11th public administrator candidate steps forward on eve of filing

Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Mary Ann Friese

When Phyllis Schwab was elected public administrator of Cape Girardeau County 12 years ago, she only ran against two other Republicans and one Democrat.

Her replacement, it seems, will have to fend off at least 10 others to get the job.

The 11th candidate -- Republican Mary Ann Friese -- signaled her intention Monday to join the others who can make their candidacies official starting today with the 8 a.m. opening of the monthlong filing period.

"Who would have thought we could get this kind of response?" Schwab said Monday afternoon.

Schwab pointed to the 2008 county commission race that drew 10 Republicans and three Democrats, the most on one ballot for one position within the last 10 years, according to county records.

"I don't know if that started a new era for us or what," Schwab said. "Everybody was just sitting back in awe that there were that many people who considered it. But here we are again."

Cape Girardeau City Councilwoman Debra Tracy could add to the number. She said last week she would take the weekend to decide whether she wanted to run for the job or for the 147th District House seat being vacated by Rep. Wayne Wallingford.

On Monday, Tracy said she wasn't ready to announce a decision yet and didn't specify when she would do so. If she opts for the House, it would set up a race with fellow council member Kathy Swan, who is also a Republican.

Friese, who lives near Friedheim in northern Cape Girardeau County, pointed to her experience in a broad range of fields over the years, saying that the path her life has taken has prepared her well to serve as public administrator.

Friese and her husband, Kenneth, have been small- business owners since 1979, operating Kenneth W. Friese Inc. Livestock Handling. As co-owner, she is office manager, dispatcher and bookkeeper.

Friese also has experience in probate law, she says, from her past employment as a legal secretary for two Jackson lawyers. She also was the first woman commissioned as police officer for the Perryville Police Department, where she was office manager, maintained evidence files, worked as a meter reader and school crossing guard and worked with juveniles.

She held a real estate license with Heartland Realty in Jackson from 1985 to 1992, listing and selling many properties within the county. She also has worked as an administrative assistant at Procter & Gamble and Southeast Missouri State University.

In 2003, she resigned her university position to care for her mother, who had suffered a disabling stroke the year before. Friese made sure her mother's needs were met physically, emotionally and financially, she said. She coordinated with the nursing home staff, physicians and other family members, she said, drawing a parallel to the public administrator's job.

The public administrator is the court-appointed guardian for the county's roughly 150 residents who have, for various reasons, been deemed unable to care for themselves.

Friese said she also is a person of integrity.

"I am a person of my word," she said. "When I say I am going to do something, I do it. If I didn't believe in my heart and soul I couldn't do this job to the best of my ability, I wouldn't even entertain the idea."

Other candidates who have said they will file for the job include Democrat Mary Cotner and Republicans Helen Jackson, Kim Kelly, Kenny Loos, Julie Metzger, Linda Nash, Janet Niedbalski, Lisa Reitzel, Scott Schnurbusch and Tammy Sladek.



Pertinent address:

1 Barton Square, Jackson, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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