A man who has spent 61 years serving the residents of Greene County through the Health Department and as a County Commissioner is stepping away at the end of 2020.
In an exclusive statement to Ozarks Independent, Greene County Commissioner Harold Bengsch has announced he will not be running for another term as the Associate Commissioner for District 1.
Here is Bengsch’s statement to OI:
After much soul searching and prayer, it is my decision not to file for re-election for Greene County Commissioner District 1. I am now entering the last year of this term, making it my 16th year of service as a Greene County Commissioner. During that period of time I have had the privilege to get to work with and know many of the dedicated employees of Greene County who serve our citizens every day. I can say without reservation, their dedication and loyalty to Greene County is not only sincere but admirable.
With 45 years of service, first to this community in the field of Public Health and what will be 16 years as a County Commissioner, I will have enjoyed 61 years working in this community. I consider my time not as being an official but rather as a public servant. I must confess, I can’t think of a more noble calling than that of public service.
This community is well recognized by others as a community with a boundless spirit of community collaboration. I plan to stay involved in many of the ongoing collaborative endeavours up to and after my retirement. As for the next twelve months, I intend to give this office my all in service to this community and the wonderful citizens of Greene County.
Thank you for your many years of continuous support and please remember:
“There is no limit to what can be accomplished when it doesn’t matter who gets the credit.”
“I would hope I would be remembered as a person who was honest and sincere,” Bengsch said at the time.
Bengsch began his career in public service in 1958 with a job in the laboratory of the health department. He worked his way up the ladder until he was leading the department, and was key in the merging of the Springfield city health department and the county health department.
Bengsch told OI that the merging of the departments is his greatest accomplishment in his time serving in public health.
Bengsch has been a strong advocate in recent years for an increase in awareness of mental health issues and increased access to mental health treatment services. Bengsch has attributed several issues with the jail population to a lack of mental health services available to inmates, and has said that providing mental health treatment to families can help those struggling get help before they reach a point where they could break the law.
Bengsch’s colleagues on the Greene County Commission praised him for his decades of service and his willingness to share his wisdom and insight.
“The decades of service that Harold Bengsch has given to the citizens of Greene County will never be forgotten,” Presiding Commissioner Bob Dixon told OI. “He’s been a great colleague and a good friend. I just have immense respect for him. I feel so privileged that I have had the opportunity to work him directly this past year and I look forward to this coming year. I certainly wish him and his family the best. He will be appreciated for many years to come.”
Those sentiments were echoed by Commissioner John Russell.
“Harold Bengsch is one of the finest colleagues I have ever worked with,” Russell told OI. “His commitment to public service is amazing and will certainly be missed on the Commission. He’s been a tremendous mentor to me the past year. I certainly wish him the very best as he moves into a different phase of life.”
Two candidates had filed to run for the seat that’s been held by Bengsch. Term-limited State Representative Sonya Murray Anderson announced her candidacy last summer. Local businessman Rusty MacLachlan announced his candidacy in November.