Public service

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This past week, two long time DeWitt County officials announced their retirements at the end of their terms on November 30 of this year.

Dana Smith has been a county employee since July of 1993 and the elected County Clerk since December of 2010. Gloria Wills, DeWitt County Treasurer, made the same announcement. Gloria Wills has been employed by DeWitt County since April of 1994. Gloria was appointed County Treasurer upon death of Christy Long in 2015 and then ran for the office.

Both of these ladies have served the County and its taxpayers with dedication, service to the public and skill for over 25 years. Please give them a thank-you for their service the next time you see them.

Both positions are elected and replacing all of that experience is never easy. Kari Allen Harris is the Chief Deputy in the Clerk’s office. Kari has announced she will be running in the Republican primary for the position. Kari has been employed by the County since April of 2002. I have known Kari since she became a County employee 20 years ago. To her credit she has matured and grown into the job of Chief Deputy. Kari knows how to deal with the intricacies of county government while serving the needs of the public.

At this time, no one has announced as a candidate to replace Gloria Willis. The position does require an understanding of accounting and much contact with the public, especially during the tax collection period and the budget process.

Sheriff Mike Walker has indicated he will run for re-election. No one has announced a candidacy as his opponent.

All 12 County Board seats are up for election this year as this is the centennial year. Several are running for reelection and some appear ready to pursue other actions.

All of the above referenced people serve the public of DeWitt County. None are going to become millionaires by serving in these positions. They serve because they see a need to improve our community. They all have a perspective on how that should be done.

There has been very little conflict in the Treasurer, Clerk or Sheriff’s offices. The County Board over the years has had some dissension between its members, but that is to be expected. There are several people on the Board and that simply means there will  be different perspectives. County Boards usually get along a whole lot better than national politicians. They all live in the same community, shop in the same stores and literally see each other on a daily basis.

The primary election is June 28.  COVID and census issues pushed back the elections this year. If you want to run for any of these offices, you will need to obtain a petition and get the appropriate signatures. You can get that petition at the County Clerk’s office during normal business hours. You need to complete it and then file it with the County Clerk between March 7—14 of this year. If you are interested in public service give this some thought. If it is something that intrigues you, go for it.

While the elections are technically partisan, you can certainly run as an independent if that is your choice.  If you a Republican, you may wish to consult with Dustin Peterson, the Republican County Chairman. If you are a Democrat, you may wish to consult with Terry Redman, the Democratic County Chairman. If you’re an independent, talk it over with your supporters. The election cycle is right on top of us. If you want to run for an office, now is the time to get your petition and make your move.

I admit that I tend to favor those who are running for reelection as I favor experience. However, there is a very valid argument for having new blood in government. What really counts is a desire to serve the public, whether experienced or new blood.

Give these offices some serious thought if you have that desire to serve DeWitt County and its residents.