Cowley County Treasurer Kathy Foust has notified local Democratic Party officials she plans to retire and resign from office effective April 1. That gives committee members from her party until mid-March to meet and choose a successor to serve the remaining few months of the term.
In 2008, Foust was elected to a four-year term that will expire at the end of September. Voters, last fall, overwhelmingly chose Republican Maci DeCoudres to fill the position, beginning Oct. 1.
Filling the unexpired term is left to Democrats, because Foust is a member of that party, Cowley County Democratic Chairwoman Sharon L. Gordon said Sunday.
Local Democratic committee-people were last called to vote to replace an office holder in 2005 when state Rep. Judy Showalter died. She was replaced by Ed Trimmer who has since won multiple terms in office.
County administrator Jeremy Willmoth acknowledged his office had received notice of Foust’s plan to retire early, but he declined to comment further.
The announcement puts Democrats on a tight timeframe, Gordon said, because that means they have 21 days to meet and pick a successor. Party members are likely to meet at the Cowley County Courthouse in Winfield.
Ten days notice is required prior to the meeting.
Gordon also would like to round up some more precinct people to add to the 18 already in place. She has a list of people who are interested.
Four years ago, 26 committee people voted on Showalter’s replacement.
It’s been suggested the party name DeCoudres to the office and let her start work early. Gordon would not speculate on what might happen.
“I’ve already heard both sides of the argument,” she said. “The idea to practice good government and appoint Maci. But others say that the voters wanted four years of a Democrat, Kathy, and that we should consider that.”
Gordon said she planned to meet with county election chief Karen Defore this week before making final plans for the meeting of Democrats.
Only the treasurer, by state statute, holds an elected county position that does not end in January every four years. The clerk, sheriff, county attorney and register of deeds have already been sworn into office for new terms.