'Relaxed' Sims, Hagmeier elected to six-year JWCC board terms

Jerry Hagmeier, left, and Randy Sims
Posted: Apr. 9, 2013 11:46 pm Updated: May. 1, 2013 1:15 am

Herald-Whig Staff Writer

Both Randy Sims and Jerry Hagmeier spent relaxing Tuesday evenings waiting to find out if they had seats on the John Wood Community College Board of Trustees. Sims watched a movie, Hagmeier watched the Chicago Cubs.

Their laid-back approaches to Election Night proved to be the way to go.

Sims, who was elected to a second term and is currently serving as board president, earned 11,881 votes, and Hagmeier garnered 9,837 to claim the two available spots in a three-man race. Each earned a six-year term. Rich Marcolla was third with 8,382 votes.

The easygoing manner for both Sims and Hagmeier ended, however, when they began talking about the next six years.

"Some of the issues that are coming up for the board will be gut-wrenching," Sims said.

The ongoing funding deficiencies from the state that continue to make balancing a budget difficult are first and foremost among the problem areas that Sims and Hagmeier want to address. Potential cutbacks in programs — and even staff — may be issues down the road.

Sims, a livestock and grain farmer who lives in Liberty, says the board will need to make a special effort to be "open with the public" and stay in "communication with the taxpayers" in the coming years. He said many of the hot topics connected with the college will be discussed at an April 17 board retreat.

"We have to keep the kids No. 1," Sims said.

Hagmeier, 73, also was elected to a second term after serving from 2005-11. He said he learned the importance of the group concept during his first term.

"We have to work as a team, not just one individual by himself," Hagmeier said.

Hagmeier, a former instructor at JWCC who lives in Quincy, is concerned about the possibility of future staff cutbacks at JWCC, which would ultimately affect the instructor-to-student ratio.

"John Wood has always been good about its smaller class sizes and not having any 50- to 100-student classes," he said.

Marcolla, 45, lives in Quincy and is a resident director with Merrill Lynch. He was a first-time challenger.

The JWCC board consists of seven trustees elected at-large from Illinois Community College District 539, which includes all of Adams, Brown and Pike Counties, plus portions of Hancock, Calhoun, Schuyler, Morgan, Scott and Cass counties.