Friday, July 25, 2014

School board taps new representative for ORC

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer | 6/13/2014

An Ottawa University employee has been tapped to be the Ottawa school district’s new representative on the Ottawa Recreation Commission board of directors.

The Ottawa school board voted 4-2 Monday night to appoint Brandon Riffel to the position. He will assume the seat vacated by Linda Spencer, who just wrapped up her second, four-year term on the board. Board members are not eligible to serve a third consecutive four-year term. Riffel’s term would run through 2018.

An Ottawa University employee has been tapped to be the Ottawa school district’s new representative on the Ottawa Recreation Commission board of directors.

The Ottawa school board voted 4-2 Monday night to appoint Brandon Riffel to the position. He will assume the seat vacated by Linda Spencer, who just wrapped up her second, four-year term on the board. Board members are not eligible to serve a third consecutive four-year term. Riffel’s term would run through 2018.

Originally from De Soto, Riffel moved to Ottawa a decade ago, he said. Riffel is IT manager, Technical Operations for Ottawa University, 1001 S. Cedar St.

“I consider myself an Ottawan now,” he said. “We love the community, and we bought a house here nine years ago.”

Riffel and his wife, Brooke, have two children, he said. Brooke Riffel also works at Ottawa University as director of Annual Giving and Dome Society.

J.R. Daugherty, a retired school teacher who taught 25 years in the Ottawa district, also was nominated for the post. Daugherty told the school board he grew up in Ottawa and played in ORC sports programs as a youth, in addition to coaching and umpiring in the ORC. He also serves on the City of Ottawa’s Tree Board.

A third candidate, Veronda Mourning, owns the Ottawa Jazzercise Center, 205 S. Main St. Mourning told the board she is active in her church and in ORC programs through her children’s activities.

“I would like to give back to the community,” she said.

Lynda Alderman, school board member, nominated Mourning for the ORC board.

“I’ve been on other boards that have been appointed, and we try to look at the make-up of the board, both age-wise and gender, and ORC board could use a woman’s point of view,” Alderman said of Spencer going off the board. “I think it’s predominately male.”

The other current board members, according to ORC’s website, are Richard Burgoon, Russ Wilson, Dennis Tharp and Mike Finch. Wilson is the school district’s other representative on the board, while Burgoon and Tharp are the City of Ottawa’s representatives on the board and Finch serves in the at-large position.

Dennis George, school board member, nominated Daugherty, citing his experience with ORC and the fact he is retired and would have the time needed to devote to the position.

School board members Bill Allegre and Tim Catlin lent their support to Riffel.

Catlin, Allegre, Susan Ward and David White voted for Riffel, with George and Alderman cast the dissenting votes.

Riffel admitted he had limited knowledge of current ORC procedures but said often boards can benefit from a fresh perspective.

“Since I don’t know the way it worked 20 or 30 yeas ago, I see that as a benefit potentially because I can maybe offer some new insights and new ideas that will help things progres

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