Karl Peterjohn is new chairman of Sedgwick Co. Commission

During his freshman year on the Sedgwick County Commission, Karl Peterjohn mentioned at most meetings that he was the newest member on the board.

Now, beginning his second year, he is the chairman.

Commissioner Gwen Welshimer nominated Peterjohn for the post Wednesday, and Kelly Parks seconded the nomination. Peterjohn, a Republican, won unanimously. Commissioner Tim Norton was absent.

Peterjohn won election in November 2008, taking over the seat previously held by Tom Winters.

His presence on the board has had a big impact because Winters, Norton and commissioner Dave Unruh often voted together, with Parks and Welshimer on the other side.

When votes now are split, it's typically Peterjohn __ former director of the Kansas Taxpayers Network __ who decides the fate of an issue.

As chairman, Peterjohn will lead the commission's weekly Tuesday meeting with staff as well as board meetings on Wednesdays.

Welshimer will continue to serve as chairman pro tem, which means she will lead meetings in Peterjohn's absence.

Welshimer presented Parks with a plaque for his service last year as chairman.