March 3, 2024 Local Stories in and Around St. Joseph, Illinois

Process for filling vacant trustee position up to the mayor


How a vacant trustee position is filled is up to the mayor’s discretion, said Mayor Tami Fruhling-Voges.

Fruhling-Voges had seven candidates to choose from for the open village trustee position after Jeff Van Buskirk recently turned in his resignation.


Fruhling-Voges appointed Tammy Vallee to fill the open position at the last board meeting.


Fruhling-Voges said three of the candidates removed themselves from consideration after deciding the timing wasn’t right for them.


Another candidate, Steve Peters, was appointed to serve on the Planning and Zoning Board.


Fruhling-Voges said when speaking to a candidate she first asks why they are interested in serving on the board and tries to see if they have an agenda.


“I always hope to get people who are genuinely interested in serving the community as a whole and not just wanting to get on the board because they have an ax to grind,” she said. “I also liked the idea of having another female on the board.  Women sometimes bring different ideas to the table than the men and we also occasionally have a different perspective when discussing things.”


Fruhling-Voges said each candidate would have been a great addition to the board but Vallee’s personality and involvement in the community through the years with a variety of activities showed that she truly was committed to the community. 


“I feel very good about appointing Tammy Vallee,” Fruhling-Voges said.

Fruhling-Voges said she thought planning and zoning would be a good place for Peters to get involved.


“It’s a good position to be in if he wants to run for a position on the board in the future,” Fruhling-Voges said.

Fruhling-Voges said there were several people who had concerns with her appointing Peters to the fuill board while his father, Mike Peters, was employed as Public Works Director.


“I think Steve would make a great board member and if he chooses to run and the voters elect him knowing that his dad is an employee, that will be up to the voters,” she said.

 The actual process to appoint a new village trustee to fill a vacancy is determined by the village president, Fruhling-Voges said.

Former Mayor B.J. Hackler had the Republican Caucus Committee suggest candidates, which he then interviewed and suggested the board as a whole. Fruhling-Voges decided to go about things differently.

Fruhling-Voges said there is only one requirement for appointment that a mayor must follow—
The new trustee must be from the same political party as the person being replaced.


“Even if there was a Republican that ran at the caucus and wasn’t placed on the ballot, there is no obligation that person would be appointed unless the village president made that decision,” Fruhling-Voges said.


Fruhling-Voges said she consulted with Village Trustee Terri Cummings during the process.

“I like the idea of bouncing ideas off another person,” Fruhling-Voges said.


Fruhling-Voges said the open board position does not have to be posted.

“Once it was made public that Jeff Van Buskirk was leaving, usually that is all that is needed to let the public know that there is an opening,” she said. “Making the appointment weighed heavy on my mind all summer because I wanted to get it right.”

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