Scott County presiding commissioner candidates square off amid lawsuit

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

BENTON, Mo. — Scott County Presiding Commissioner Jamie Burger views unfunded state and federal mandates as the county’s biggest challenge. Challenger Jim Glueck wants to make county government “more accessible” to the public.

But while they don’t run the Scott County Sheriff’s Department, the two candidates are being drawn into a legal battle involving Sheriff Wes Drury. The county government and the sheriff’s department also are named in a lawsuit claiming the defendants created a hostile work environment and discriminated against a female deputy.

Burger and Glueck have voiced support for Drury.

But Glueck, a Republican from Kelso, Missouri, added he would favor an investigation “to prove or disprove the allegations.”

Both candidates in the November election race commented on the matter in emailed responses to a Southeast Missourian candidates’ questionnaire.

“I believe that Wes is doing a good job. I am not concerned about the sheriff’s department and the way that it is run in general,” Glueck said.

But he said he also believes in “a safe and secure workplace environment and no one should be discriminated against or harassed in any way at their job.”

Glueck said an effort should be made to build confidence in the sheriff’s office.

The suit, filed last month in Scott County Circuit Court by deputy Tina Kolwyck, accuses Drury of violating the Missouri Human Rights Act by removing her from her position as jail administrator and replacing her with a male deputy in his 20s who had no previous experience in jail administration.

Burger, the Democratic presiding commissioner from Benton, Missouri, defended Drury in a one-sentence statement.

“I have unwavering confidence in Sheriff Drury’s ability and dedication to manage Scott County law enforcement,” he said.

Burger has served on the county commission since 2001, first as second-district commissioner and since 2007 as presiding commissioner. The latter position carries a salary of $43,452.

He said voters should re-elect him because he has the “experience and knowledge of the responsibilities of the commission. I pride myself on honesty, integrity and always keep the county’s best interest first.”

But Glueck, a mechanic and farmer, suggested a change is needed in county government. A lifelong resident of Scott County, Glueck said, “I have watched from the sidelines how favors are done for individuals in this county, and I don’t think it is fair. Everyone should be represented by the county commissioner, not just a select few.”

Glueck said he wants to give “everyone an equal voice in this county.”

Burger said it is a challenge for county government to budget for “unfunded mandates bestowed on us by the State of Missouri and/or the federal government.”

Glueck said he wants to make county offices “more accessible to everyone who is in need and that has questions.”

He wrote several county offices won’t give people “time to voice their concerns or address their problems. This is unacceptable.”

Burger, who has worked for a cement manufacturing company for 35 years, said he would “continue to promote efficiency in county government” if re-elected.

Burger wants to upgrade the county’s roads and bridges, improve drainage and “expand the footprint” of public water supply districts.

“These things will entice people to stay in Scott County or move to our county, boosting our revenue through population growth,” he said.

Glueck said he would like to attract more industry to Scott County by offering incentives to such businesses.

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