Unlike many council members, he often did his homework, asking questions days or weeks before a meeting so he could find out the answers he wanted to know instead of relying on a sheet of paper and a line item request. That didn’t always make him popular,but it did make him better prepared than several council members who often didn’t appear in the courthouse for any reason other than attending their meeting or picking up their paycheck.
Cass County’s Merlyn didn’t allow anyone to pull a sword out of a stone, but he didn’t wield a sword to swagger his authority either. He was a solid rock, albeit a diminuitive one who was always the shortest member of the council.
To those who long for a time when government at all levels was less divisive and more about community than self-aggrandizement, Merlyn Raikes was a testament to the notion that nice people do finish first. One did it five times.
Dave Kitchell is a columnist for the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.