Commissioner Mike Stegall

Stegall opts not to run for re-election in 2022

GREENVILLE— Darke County Commissioner Mike Stegall is looking forward to retirement in 2022.

Yes, he decided not to run for re-election for the county seat in the new year. However, he will finish the term.

“Besides retirement, there is a lot on our plate in the commissioners’ office that we will focus on: Alternative energy, ARPA fund spending, updating some buildings, trying to buy new cruisers for the sheriff again…..plus all the routine things,” he remarked. It’s going to be a busy year!”

His main goal is to make sure that these decisions are the right ones.

“They will have a long-term effect, so we must get them right,” he said.

A Greenville Township trustee for five years before he became commissioner, Stegall said when he was elected as commissioner, he thought two terms would be enough.

“But about halfway through my first year, I realized that the first year you basically learn how to do the job…what you can and cannot do, who you need to get to know, making the right contacts, working with all the other officials…so I made it three terms,” he said. “I did not want to get to the point where I was saying ‘Well, we’ve always done it this way’. That is not good governance to me. We should always try to improve and do better. When I was a trustee, some thought I did a good job. So, after I was re-elected, several people in the Republican Party asked me to run for commissioner, said they needed my help, so I said, ‘What the heck,’ ran, won against two opponents, and the rest is history!”

Since he has been commissioner, he said they’ve have seen great growth in the county.

“We had added the industrial park on State Route 49 out by the sheriff’s office, and we have improved the county’s bond rating and hope to improve it again this year,” Stegall pointed out. “That makes all of us happy.”

Has it been easy to work with two other commissioners on most issues that they have encountered over the years?

“I have been blessed to work with great people since I have been here, Mike Rhoades, Diane Delaplane, Matt Aultman, and Larry Holmes,” he said. “These are good, smart people and they did and are doing a great job running the county.”

Stegall’s proudest achievement as a commissioner was “seeing Darke County grow and employ people.

“That was one of my main concerns, along with getting everybody to row the boat in the same direction,” he indicated. “Challenges are always there, but with the people we have in office, we worked to overcome them.”

As for the pandemic, he thinks Darke County did better than most areas.

“Yes, it affected the county, but our people have this can-do, farmer’s attitude that they can overcome anything……and they do,” he said.
Stegall said he is the only one in his family who has ever been in politics.

“The rest were smarter than me,” he mused.

What kind of person does it take to be a commissioner, he was asked.

“One who cares about helping people, and doesn’t really care what is said about them,” he responded. “One who does what’s best, and moves on. I think the best commissioners come from a high school officiating background because you have to know the rules, you learn how to control situations, and you learn how to deal with conflict resolution.”

He is quick to say that he has enjoyed working for the people of Darke County.

“Absolutely! I love this county and its people, that is why I am leaving now, so I can leave knowing I never said, ‘We’ve always done it this way,’ and have always tried to find a better way,” he remarked.

He was noted for his Coffees with the Commissioner project he established during his tenure.

“I started the Coffee with the Commissioner about six months before the first election, and have done them ever since, once a month, and I will do them in 2022 too,” he assured. “It has been successful because people know they can come see me and I will listen, and give them an honest answer. You may not like it, but it will be honest.”

His mentors have been Mike Rhoades, Jerry Laffin in Mercer County, and numerous people at the CCAO office, especially John Leutz.

“I never thought about politics until Bill Kelly asked me to run for township trustee,” Stegall recalled. “He said he needed my help and that struck a nerve.  So, when I was told the same thing to run for commissioner, I couldn’t say no.”

Stegall is a member of the Darke County Masonic Lodge and the Shrine club, although he does not attend them much anymore.

“I still believe they are great organizations who do good things,” he said, adding, “I am on the County Commissioners Association boards on Energy and the CEBCO board (County Employee Benefits Consortium), our health insurance for the county.”

One challenge for him this year getting his knees replaced.

“It has been 36 days as of this writing, and I am done with therapy tomorrow,” he said. “The people at Orthopedic Associates and Wayne HealthCare are the best, and have made this fairly easy to overcome.”

Stegall grew up in Wayne Lakes, went to Greenville schools, and has been in Greenville all his life except for a couple of years…one at Central Michigan, and a year and a half working in radio at Wilmington and Chillicothe.

“My parents, Everett ‘Bud’ and Betty Stegall, gave my brother Dan and me a great childhood,” Mike said. “They were the best. My dad and I worked together until he retired, then I took over the trucking business. I married Rosemary in 1976, and we haven’t killed each other yet, so I guess we are both in for the duration.”

What’s he going to do in retirement?

“Play golf, travel with my wonderful wife and I plan to harass Matt and Larry as much as possible,” he replied.

Darke County Now Staff - Linda Moody - Staff Writer

Linda Moody / Staff Writer

I am a Darke County native living in the Ansonia area with my son. I have been in journalism 50+ years and enjoy what I do.

Contact Darke County Now Media Correspondent Linda Moody @ lmoody@darkecountynow.com or 937-337-1955.

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