Dean Black resigns as county board chairman

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By Rich Bauer, Managing Editor

The man who has represented the St. Elmo area on the Fayette County Board for close to a decade and served as its chairman for the past five years has resigned because he has moved from that area.

Dean Black announced his resignation at the end of Tuesdays county board meeting, saying that he and his wife, Elloise, have moved from St. Elmo to Vandalia.

I just hope that something Ive done as chairman has helped the county and the residents of the county, said Black.

During his tenure, Black who also served as the boards vice chairman for two years has served as the boards leader as the county sold its coal rights for more than $5 million.

He also represented the county several years ago in the successful fight to keep Vandalia Correctional Center open.

After Black announced his resignation, Vice Chairman Lee Schaal conducted an election to select the new board chairman.

District 3 representative Steve Knebel of Vandalia was unanimously chosen to become the new chairman.

Knebel, a Republican, is in his seventh year on the board, and has served as chairman of the boards purchase/printing, insurance/personnel and sheriffs committees. He has also served on the economic development and judicial committees.

An Illinois State Police officer working in the agencys commercial vehicle section, Knebel said he agreed to consider taking the chairmans seat after being approached by several individuals.

It takes a lot of time to do the job right, and I hope I can do it justice, Knebel said, adding that he agreed to consider the position after hearing other board members say that they will help him with the workload.

Knebel is up for re-election next year and said that he plans to run again.

It is the time commitment required of the chairman that caused Black to ask the board to consider a pay increase for the position.

The board chairman currently receives $200 a month, and Black said he would like to see the board consider a stipend of up to $500 a month.

In addition to picking a new chairman, the board had to select a new District 7 representative. Because Black is a Republican, his successor also has to be a member of that party.

The appointment of Troy Pattillo of St. Elmo was unanimously approved.

Pattillo is running for the District 7 seat next year. Also on the ballot in that district is Green Party candidate Don Crawford.