SHERIDAN — Twenty-eight positions are up for re-election this year in Wyoming and Sheridan County, from U.S. officials down to outlying Sheridan County community council members. Of those 28 positions, 12 current position holders have either announced they will not seek re-election or have not filed for the upcoming primary elections.
The 12 people holding those positions combine for 146 years of experience in government.
The potential for change may bring worry. In the clerk of district court office, Nickie Arney’s retirement after 12 years in the position does just that.
Arney’s staff raised concerns about her vacating the position and bringing in someone who might bring unwanted change.
“Whoever comes in may do some things the same and some things differently because of their personality, but it’s going to be OK,” Arney said. “It’s going to work out the way it should work out.”
For positions like Arney’s, experience is helpful but not always required.
Arney worked as a paralegal for 25 years before deciding to run for the position of clerk of district court. The clerk before Arney worked her way up through the office and eventually was elected into the position.
Arney’s main reason for running was nobody else in her office wanted to run at the time.
Again this year, employees in her office did not feel equipped to fill her position. Two outside candidates have filed for the primary election.
For Arney, having the legal background helped her transition into the position, but it was still a difficult learning curve.
“The first year was pretty tough,” Arney said. “The court was great, but when you tackle something new, even if you have a background, you feel incompetent at first. It’s very humbling in the beginning.”
Arney said for most vacating personnel, they feel it’s just time to go.
“It’s just the right time, it’s the time to do it,” Arney said. “We just keep moving on.”
Working alongside Arney in the courtroom is another long-standing official, Sheridan County Attorney Matt Redle. Redle will not seek re-election after putting in 32 years. He said in an earlier interview with The Sheridan Press that he hopes the future incumbent will do things differently than what he had done.
“I hope whoever ends up following will be willing to break away from things that I’ve done and do other things, make their own judgements,” Redle said. “And I hope they’re thoughtful about it.”
Each vacated position brings with it a loss of experience and concerns for continuity, but it also brings a chance to embrace change.