By Jocelyn Pedersen
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Slaughterville has named two new trustees to its board of directors. Both are filling vacated positions and will run for the seats in April.
Curtis Baker, a trustee who was sworn in May 2011, has been elected mayor. By state statutes, town trustees elect the mayor from among themselves, said Marsha Blair, town administrator.
Retired from the U.S. Treasury Department, Baker currently helps homeschool his two youngest children. He said a couple of years ago, some people at church asked him to consider being a trustee and he went to meetings and “liked what I saw and asked to be appointed to a position,” adding that small-town government often goes unnoticed.
“If you don’t pay attention to the legal ads, you don’t really know what’s going on. It’s nice to be a part of that and know what it can do for its citizens. For our small town, it’s keeping things rural and slow and not overdeveloped,” Baker said.
John Koehler is filling the remainder of Bobby Cleveland’s term, which ends later this year. Cleveland stepped down when he was elected as a representative to the state legislature.
Koehler said he would run for election to remain in his new position when the time comes.
By day, Koehler works for U.S. Customs and Border Protection, where he says he’s involved with procurement and contract work, ensuring helicopter and aircraft pilot training. Koehler and his wife, Suzie, moved to Slaughterville in 1989.
A couple of years later, Koehler said he met Blair, who he described as “inspiring. She’s always there, always has the right answer, instead of the correct or proper answer.”
Last year, he learned that a trustee position might be coming open and when the opportunity arose, he agreed and was appointed by the board.
“I’m quite impressed with Slaughterville and its colorful history,” Koehler said. “I like the fact that we have a planning and zoning commission on one side and a board of trustees that seems well informed.”
He added that Blair and the city attorney do the “yeoman’s work” for the town and he said he’s impressed with Slaughterville’s fire department.
“It is the single most important and valuable service that the township of Slaughterville provides for its citizens,” Koehler said about the volunteer fire department.
As for his hopes and dreams for Slaughterville, Koehler said he wants to “preserve the rural lifestyle, to keep local government as small and effective as possible and as responsive and responsible as possible.” He thinks this can be done if everyone does his or her part.
Koehler said he knew he lived in a small community when he found a note in his mailbox from some 4-H members that said their four red cows had gotten out and if he saw them, please call.
Of Koehler and Baker, Blair said, “They seem very conscientious, and I’m looking forward to working with them. They’re doing a great job. I appreciate their dedication and efforts.”
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