Commission Chairman Roger Fleming pounded the gavel, adjourning his last meeting as a county commissioner, with a smile on his face.
A meeting filled with fond remembrances and tributes also shined a light on the county’s future obstacles as it transitions to new leadership with Dan Holub taking over as chairman and Lori Lalouette-Crawford replacing Fleming as District One commissioner.
“Roads and room,” Holub said when asked what the commission’s challenges are going forward. “That’s it in a nutshell.”
A reception at the conclusion of the meeting invited reflections on the past.
Fleming recalled his first week as commissioner, which began with him missing a meeting because of the death of his son-in-law. In his second meeting, after someone misaddressed a letter to “Rover Fleming,” Holub bought him a dog bone. Fleming still had it in the commissioner’s office for his final meeting.
Also in that meeting he found out he would be chairman for his first year.
“It seemed like all our meetings when I took over went till 3 or 4 in the afternoon,” Fleming said. “Before I took over, when I was observing, they were always out of here by noon.”
Fleming spent much of that year conducting meetings focused on the construction of a new jail that he labeled as his greatest accomplishment while in office.
“With what (Sheriff) Rob Craft did with all the statistics, we were able to present a reasonable account of why we needed it,” Fleming said. “It worked out to where it’s bare bones, but it does the work we need done.”
His colleagues reflected upon him fondly, especially Holub, who made Fleming the butt of many jokes over the years.
“I’ve given myself a lot of entertainment over his four years at his expense, but he’s a hell of a guy,” Holub said. “We’re gonna really, really miss him. He’s a downright decent person.”
Months ago, Holub and District Three Commissioner Randy Dallke constructed a one-legged duck with a nameplate for Fleming as a symbol of his lame-duck status.
“We got a lot of mileage out of that duck,” Holub said.
Deputy Register of Deeds Rebecca Wingfield and County Clerk Tina Spencer showed a video they made of Fleming’s “lame duck” leaving the courthouse for the last time, as the song “Born to Be Wild” by Steppenwolf played. Fleming also received a Harley Davidson calendar and a framed photograph of the other commissioners presenting him with the lame duck.
“He brought in complaints or viewpoints to the commission from the constituents of his area,” Dallke said. “With that respect, that makes you well worthy of a county commissioner’s spot because you are representing an area. I think he represented his area.”