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Schmeidler picked as new county clerk
She will replace the retiring Donna Zimmerman
bev schmeidler
Holding her grandson Mack, Deputy Assistant Barton County Clerk Bev Schmeidler addresses the Barton County Republican Committee at the courthouse Thursday night prior to being picked as the new county clerk. She will replace the retiring Donna Zimmerman. - photo by Dale Hogg

Deputy Assistant Barton County Clerk Bev Schmeidler will be the new Barton County clerk, replacing the longtime Clerk Donna Zimmerman who retires as of the end of the year.

The selection came Thursday night as members of the Barton County Republican Committee met in a convention at the main courthouse courtroom to pick the replacement. The night included an introduction and nomination of Schmeidler by Mike Patton with the county Road and Bridge Department.

She was the only candidate nominated for the post. The voting was done by secret ballot. 

“She has spent 31 years with the county, eight in the clerk’s office,” Patton said. “She has been deputy clerk and has the training to be county clerk.”

Schmeidler first spent six years in Communications, then spent time in the County Attorney’s Office and Records Department before moving to work with Zimmerman.

“It’s our office family,” Schmeidler said. “We like to keep it the same as much as possible.”

She spoke, holding her grandson Mack in her arms. The boy was not content sitting with his parents Dallas and Anna Schmeidler in the audience.

“We hate to see Donna go,” she said. But they understand her desire to spend more time with her real family.

Schmeidler’s husband Jim is a battalion chief for the Great Bend Fire Department.

The process

According to the state statutes, once a mid-term retirement or resignation announcement is made to the County Clerk’s Office, it is forwarded to the appropriate political party chairperson, in this case Barton County Republican Party Chairman Dick Friedeman. Then, there is a 21-day deadline to convene a convention of the county’s precinct committee members from the party of official leaving, Republican in this case. 

But, the announcement of this convention had to be made within 10 days.

The name of the person picked Thursday night will be submitted to by Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly, who has seven days to finalize the appointment. If no action is taken, the person automatically assumes the post.

This is a countywide convention, and included all committee members. There are currently 43 precinct committee members with 15 being a quorum for such a convention, Friedeman said. There were about that many present Thursday evening.

Zimmerman has three years left on her term. But, due the timing of her retirement, should Schmeidler wish seek a full term, she would have to file for the midterm election next fall.

A long tenure

Zimmerman is retiring from the post she’s held since 1995. Her retirement will be effective Jan. 1, 2022. 

“It’s my time,” Zimmerman said. Yet, there is a tinge of melancholy as she sees the staff being excited about the future and knowing she won’t be a part of it.

She started her county service in December 1981 working in the Treasurer’s Office, moving to the Clerk’s Office in 1983. She was appointed clerk by then Governor Bill Graves 26 years ago. 

“I’ve worked with Donna for years and years and years,” Friedeman said. Election law keeps getting more complicated and Zimmerman has had to keep on top of the changes.

“I appreciate all of her efforts over the years,” he said. All matters have been “handled well and honestly.”

Those gathered offered a round of applause for Zimmerman.

bev schmeidler and donna zimmerman
Deputy Assistant Barton County Clerk Bev Schmeidler chats with County Clerk Donna Zimmerman at the courthouse Thursday night before the start of a county Republican convention called to name a replacement for Zimmerman, who is retiring at year’s end. Schmeidler was selected to take the post. - photo by DALE HOGG Great Bend Tribune