SIDNEY – Three positions in Sidney town government and a vacancy in Jackson Township’s Advisory Board were filled through political appointments Thursday night, Jan. 23.
Swift action by Democrats and Republicans ended a ten-day period in which Sidney’s town government had been left with just one elected official after three resigned earlier in the month.
Thursday night’s appointments – announced at the Sidney Jackson Township fire building – were effective immediately.
Kosciusko County Republican Chairman Mike Ragan appointed Etta Hurd as the new Sidney town clerk-treasurer, replacing Lana Wolfe. Sharon Rancourt was named the new town council member, replacing Rickey Bradley.
Meanwhile, Kosciusko County Democrat Party Chairman Brian Smith appointed Gavin Parrett to fill the vacancy created with the resignation of town councilman Kenneth Koontz, who quit over health issues.
Wolfe and Bradley resigned Jan. 14 after it came to light that neither had been elected or properly appointed to their jobs.
In a related matter, a Republican caucus conducted moments earlier at 6 p.m. led to the appointment of Debbie Wilcoxson to the Jackson Township Advisory Board, replacing Marcia Dierks.
Two precinct committeemen – Josh Spangle and Brian Reed – chose Wilcoxson over Tom Brainard in the two-way race for the township board seat.
The precinct committeemen were divided in their choices in the first round of voting but sided with Wilcoxson in the second round.
In a short speech before the vote, Wilcoxson said she has worked for Zimmer Biomet for 19 years. Before that, she worked for the Whitko school system for 16 years, much of which was spent as a treasurer.
Hurd thanked Ragan and said she hopes to gain the confidence and trust of the community in her role as clerk-treasurer.
Hurd returned to Sidney after retiring in 2014 from a 23-year career in law enforcement in Texas. Much of her work was in what she described as school district policing.
She said she’s looking forward to a new career.
“I think one of the most important things I want to do is to have the communication and the transparency for the citizens here of Sidney. That means a lot to people,” Hurd said.
Rancourt thanked Ragan for his confidence in appointing her.
She said she’s the mother of a young child and that the timing was right.
“This is the perfect time for me to dedicate more time to the community and working together with the board and the community to move forward,” Rancourt said. “That is the goal I’ll be setting.”
Hurd and Rancourt both said afterward that the changes in town leadership represent a new era for Sidney.
Hurd, Rancourt and Parrett will fill out the remaining term, all of which expire Dec. 31, 2023.
Hurd said she would likely serve just one term.
“I’m always for change. I’m for term limitations. I don’t think anyone should be in a position too long. I think it’s always good to have new voices,” she said.
Rancourt said the first step for her will be to become familiar with other town leaders and understand the town’s priorities.
She expressed an eagerness to start learning about the job and also emphasized the importance of transparency.
Parrett, 22, is a recent graduate of Earlham College where he majored in politics.
He said he’s lived in Sidney for eight years.
Parrett said he was concerned when he learned about how people were being removed from office and viewed the town council opening as “an interesting opportunity to get a foot in the door of politics.”
Sidney’s next town council meeting is Feb. 10.