Williams named county’s interim sheriff effective on Romanus’ resignation

Unanimous Commission vote follows brief closed session

By Buck Collier, Special Correspondent
Posted 3/11/20

The second-in-command of the Gasconade County Sheriff’s Department will become the county’s top cop later this month when Sheriff John Romanus returns to his former job outside of law …

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Williams named county’s interim sheriff effective on Romanus’ resignation

Unanimous Commission vote follows brief closed session

Posted

The second-in-command of the Gasconade County Sheriff’s Department will become the county’s top cop later this month when Sheriff John Romanus returns to his former job outside of law enforcement.

Chief Deputy Mark Williams last Thursday was named interim sheriff effective March 24, the day after  Romanus resigns the post he was elected to in 2016. Williams’ appointment was announced during the regular weekly session of the County Commission, which was holding its first-Thursday-of-the-month meeting at Owensville City Hall.

Williams, a resident of Phelps County, will not be a candidate looking to succeed Romanus in the sheriff’s post. That means that for the second election in a row, Gasconade County voters will be filling the office with someone from outside the department. As of the end of the second week of filing, two hopefuls — both Republican — had committed to seeking the office.

Scott Eiler, a member of the Hermann Police Department, and Shawn Mayberry, a former sergeant in the Hermann Police Department and now with the Warren County Sheriff's Department, are looking to lead the county's police agency.

In announcing Williams’ appointment, Presiding Commissioner Larry Miskel, R-Hermann, said the office will remain under Williams’ leadership until after the General Election in November. Absent a Democrat filing for the sheriff’s post, there was some speculation that a new sheriff might be named after the August Primary Election. However, Miskel said such a move would be premature, in that a new officeholder isn’t selected until the General Election. “Once the election is certified, we’ll probably appoint the winner,” the presiding commissioner said.

Appointing the new sheriff after the General Election will allow him to get a head start in the job by finishing the final two months of Romanus’ term. The new term begins Jan. 1.

Southern District Associate Commissioner Jerry Lairmore, R-Owensville, said the fact that Williams can’t run for the office made his selection a bit easier. “It takes politics out of it,” Lairmore said.

Northern District Associate Commissioner Jim Holland, R-Hermann, said he feels Williams will easily fit into the department's top administrative office. “I think it's going to be a good match,” he said. “He comes highly qualified.”

Both Romanus and Williams met with Commissioners in the March 5 closed session for three minutes. Commissioners excused both men and continued their closed-door discussion for a couple more minutes. They returned to a brief open session and voted 3-0 to appoint Williams as the county’s interim sheriff.

In other matters Thursday morning, County Clerk Lesa Lietzow said the county has received its first bill from Callabyte, county government's new Internet service — even though county officials still can’t use the new service. The bill for February, March and April arrived before an outside computer technician — the Courthouse does not have an IT person — could make the switch from CenturyLink to Callabyte. While officials await that change, Lietzow said her office is researching how to divvy Callabyte’s quarterly bill among the various county offices. Now, there are several different providers serving the different offices, each sending a bill.

Miskel noted that the regularly scheduled inspection of county bridges was ending for this round. The county is responsible for maintaining 72 bridges.

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