A matchup of two high profile political names who have spent the past few months duking it out for a seat on the Monarch Fire Protection District Board of Directors came to a conclusion Tuesday as voters elected chose Jane Cunningham over Cole McNary for a seat on the three-person panel. In unofficial final results:
Cunningham 5,679 60.02 percent
McNary 3,742 39.55 percent
Write-In 4 1 .43 percent
"This is one of the sweetest wins I've ever had because it was a win of something so direct for the people. This was a fundamental war if you will," for control of the Monarch Fire Protection District board, Cunningham said as a victory party at Mike Duffy's in Town and Country wrapped up late Tuesday.
Cunnigham, who turned to the race after being redistricted out of a seat in the State Senate and then losing a bid to become Chair of the Missouri Republican Party, framed the win as a victory for people looking to reign in the influence of the firefighter's union within the district. "They do not believe that unions should be picking the people that are gonna set their salaries," she said.
"I hope the district continues to make progress," a disappointed McNary, who five months ago lost a statewide bid for Treasurer, told Patch late Tuesday. The district has been beset by drama over the past few years over a proposed tax increase which was pulled off the table, and an employment discrimination lawsuit that ruled against the district in state appeals court.
He said people want high quality service from firefighters operating within the district's financial constraints. McNary said it was unclear what role if any he might play moving forward as a district taxpayer but that he hoped people would take an interest in how the district operates.
Cunningham said her first order of business will be to work with the other board members and recommend an analysis of fire district salaries and benefits to see how they measure up in "apples to apples" comparisons with other departments.
"We want no waste, we want good service and we're willing to pay for it, but we don't want to overpay," Cunningham said of the mandate given by voters Tuesday.