The last Washington County Board of Commissioners meeting of 2012 also was the last meeting for two veteran commissioners leaving the board after they were defeated in November.
District 1 Commissioner Dennis Hegberg and District 2 Commissioner Bill Pulkrabek said their farewells to fellow board members and county staff Tuesday.
Hegberg, who served on the board 23 years, was defeated by Hugo Mayor Fran Miron. Pulkrabek, a 14-year board member, lost to challenger Ted Bearth of Oakdale.
At a post-meeting reception, Hegberg and Pulkrabek both said they are weighing their options as they leave political office.
“Over the last month, I’m looking at a couple of business ventures,” Pulkrabek said.
“I’ve got plenty of things in my head,” Hegberg said. “I’m too healthy to stop working. I’ve got lots of banking experience. That could be a possibility. And over the years, I’ve learned a lot about public policy.”
During Tuesday’s board meeting, commissioners approved resolutions of appreciation for Hegberg and Pulkrabek and praised the two men for their service to the county.
“Dennis, I just want to thank you for your service. You have been a wise mentor for 20 years,” said Commissioner Lisa Weik.
“Especially early on, you’ve been a mentor and roll model to me. You’ve been a great commissioner over the years,” Pulkrabek added.
“What a wealth of knowledge and leadership you’ve provided the board,” said Commissioner Gary Kriesel. “You never counted votes in the audience. You’re a class act, Dennis.”
Commissioners also praised Pulkrabek for his efforts to keep county taxes low and foster a friendly business climate
“What a friend to the taxpayer Bill has been,” Kriesel said.
Hegberg and Pulkrabek kept their good-byes short.
“It’s been an honor given to me by God and the people of District One,” Hegberg said. “I love this job. This is an education all the time. I appreciate this job and I thank you.”
“I would like to thank the nine commissioners, past and present, I have served with,” Pulkrabek said. “I really want to thank my constituents and the citizens of Washington County for allowing me to serve and make decisions on their behalf. For that my smile endures.
Hegberg said his immediate post-board plan is visiting his brother in Oregon and driving down the Pacific Coast.
Pulkrabek said he plans to stay involved in politics, but likely not seek another public office.
“I’m sure no matter what happens, I’ll be involved in politics in one way or another. I’m weighing my options. Do I think I’ll run again. I doubt it,” he said.
And Pulkrabek said he learned one thing talking to residents during his last campaign.
“Washington County is a well-run, well-respected organization. I’m walking out the door and the county is in good hands,” he said.