Baxmeyer elected St. Joseph County Commissioners board president
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - A new president took over for the St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners, just days after being sworn into office.
On Tuesday, Commissioners Dr. Deb Fleming (R-District 3) and Carl Baxmeyer (R-District 1) voted to approve Baxmeyer as president while Commissioner Derek Dieter (R-District 2) was unsuccessful in his bid.
Former Commissioner President Andy Kostielney left the three-member board for a job in the private sector. His final day was August 26th.
During the Tuesday meeting, Dieter asked several questions of Baxmeyer, whom Republicans selected to fill the remainder of Kostielney’s term at a July caucus: “In a matter of three days, what makes you think you can be an effective president of the county commissioners?”
Baxmeyer responded: “I didn’t realize that this was an interrogation, but to respond to your question, many people have taken elected office for the first time.”
Upon being elected to president, Baxmeyer remarked: “I believe in building consensus. I didn’t send out a press release three days ago, four days ago anointing myself as president.”
WNDU received a Dieter-issued press release prior to the Tuesday vote that said, in part: “Commissioner Dieter to be elected president of the St. Joseph County Board of Commissioners Tuesday; to hold press conference after commissioner meeting.”
“I was told by the former president of the commissioners that the support would be there for that. There was other meetings where that was told,” said Dieter. “So the explanation I got today is the Mr. Baxmeyer was having heat from people within the [Republican] Party, who didn’t like me to become the president.”
WNDU contacted Kostielney regarding Dieter’s claim about other commissioners supporting Dieter if he wanted to become president of the St. Joseph County Commissioners.
Kostielney confirmed he had communicated there was support for Dieter but that was at least a couple of weeks ago. The former commissioner added that before making a public statement, officials would be best to reach out to their colleagues on a board, who would vote on decisions like appointing a president.
Dieter said he had learned around 9 a.m. on Tuesday, prior to the board meeting, that Fleming and Baxmeyer would be supporting Baxmeyer as president.
During the meeting, Fleming indicated she did not want to take on the additional responsibilities required of a board president due to “other professional and family obligations.”
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