The 22nd year serving as the Eastern Associate Commissioner of Audrain County will be the final one for Vandalia’s Roger Young, who made his retirement official when speaking at the 19th Annual Legislative Banquet hosted by the Audrain County Farm Bureau.
Young, who has been in the political arena for 25 years after serving previously as a councilman and mayor in Laddonia, said he’s retiring in order to focus on the 31 rental units he owns as well as several boards and committees he’s a part of along with work on his farm.
His retirement will also free up some more time to spend with his wife Sandra Young, daughter Jennifer Bartison, son Jason Young, their families, and his four grandchildren.
“I’m not doing any of the jobs justice and just can’t stand it; something has to give,” he said. “It was the only option to get rid of something so I can quit forgetting stuff and operate the way I want to operate.”
The outgoing commissioner said what he will miss the most from his job is working with Presiding Commissioner Steve Hobbs.
“What I’ll be missing the most is working with Steve and not having that opportunity any more,” he said. “He keeps the office loose and he makes this job really enjoyable. He gets things done. We are working more with the City (of Mexico) then we ever have in the past. He’s just a great guy to work with…”
In reflecting on his tenure while working as a commissioner, Young is really proud of the many accomplishments during his years of service.
The list includes:
• Enhanced 9-1-1
• County Jail and Law Enforcement Center
• Peak Energy Power Plant
• Housing Project in Vandalia
• All graders are now all-wheel drive graders
• Snow plows on dump trucks
• Ethanol Plant Built
• Bio-Diesel Plant Built
• Audrain County named Bio-Fuel Capital of Missouri
• Built an Audrain County website
• Audrain County Seal representing the county
• Courthouse Improvements that includes rewiring, new sidewalks and landscaping, remolding of county offices, new roof with insulation
• New City of Mexico/Audrain County relationship with partnership on the land around the Plant Science Center
• New Help Center building
• Still have a hospital thanks to SSM
• County gives money every year to help Soil and Water; Handy Shop to help needs of the county
• Audrain County Public Health and handicap facilities are in better shape than they were 21 years ago
• Taken Emergency Management to a greater playing field and now able to help in all emergency situations
• Everbridge System – an emergency system to warn residents of emergency situations such as a tornado warning call to residents
• More than 200 large bridges over 20’ in length built, with three more large bridges to be built (emphasis on one near Dick Piluard)
While Young is finishing his final year, he still has some concerns on the top of his to-do list.
He noted the Off System Bridge program for bridges under 20’ and 4’ diameter and larger.
“We’re finding out there are some bad ones out there where we probably will end up closing some roads before we get to them,” Young added.
When it comes to bridges, Young said the county has done work on 170 of them in the last 20 years.
“That has been a big accomplishment,” he said. “There isn’t any other counties around that can say that.”
He also noted concerns that the women’s pod is too small in the county jail, notes the possible option of a future Justice Center, talks on the concerns of safety with the court system set up, focus on improvement still needed for Highway 54 in regards to travel flow and safety, and the Everbridge System needed to be dispatched by 9-1-1.
Young said when he made his decision to retire, he was wanting to make sure there was a solid candidate to take his place. He’s had several conversations with former City of Vandalia Administrator Alan Winders, who has since declared his candidacy for the position and will file when filing begins in February. Young endorsed Winders at the Audrain County Farm Bureau Banquet.
“I definitely want to see Alan there; I’m supporting him all the way,” Young added.