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Paynesville Press - March 20, 2002

Pat Meagher wins supervisor seat

By Michael Jacobson

Pat Meagher Pat Meagher (at left) defeated incumbent Warren Nehring in the supervisor race in Paynesville Township at the polls on Tuesday, March 12.

Meagher got 241 votes to beat Nehring, with 195, and Ed McIntee, who got 45 votes. Meagher will start a three-year term on the board of supervisors on Thursday, when he is sworn in at the board's organizational meeting at 7 p.m.

Meagher has attended the township board meetings regularly for the past two years. "I'm not coming in totally green," he said, "but I have a lot to learn."

One of his first initiatives will be to survey township residents on their opinions on a number of issues, including the airport, a swimming pool, garbage pick-up and recycling, and cable TV. "I would like to send out a survey to the people and see how they feel on some issues," he said. Doing so was one of his campaign pledges, but it will take another vote on the board of supervisors to do so.

Meagher expects to be able to work with both the remaining supervisors, John Atwood and Don Pietsch.

"I was really happy that people were willing to do the job," said Meagher of the three-way race for supervisor. "The more people that you can get involved, the better the government."

"I don't plan to make a career out of (being a supervisor)," he added. "I want to make the township a better place when I leave."

Nehring served just over six years on the township board. Originally he was appointed to the board and then he was elected to a supervisor position for two three-year terms.

He said he was proud of his years in office and the direction of the township during his tenure on the board. "To me, township government is not an expense; it's a service to the people," he explained. "I enjoyed serving."

Nehring feels he was an integral part of the township moving forward with a number of projects in recent years: participating in the airport project, the proposed pedestrian trail around Lake Koronis, and a new zoning ordinance with Stearns County. These projects were controversial, he admitted, but he still feels they were best for the future of the township.

"I actually think the airport beat me," he said, "but I don't think it should have because it's a done deal."

Nehring said he would remain active in township government as a private citizen and would continue to support the projects he helped start, as well as the new board.

Since the township has good roads and healthy fund balances, he worries about dramatic shifts in township policies, saying, "If they want change, it would have to be change for the worse, not for the better."

McIntee got only a fraction of the votes he received the year before, when he was defeated in a bid for a supervisor seat by only 18 votes. "I think again the people have spoken, and that's a key to democracy," he said of the vote. "I think if people are heard throughout the rest of the year we'll have a good operation in the township."

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