Two women hope to bring their unique qualifications to bear next year on the post of Gasconade County Public Administrator.
Kathy Meyer and Kelly "Brehe" Thomas, both Republicans, are competing in the Aug. 4 primary race to become the county's next public administrator. The winner of the primary will replace Fay Owsley, who is retiring from the office. Public administrators serve as court-appointed personal representatives in decedent's estates, and as guardians and/or conservators for individuals who are unable to care for themselves or their property when there is no one else to serve, according to the Missouri Association of Public Administrators.
Meyer was an owner and operator of the Hardee's restaurant in Hermann for 20 years, and has 20 years of service in health care. She has also worked with the Gasconade County R-1 (Hermann) School District as an administrative secretary. She had worked as the county's public administrator from January 1996 to December 1999, saying she left the office in order to run Hardee's.
Thomas resides in a home where she has cared for the physical needs and financial accounts of her parents for 13 years. She said she has been performing duties similar to those of a public administrator for two elderly gentleman for the past two years. She has managed multiple farm and not-for-profit organizational accounts that include 4-H clubs/councils and Project Graduation. She also has more than 20 years of experience running her own business, and over 20 years managing her father's auction service.
Meyer said the job of public administrator requires an understanding of the compassionate servant's heart. She regards the duties associated with the public administrator's position just as she does the relationships she has with her grandchildren: as being individual, with varying interests and characteristics.
"The public administrator, in my personal opinion, should exemplify this grandparent analogy and be adaptive and humble, while leading with servitude for each individual client in his/her care," she said. "This person must be considerate of each client as an individual and not presume that all should be treated in the same manner."
Recordkeeping and an ability to work with entities such as hospitals and long-term care facilities are required by the office, said Meyer, who added the public administrator's job is 24/7. She said the position typically handles from 35 to 40 client cases annually.
Thomas said she inquired about the public administrator's position before making her decision to seek the office. She has a degree in accounting.
"I feel I have that experience," she said. "The majority of it is taking care of someone who has no one to care for them….I've been around the block….I feel like that's where those qualifications fold in."
The job, Thomas continued, could continue to increase, given Gasconade County's aging population.