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Tribune Editorial: Thank you for your public service in your tenure

With the start of the new year, various government entities will be reorganizing next week with returning and new officials. One of the significant changes will be the number of local officials who are leaving their public service role - some with decades of service.

The dedication, knowledge and experience of these public servants will be missed.

Kandiyohi County Board

County commissioner Jim Butterfield is leaving the County Board after two terms representing the First District. In his eight years on the board, the county has made significant progress in redesigning the delivery of county services and integrating human services and public health functions. This effort became a model for redesigning of custom-oriented service within the County Office Building. He has also represented the county on various committees, partnerships and collaborative projects within the county and across the region.

Thank you, Commissioner Butterfield.

Kandiyohi County Sheriff

Dan Hartog's last day in his 38-year law enforcement career is here. He has served the previous 16 years as Kandiyohi County Sheriff. He began his career in Dodge Center in southeastern Minnesota but returned in March 1981 to the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office as a road deputy. He served in many roles and was elected sheriff in 2002. The department grew from 22 employees in the early 1980s to a staff of 106 today. He has seen many changes and new technology as well.

Thank you, Sheriff Hartog.

Willmar City Council

Ron Christianson has served on the City Council representing Ward 2 for nearly 24 years. He also served in the United States Air Force. First elected in 1994, he did not seek re-election in the 2018 election. At his last meeting, he thanked the current and past staff, councils and administration for putting "up with my contrarianism ..." His favorite part of being a council member was his "opportunity to serve the public."

Thank you, Council Member Christianson.

Willmar School Board

Two school board members decided not to seek re-election in 2018. Linda Mathiasen has served two full terms on the School Board after first being elected in 2010. Laura Warne was appointed to a vacancy in 2013 and elected to a full term in 2014.

Among the board achievements during their terms were the hiring of a new superintendent and the approval of a $52.35 million bond issue - both in 2015. And the construction completion and the opening of the Lakeland Elementary School in 2018 and other district building improvements in the district. The district has also implemented curriculum development focused on improving elementary reading and math scores and continuous improvement efforts for staff members targeting focus toward common goals.

Thank you, School Board Member Mathiasen.

Thank you, School Board Member Warne.

These are the retiring public servants here in Kandiyohi County. There are many others across the communities, counties and schools of west central Minnesota. Being a public servant takes dedication, hours of service and commitment, especially in today's polarized political environment.

So take a few minutes to thank those in your community for their service. Such an acknowledgment may be the best reward they ever receive.

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