Politics & Government

Skelton leaves Sedgwick County Commission; Howell to be sworn in Sunday

Outgoing Sedgwick County Commissioner Jim Skelton hands a card to Paula Donagan, who served on his District 5 advisory board, so she could stay in touch with him. (Jan. 7, 2015)
Outgoing Sedgwick County Commissioner Jim Skelton hands a card to Paula Donagan, who served on his District 5 advisory board, so she could stay in touch with him. (Jan. 7, 2015) The Wichita Eagle

Jim Skelton bid adieu to his fellow Sedgwick County commissioners on Wednesday but vowed he still would be involved in public service in some capacity.

“You’ve not heard the last of me,” Skelton said.

With his loud voice and wacky mannerisms, Skelton brought a lot of personality to the board. Voters elected him to the county job in 2010, after he served two terms on the Wichita City Council.

Skelton, a Republican, represented District 5, which includes southeast Wichita and Derby. He has said his greatest asset was his willingness to listen to constituents. He prided himself on returning residents’ phone calls and e-mails. He was the only commissioner with a district advisory board.

“It’s been an honor and privilege to serve,” Skelton said at his final meeting.

He stressed that serving in public office “is about everyone else, not yourself.”

Commission Chairman Dave Unruh said Skelton brought an “uninhibited energy” to the board. He wasn’t guarded and “that brought a freshness and openness and honesty that was good for the commission.”

Skelton’s family, including his wife, Stacy, his grandparents and brother, joined a reception for him after the meeting.

Unruh presented Skelton with a crystal clock from the county. The clock sits on an unattached base. When Unruh gave it to Skelton, the clock fell and landed on the floor.

Skelton didn’t miss a beat in announcing the clock didn’t break.

“It takes a licking and keeps on ticking,” he said.

Rep. Jim Howell will be sworn in Sunday as Skelton’s replacement.

Reach Deb Gruver at 316-268-6400 or dgruver@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @SGCountyDeb.

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