by Amie Sites
After eight years, Ralph Anderson, Cass County Council vice president and former county council president, will be leaving the Cass County Council and joining the three-member board of commissioners.
Anderson, a local veterinarian, spent his last county council meeting Friday as acting president.
“I was tickled to death when George (Stebbins) asked me to be acting president for the meeting,” Anderson said.
Before he was vice president, Anderson was president for four years. The meeting on Friday was Anderson’s 55th meeting as president.
Anderson said the experience has been wonderful.
“My eight years on the council have been very humbling,” Anderson said. “There have been battles I’ve lost and battles I’ve won.”
Anderson said his favorite part has been trying to figure out how to fund government when there weren’t any funds available. Anderson said he does a lot of out-of-the-box thinking. He laughed and said one of the council members once asked if he dreamed in numbers.
“In the past we were using capital funds for everything we could because there wasn’t enough in the general fund,” Anderson said. “We had to find a way to maintain them.”
George Stebbins, president of the county council, has worked with Anderson on the council for almost two years.
“Ralph is really good to work with. We’ll miss him and his experience,” Stebbins said. “As the longest current member, he brought all of us up to the direction we were supposed to go. His leaving will be a big loss.”
With seven county council members came seven different opinions, Anderson said. Although things could get heated, nothing left the board room and friendships were never lost to a disagreement.
“I’ve had nothing but a positive experience even in disagreements,” Anderson. “I’ve enjoyed working with each individual.”
Tom Keplar, former Cass County council member, presented Anderson a plaque at the end of the council meeting after giving a short speech. Keplar said he got to know Anderson well over the years and that “it’s been a grand experience.”
“Well, I got a little choked up when Tom presented,” Anderson said. “He has been a friend for a long time. We were on the council together for six years. I was proud to have him do that for me.”
As Anderson moves forward as a county commissioner, he said he will be the longest serving executive member between the council and commissioner board.
“I’m looking forward to continue serving my county as best as I can,” Anderson said. “We have so many untapped possibilities and potential and I want to make sure we attract people, not push them away.”
Anderson said he wanted to thank Cass County residents for their support and that “it’s truly been an honor to serve them.”
Amie Sites is a reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5150 or firstname.lastname@example.org.