The county of St. Francis is in the spotlight around the world after recent criticism on Reddit led officials to announce this week that they would be holding a county seal design contest.
The official contest rules will be announced on January 11 at the next committee meeting. The idea for the contest was discussed at the committee meeting on Tuesday.
Commissioner President Harold Gallaher, who designed the current seal in 2018, spoke on Thursday afternoon about all the reactions he has received about it.
“I have fun with it,” he said. “I guess about one in three or four of the comments I get are in favor of keeping the seal as is, they consider it all silly.
“I have people saying it’s a bad design. No one who contacted me is tearing it up, they agree there needs to be a new design. I’m not getting vicious people or anything of the kind.”
Gallaher said he received resistance to having the Bible and the cross on the seal from people saying the symbols violate the US Constitution.
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“It seems to come mostly from people outside the region,” he said. “The Kansas City Star reporter was a little surprised we had them on our seal. I said we’re Bible Belt people, we believe that. Someone called the county clerk’s office to say that God was a myth and hung up.
The cry about the seal has appeared in news publications as far afield as the UK and Bahrain. With full attention, Gallaher said his main concern is that people outside the county are trying to figure out what the county is doing with the seal and what residents think is important.
He listed some of the parameters that were agreed upon.
“(Associate Commissioner David) Kater is in the process of drafting the list of contest rules,” he said. “First of all, we are going to eliminate all the politics. There will be no elected officials involved in the judgment.
“The entries will not go through me or anyone else who will censor them. Kater has a list of people he will talk to about judging. The judges will not be publicly known, we don’t want anyone trying to put pressure on them.” IT weighed in and they want them to be in .png file format. They want the entries to be both black and white and color. “
Gallaher said he contacted the county attorney about a waiver the designers will need to provide in order for the county to own the selected seal design.
Gallaher said Tuesday he didn’t want the county to pay for the design of a county seal.
“…It was urgent business at the time when I had two days for the public to come up with a seal and my design is proof positive that I have no artistic inclination,” he said. he said on Tuesday. “I agree that we need something new. I have offered several times that if someone wants to redesign this seal to let us see what you have.
Gallaher said he would prefer the current symbols to be reused in some way, with one addition.
“I would like to add an element to the seal,” he said. “We are Parkland and I would like the seal to include a parks symbol.”
Mark Marberry is a reporter for Farmington Press and Daily Journal. He can be reached at 573-518-3629 or firstname.lastname@example.org