WOOD RIVER — Following the unexpected death of Wood River Mayor Fred Ufert on March 25, the City Council has been working to find the missing puzzle pieces at City Hall.
Following the April 7 election, the council held a special session April 9, when councilman Frank Akers was voted in to fulfill Ufert’s term in the mayor’s seat, leaving his council seat vacant.
Akers recommended Tom Stalcup take his place in the council for the next two years and was given the thumbs up by the rest of the council members in the regular meeting Monday. City Clerk Jan Sneed administered the oath of office to Stalcup following the vote.
“I’m ready to get to work,” Stalcup said. “I need to get my feet on the ground and get brought up to speed. The city’s budget has just been completed and I need to see what direction we need to take next. It’s my hope to keep the city growing. With the planning commission, I’ve enjoyed listening to the people. I want them to know I hear their concerns.”
Stalcup, a resident of Wood River for more than 20 years, is the regional sales manager at Prairie Farms Dairy in the ice cream division. He has served on the city’s planning commission for the last four years after being encouraged by Ufert to take a role in Wood River government.
“Tom (Stalcup) has been on the planning commission for the city, a role that’s given him experience in the development of Wood River,” Akers said. “All commission work is important, but the planning commission is a very important role for the city’s agenda and how it develops.”
Akers said chemistry is a vital element in his decision to recommend Stalcup.
“We’re designed to have five council members,” Akers said. “It’s important for the members to have good chemistry, a level of trust and the willingness to work together. I believe he will fit in nicely. I’m impressed with his attitude and his desire to work hard. I feel he will offer good ideas to help the city move forward.”
Councilman Scott Miner rolled out the welcome mat for Stalcup and said he is encouraged with his appointment.
“Councilman Stalcup is committed to the city of Wood River and its betterment,” Miner said. “I am confident that he will serve as a model councilman and will be available and receptive to the needs of the residents. Tom has my support and my full backing.”
Stalcup is an assistant coach for the East Alton-Wood River Oilers softball team and is the grandfather of EA-WR’s prized pitcher Victoria Beachum, a senior who has signed to play Division 1 softball for Southern Illinois University Edwardsville next year.