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SIOUX CITY | Woodbury County supervisors  on Tuesday denied Matthew Ung's bid to remain as chairman for another year, as his colleagues instead unanimously selected Rocky De Witt.

"We'll give this a shot," De Witt, who is entering his second year on the board. His comments came as he and Ung switched seats, assuming the middle spot on the table, where the gavel rested.

The drama over which of the five superiors would lead the board in 2018 unfolded Tuesday during board's first meeting of the new year.

Ung tried to make his case for another year at the helm, saying he had performed admirably leading a board compromised of members with three or less years of experience, the fewest in more than three decades. Referring to the practices of past boards, he urged his colleagues to drop the "attachment" to "always" rotate the chair post among the board members each year.

The motion to have Ung remain chairman failed on a 4-1 vote, with Ung voting for himself, and Jeremy Taylor, Keith Radig, Marty Pottebaum and De Witt voting no.

Taylor, who preceded Ung as chairman in 2016, nominated De Witt for the post. Taylor said De Witt would have a "thoughtful, measured" approach to leading the county board. His motion passed by an identical 4-1 vote.

De Witt, Taylor, Radig and Ung are all Republicans, while Pottebaum is a Democrat.

Like De Witt, Radig and Pottbaum are also beginning their second year on the board.

De Witt, of rural Lawton, previously worked as a security deputy at the Woodbury County Courthouse, and retired as a journeyman electrician with MidAmerican Energy Co. after a 22-year career.

As board chairman, De Witt said he will lead a taxpayer-friendly budget-setting process through March, ensure there are sufficient services to meet county resident needs and continue long-range planning into county facility modernization.

In addition to presiding over weekly board meetings on Tuesdays, the chair also typically holds more power on the direction of county government and priorities. In the last two years, Ung and Taylor have taken a more hands-on approach with county departments than some previous chairs.

Since 2008, though, no board chair has served more than a one consecutive year.

Also Tuesday, the board unanimously elected Radig as vice chair for 2018. Radig, a former Sioux City Council member, will succeed Taylor as vice chair.

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County and education reporter

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