HANCOCK COUNTY — The Hancock County Republican Party will take a special vote next month to fill openings on the city and county council.

Two government boards have vacancies; the District 1 county council seat opened when councilman John Jessup was elected commissioner, and the District 3 Greenfield City Council seat was left vacant after John Patton’s death earlier this month.

The Republican Party will convene a public caucus Jan. 10 to vote on a successor for both Jessup, whose term extends through 2018, and Patton, who was due to hold office through 2019.

Jessup was elected to the Hancock County Board of Commissioners in November and must give up his seat on the council to assume his new post.

Patton, who was re-elected to the city council in November 2015, died unexpectedly Dec. 12 following an illness.

Three Greenfield District 3 precinct committeemen will select Patton’s successor, while 12 precinct committeemen will choose Jessup’s, said Republican Party Chair Janice Silvey.

Prospective candidates, who must live in the former officeholder’s district, have until 7 p.m. Jan. 7 to file necessary paperwork with Silvey to run in the caucus, which is open to the public, she said.

Several people have told Silvey they’re interested in the positions, but so far, only two have filed the necessary paperwork to be considered, she said.

Jeannine Gray, who has served on the Hancock County Plan Commission since 2003, is running for Jessup’s seat, and Keely Butrum, a local financial adviser, has filed to run for Patton’s seat.

Gray, who works for Stillinger Family Funeral Home, unsuccessfully ran for the District 1 county council seat in 2014, losing to Jessup.

Gray said she’s always wanted to hold office, and the time is now right with an open seat on the board. She’s enjoyed her time on the plan commission and hopes to bring her experience dealing with the county’s growth to the council.

“I like to be part of how our county grows and the direction it takes,” she said. “The county council is the purse strings to our county’s growth.”

Butrum, a financial planner for Raymond James and Associates, is involved in various community organizations, including Leadership Hancock County, Love In the Name of Christ and Brandywine Creek Farms. She also served as a board member for the Greenfield Area Chamber of Commerce.

If elected, she’ll be able to use skills gained from those experiences to help lead the city, she said.

Butrum’s considered running for office the past few years and had talked with Patton about following in his footsteps to lead District 3 after his eventual retirement, she said.

His sudden death set that plan into motion sooner than expected, she said, but she feels ready to represent her district and carry on Patton’s work.

The caucus will be held at the Hancock County Courthouse Annex, 111 American Legion Place. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. The first election begins at 7 p.m. Both newly elected officials will be sworn in that evening, as the county council and city council hold their first meetings of the year Jan. 11, Silvey said.

If you go

The Hancock County Republican Party will hold a special meeting Jan. 10 to elect office holders to fill two vacancies on government boards.

The party is searching for a successor for John Jessup’s District 1 county council seat and for the District 3 Greenfield City Council seat left vacant after John Patton’s death this month.

The caucus begins at 7 p.m. at the Hancock County Courthouse Annex, 111 American Legion Place, and is open to the public.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Author photo
Samm Quinn is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3275 or squinn@greenfieldreporter.com.