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Boone County Commissioner Jacob Messer, Ph.D.

MADISON — In the game of musical chairs, one person is always left standing. In Boone County’s game of musical vehicles, participating departments get what they need and the county and its taxpayers are the winners.

Boone County Sheriff Chad Barker brought his vehicle trade scheme to the County Commission, which approved the plan, on April 21.

The sheriff’s department will take possession of a 2011 Ford Expedition currently used by the commission, and will in turn give a 2015 Ford Escape to the commission and a 2014 Ford F-150 pickup to the maintenance department.

“It is 10 years old but it fits our needs,” Barker said about the Expedition, which is classified as a large, full-size sport utility vehicle.

“We can give you a 2015 Ford Escape for your transportation purposes and would also be willing to part with a 2014 Ford F-150 four-door truck that the maintenance department could use.”

Commissioners, who had been using the Expedition for basic transportation, said they thought the Escape, a compact crossover SUV, would fulfill that need.

“I definitely don’t have an issue with that,” Commissioner Brett Kuhn said, immediately showing support for the offer.

Commissioner Jacob Messer, Ph.D., echoed Kuhn’s thoughts on the proposed trade-off.

“I like the idea that we’re not using additional money to buy vehicles and we are utilizing the resources we have, and it is a great idea,” Messer said.

In December, the Boone County Sheriff’s Office ordered two new cruisers for its fleet, replacing vehicles that Chief Deputy Mark Abbott said were tallying high maintenance costs due to high mileage and use.

Sheriff Barker said those cruisers will be taken out of service and the radios and related equipment that are still serviceable will be repurposed within the department.

The Boone County Commission meets on the first Tuesday of each month at 3:30 p.m., the third Tuesday of each month at 3:30 p.m. and the last Tuesday of each month at 5 p.m. at the Boone County Courthouse Annex, third floor. Call 304-369-7303.

Reporter Phil Perry can be reached at or at 304-307-2401.

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