By Woodrow Polston
Gov. Mike Parson made a historic appointment last month when Leslie Meyer was sworn in on Nov. 15. as Audrain County’s first female commissioner. Meyer has since filled the position that was vacated by the appointment of Alan Winders to presiding commissioner of Audrain County, after Steve Hobs resigned.
“When there is an opening for a position that has been vacated by an elected official, any citizen can go to the website for Missouri boards and commissions, and submit an application for the position,” said Meyer. “The application basically needs an in-depth resume, your personal background information, a biography and a head shot for press release purposes. I went a step further than submitting the necessary requirements. Being taught to really go after a job that you want, I sent a cover letter to the director of the boards and commissions, to express my ambitions and goals for improvements,” she added.
Looking over Meyers’ resume, it’s plain to see why she was picked. Her education background includes Stephens College, where she majored in elementary education, and Central Missouri State University, where she majored in journalism. She is an internationally published photographer, writer, owner and manager of multiple businesses including Leslie A. Meyer Photography, and her family farm. Her community involvement has also been extensive, landing her on many boards and committees, including having been the vice president for St. Brendan’s school board from 2010 to 2013.
“There were a total of six applicants that were interested in the vacant position,” said Meyer. “Several of the applicants that I was familiar with, would have been great commissioners. But ultimately, I received the call, and was asked to submit my fingerprints and tax records for a background check. At that point, I realized that I was on the short list of candidates. So, I reached out to Sen. (Jeanie) Riddle, and Rep. (Kent) Hayden to request letters of support. About a week later, I was informed that the governor was going to appoint me. Only a week after that, I was sworn in at the next commissioners meeting,” she added.
The commissioners serve four-year terms, and they are in chambers Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. But there are many meetings and other obligations that keep them busy outside of regular business hours. Being involved with different boards and engagements, the commissioners are often headed in opposite directions.
“We all three serve on various different boards and committees, which keeps us running to meetings,” said Meyer. “Some counties prefer that their commissioners focus solely on the roads, but Audrain County is progressive in the sense that we try to facilitate and assist in any area that we can. For example, I am going to be serving on the University Extension, representing the commission through that. I am also hoping to be able to serve on an Ag steering and policy committee as well,” she added.
Meyer, acknowledging the many hats that she wears, mentioned that she does well when multitasking. She recalled having been told that she performs best when under the stress of pressure.
She has also done well with her endeavors in photography. In 2019, she was a winner in the ‘Travel Missouri’ photo contest. In 2020, she was a finalist in the Department of Natural Resources photography contest. And in 2021, the Miss America Organization featured a photograph she had taken of reigning Miss Missouri Callie Cox.
Meyer said her principal goal as an Audrain County commissioner, is “to be the kind of commissioner that can be approached by anyone—at any time, and concerning any issue.”
So far she said she’s enjoyed the role of commissioner.
“It’s been great,” she said. “Everyone has been really welcoming, and so nice and helpful. I was really humbled by the amount of elected officials that came to witness my swearing in. Everyone has been so supportive, and the commissioners have really helped me to get up to speed on numerous issues,” she added.