Peters won’t take college board seat

Iola City Councilman Mark Peters was elected to retain his seat, and won a write-in campaign for the Allen Community College Board of Trustees. But after questions over whether it is a conflict of interest, he decided not to serve on the college board.



November 23, 2021 - 10:14 AM

Iola City Councilman Mark Peters will not attempt to simultaneously hold a seat on the Allen Community College Board of Trustees.

Peters told the Register after Monday’s Council meeting that he will decline the seat for the college.

Peters was overwhelmingly re-elected to his Council seat earlier this month, while also receiving the most write-in votes for a college board vacancy.

County Clerk Sherrie Riebel noted when the votes were canvassed Nov. 9 that an attorney general’s opinion issued in 2002 said being a part of two elective bodies was improper, citing potential conflicts of interest.

However, other communities have had such elected representatives.

Kevin Berthot, for example, has served multiple terms on both the Chanute City Commission and Neosho County Community College Trustees Board. And Moran has two council members also on the Marmaton Valley Board of Education.

Nevertheless, Peters said he’s not interested in causing a ruckus, particularly after learning after the election that other write-in candidates had expressed an interest in the seat.

Peters’s decision leaves the remaining ACC trustees with the responsibility of finding and appointing a new board member in January, once the current trustees’ terms come to an end.

IN A related matter, Iolan Joelle Shallah said Monday she would be willing to serve on the Iola City Council when the governing body’s makeup is changed in January.

Councilman Steve French, who serves in Ward 4 (along with Peters) will relinquish his Council seat because he was voted in as Iola’s next mayor.

Outgoing Mayor Jon Wells said the pending vacancy will be advertised in January, once French is sworn in as the next mayor, welcoming Shallah and anyone else in Ward 4 to let their interest be known by filing applications. 

French is tasked with appointing his replacement, subject to the approval of the rest of the Council.

Shallah has lived in Iola for 28 years and owns Bella Donna Salon.

“My husband and I are very committed to the community,” Shallah said. “Iola has much to offer.”