Riddle: area state employees should serve on fire district boards

A Holts Summit fire district board member took an extra class a few years ago “to help improve everything in their district,” state Rep. Jeanie Riddle, R-Mokane, told a Senate committee Wednesday.

And one of the things he learned was, as a state employee, he wasn’t supposed to be serving on that board.

So Riddle wants the Senate to join the House in passing a bill allowing Callaway, Cole and Boone counties to be exempt from the law that prohibits state employees from serving on those boards.

“We have a large number of state employees who reside in these three counties,” she said.

Riddle also told the Senate’s Jobs, Economic Development and Local Government Committee, that most of the state is exempt from the law, including members of the military, public school employees, public notaries and people whose districts “are wholly located in second-, third- and fourth-class counties — and, even some first-class counties.”

Cole and Boone counties are first-class counties under Missouri law, while Callaway County is a second-class county.

State Reps. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City; Chris Kelly, D-Columbia; and Dave Hinson, R-St. Clair, are co-sponsors of the bill, which the House passed March 27 on a 147-8 vote.

The law last was changed in 1991, online records show.

Riddle said it took Holts Summit fire officials 11⁄2 years to replace the unnamed director who had to resign, “because there are so many state employees” in the community who can’t serve under the current law.

“The district would like to have this individual back,” she said, if the law can be changed.

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