Politics & Government

Skelton will be next Sedgwick County Commission chairman

Jim Skelton will lead the Sedgwick County Commission this year after his fellow board members voted unanimously to make him the new chairman.

Skelton, a former Wichita City Council member and a Republican, said he looked forward to the challenge. He previously was vice chair.

Commissioner Karl Peterjohn nominated Commissioner Richard Ranzau as vice chairman, but that measure failed with Skelton, outgoing chairman Tim Norton and Commissioner Dave Unruh voting for Unruh, who served as chairman last year. Norton is the lone Democrat on the commission.

The voting got a bit awkward because the clerk asked commissioners for their vote on whether to make Unruh vice chair, which was the first motion. Peterjohn hedged, not wanting to vote against his colleague but for Ranzau. He declined to say “yay” or “nay” and simply reiterated that he would support Ranzau for vice chair.

Ranzau did the same.

Peterjohn noted that Ranzau was the only board member who hadn’t yet served as vice chairman or chairman.

Later, Ranzau joked that “I don’t take it personally. I was Boehnerized,” alluding to U.S. House Speaker John Boehner removing Republican Rep. Tim Huelskamp from the House Agriculture Committee.

“You know, keeping the conservatives out of positions of authority,” Ranzau said, emphasizing that he was kidding.