Council expected to appoint one Monday night 6 seek council spot

Saturday, August 1, 2015


Staff Writer

Six people have applied to fill the Poplar Bluff City Council seat vacated this month by the resignation of Dr. Jack Rushin following nepotism charges.

The 10-day period to apply closed Thursday and city council members are expected to act on the matter during Monday's regular meeting.

The person appointed to the position will fill the two years remaining on Rushin's term, which began in April 2014.

Applicants are, in order of application date: Susan McVey, a former city council member defeated in the 2014 election; Jim Chrisman, president of the Poplar Bluff Historic Depot Restoration association; Todd Sittig, an engineer with Mathis and Associates; Jerrica Fox, an employee of First Midwest Bank; Austin Sutton, an employee of Bob Sutton Real Estate and Loans; and Rex Rattler Sr., an employee of Alternative Opportunities.

There are more applicants for Rushin's seat than there were candidates in 2014 for the two council member at large seats that were open at the time. Rushin received the most votes in that four-person race, in which current mayor pro tem David Johnson was also elected.

Johnson and Rushin replaced the two incumbents at the time, which included McVey, who had been on the council nearly a decade.


In her application, McVey writes that she has been a self-employed businesswoman for 29 years. McVey is a State Farm Insurance agent. Her history has given her business experience in both management and public relations, she said.

"As a councilman at large, my objective is to provide the best representation for each constituent," McVey said, promising to be available at all times. "I want to enhance the relationship between citizens and city government. I am very energetic, detail oriented, organized, skilled in public speaking and knowledgeable in city government."

McVey said her goals would be to continue the progress of the city, strengthen cooperation and effective services, and that she would have a proactive agenda.

McVey is married to Terry McVey and has three children, three stepchildren and nine grandchildren. She graduated from Poplar Bluff High School and is a member of First United Methodist Church, Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center's governing board and the Greater Poplar Bluff Area Chamber of Commerce.


Chrisman is retired and has lived in Poplar Bluff for the past 15 years. He has more than 30 years' experience in data processing and computer hardware and software support, according to his application.

Chrisman and his family moved to the Green Forest community in 1947, where his parents ran Green Forest Grocery until 1960. He is a graduate of Poplar Bluff High School and holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from the University of Missouri at Rolla.

Chrisman said he wants to be appointed to provide a fresh look at Poplar Bluff government functions and represent the wishes of the citizens to the best of his ability.

His goals would be to continue redevelopment of the downtown area and street paving activities, as well as budget in a financially sound manner and continue the prudent development of the community.


Sittig moved to Poplar Bluff 25 years ago, after graduating from the University of Missouri-Rolla.

He has served on several city boards, including planning and zoning, the board of adjustments and building standards. Sittig said he has also been active in local churches and with the Boy Scouts.

Sittig believes his varied interaction with the community and social activities make him a good candidate.

"Personal contact with people within varied segments of the community often results in conversations regarding the city, issues that cause concern, issues that have produced good results in the community, and often, very good ideas that would benefit the community," he said.

Sittig holds engineering degrees from Northeast Missouri State University and University of Missouri-Rolla.


Fox is the granddaughter of late Butler County collector Brenda Fox.

Her grandmother instilled in her a sense of duty to give back to the community, Fox said.

"With experience in finance and banking, I can contribute to the council's long-term discussions of prioritizing spending and services of the city, while not losing sight of important programs and institutions that have formed the backbone of our community for many years," Fox wrote.

Fox graduated from Poplar Bluff High School and Three Rivers College, also holding a bachelor's degree in finance from Arkansas State University.


Sutton said in his application he hopes to bring a new eye to old problems, create a more accessible body to rebuild public trust and craft creative policies.

With a public policy degree from Duke University, Sutton said he has learned how to evaluate various government expenditures and has a robust knowledge of finance, accounting and economic principles.

"But most importantly, my education taught me to be a problem-solver," he said. "I aim to evaluate each item brought before the council on its individual merits, and not based on the person presenting the idea, nor the "popularity" of the person's clique."

Sutton believes the top issues of the city are increased opportunities and activities for young people; evaluation of constant city subsidization of under performing enterprises, including the Black River Coliseum and Municipal Utilities; continued coordination of grant opportunities; increased access for citizens, including through meetings with council members; and continued implementation of policies that encourage outside investment.


Rattler believes his goals coincide with the goals of the city, which are to make Poplar Bluff the greatest city in the nation.

"Personally, I plan to present an unbiased agenda based solely on issues that are presented to the council," said Rattler, who also operates Rattler's Grocery on Garfield Street.

Rattler promised to carefully review matters and recommendations of the planning and zoning commission.

Rattler said he served with the planning and zoning commission for the maximum amount of time, and had also worked for Butler County extension, assisting with the annual Ag Expo event and working with Butler County commissioners on more than one issue.

"I just want to be a help to the city where I can!" Rattler wrote.

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