PAXTON — The only Ford County Board member to lose his 2012 re-election bid has won his seat back when the board's longest-serving member unexpectedly resigned.
Tom McQuinn of rural Paxton, whose first four-year term expired 10 days earlier, was sworn in and seated as a District 1 board member for the next two years. Minutes earlier, the board voted 12-0 to "regretfully" accept the resignation of Richard Hewerdine of Paxton, who was starting his 29th year on the board.
In his resignation letter, Hewerdine, 77, cited "family health concerns" that have escalated recently and become "the highest priority in my life."
"I feel that I would not be able to give consideration to the needs of the position I have been elected to on the county board," Hewerdine said in the letter, read to the board by Chairman Rick Bowen. "I deeply regret this action that has to be taken at this time, but I feel family must come first."
Hewerdine had missed a couple of board meetings in recent months after telling Bowen in August that he was starting to have concerns about the time he could devote to the job, Bowen said.
On Monday, Bowen appointed McQuinn to fill the first two years of Hewerdine's term — the maximum term length permitted for an appointment under state law. The board then voted 9-2 to accept the appointment, with members Dave Hastings of rural Paxton and Tim Nuss of rural Roberts voting no.