice president of Harris Motor Company in Memphis. He is a former member of the Scotland County R-I school board, has served on several municipal boards, and served on the Northeast Missouri Advisory Council to the Missouri Board of Health. Harris has been active in several community and civic groups in Memphis and Scotland County, including Rotary, Jaycees and Little League.

Chipper Harris has taken an active leadership role in Memphis and Scotland County for decades, Governor Nixon said. The people of this area know and respect him, and I am confident he will serve them well as their presiding commissioner.

Following Stephensons announcement, the Governors office accepted nominations for the appointment.

Mr. Harris and one other candidate were interviewed by the Governors staff as part of the selection process, said Scott Holste, press secretary for the governor. In addition to the candidate interviews, consideration for the final decision by the Governor was given to the qualifications presented by the candidates themselves and by those submitting letters of support on their behalf.

Harris was the recommended candidate of the Scotland County Democratic Committee. The Scotland County Republican Committee did not submit an official recommendation. According to Holste, there were other candidates who submitted their names directly to the governors office for consideration for the presiding commissioner position.

Harris had previously sought the eastern district commissioner seat in 2008. The Democrat lost to current commissioner, Republican Denis Clatt by a final tally of 682 votes to 408 votes.

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