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Council picks former BKD partner for vacant seat

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The second time was the charm this year for Andrew Lear, who in March was passed over for a spot on Springfield City Council.

Council yesterday interviewed seven finalists, and Lear came away with the vacant General Seat C left empty last month by Kristi Fulnecky, according to a news release. Fulnecky resigned when she moved her primary residence to Nixa.

Lear in the spring put his hat in the ring for the Zone 4 spot vacated by Craig Fishel, who’s running on the Nov. 6 ballot for the 136th District seat in the Missouri House of Representatives. Council chose Matthew Simpson, Ozarks Technical Community College’s director of research, strategic planning and grant development for the post.

A retired partner at BKD LLP, Lear was the only finalist yesterday to receive the required five votes to make him the the city’s next councilman. Finalists AJ Exner, sales and marketing representative for Dynamic DNA Labs, received two votes, and Theresa Martin, community volunteer for Rescue One and the Mayor’s Commission on Human Rights, received one vote.

The other finalists, in alphabetical order, were:
    •    Amy Champlin, participant in the Citizens Police Academy Alumni group;
    •    Kevin Evans, professor of geology at Missouri State University;
    •    Natalie McGuire, former sales representative for Quintiles Pharmaceutical/Sanofi; and
    •    Charles Pettijohn, retired associate professor of marketing at Drury University.

Lear, who retired from BKD in 2014 after working at the certified public accounting firm for 35 years, also has civic experience serving as the initial chairman of the Springfield-Greene County Civility Project. He’s been involved with the Ozarks Regional YMCA, the Developmental Center of the Ozarks, the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce and the Springfield Business Development Corp., according to his resume presented to council.

“I’m really grateful to have the opportunity to work in whatever way I can to help the city reach its potential. This is my lifelong home and I would like to see it continue to thrive for the next generation,” Lear said in the release.

Lear was tapped to serve as a councilman through the April 2019 election, when voters also will decide on the mayor and four other council seats.

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