HARRISON – The Dec. 16 meeting of the Clare County Board of Commissioners, as the final meeting of 2020, was the fitting moment to bid adieu to the four departing county commissioners.
District 4 Commissioner Jack Kleinhardt has served the county for 13 years, many of them wrangling ofttimes contentious meetings as BOC chairperson – doing so always with an eye to fairness and always as a gentleman.
District 3 Commissioner Leonard Strouse has enlivened the county meetings with his straightforward, colorful discourse for 10 years, bringing pointed questions and some levity in otherwise dry times.
District 5 Commissioner Mark Fitzpatrick has likewise brought detailed inquiry to many of the issues addressed by the board over his two years of service.
District 6 Commissioner David Hoefling also provided two years of service to the county, bringing with him an earnest concentration on the issues and a desire to provide honest, productive efforts and results to benefit his district and the county as a whole.
The BOC passed four resolutions at the Dec. 16 meeting, special tributes which honored the service provided by each of these four commissioners on behalf of Clare County residents.
Commissioners Kleinhardt and Fitzpatrick were not in attendance, but Strouse and Hoefling did offer some parting comments.
“Thank you all for having me – we’ve had our disagreements,” Hoefling said. “You’re going to have to keep a close eye on the budget; you need to keep up the progress we’ve made … please keep up the good work. Thank you for having me, and good luck.”
Strouse said it had been an honor to serve Clare County as a commissioner, and noted that he would never have met any of those involved with the BOC had he not been blessed to serve with them. He spoke at length of the specific kindnesses extended to him by the county’s elected officials – particularly after the passing of his wife of nearly 51 years.
“The group of friends that has taken me in and supported me – it’s been tremendous,” he said. “I just want to thank you all for loving me and taking care of me. And to Ms. Brown: I don’t know you too well, but you’re a lot prettier than Jack.”
Commissioner Dale Majewski offered these words: “It’s been an honor to work with you.”
Sheriff John Wilson added: “Love you too, Leonard.”