Officials have now confirmed that a truck fire near Union Star this week claimed the life of an Andrew County Commissioner. Presiding commissioner Larry Atkins says he was notified Wednesday night of the death of John Rotterman, the eastern district commissioner.
Officials with the Missouri State Highway Patrol delayed the announcement after a news release with the wrong name was sent out Thursday. MSHP investigators say there was also a delay in identifying the remains, but that a dental comparison confirms that Mr Rotterman died in the fire. Officials say the pickup truck was found engulfed in flames, near US-169 east of Union Star July 15, with Mr Rotterman inside.
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Presiding Commissioner Atkins says with the two remaining commissioners, they have a quorum, and can legally continue the business of running Andrew County government.
By statute, the clerk of the county commission must now formally certify the vacancy on the board of commissioiners. Once that happens, the governor will decide who to appoint to the bench.
Rotterman began a four-year term in January, and thus had about three and a half years left. But, the governor’s appointments in such cases generally last only until the next general election, which would be next year. Then, an election would be held for a two year term on the county commission bench.
Both the Democratic and Republican parties will submit recommendations for possible replacements until next year. But the choice is entirely up to the governor. The only requirement is that the replacement must reside in the district at the time the vacancy occurs.