By Dominik Stallings
Jim Mikeworth was recognized with a certificate by the Douglas County Board on Nov. 16 after serving on the board for the last 10 years.
“Trust and friendships developed. That’s what I really enjoyed,” said Mikeworth.
Ed Carleton, who won the primary earlier this year, will replace Mikeworth and serve on the Board for the sixth district. Carleton and other county officials will be installed Dec. 1. At 9 a.m. in the Douglas County Courthouse, Courtroom 1. Members of the public are welcome to attend.
Mikeworth has participated in many things during his 10 years on the board. He was chairman for the personal, legal and management committee and Dial-A-Ride service. He’s been familiar with them since their first establishment as a service.
He said some of the most memorable moments came from serving as a member of the 911 board and participating in the Workplace Innovation Opportunity Act.
The 911 board in particular stood out to him because of its importance to the community. The board is updating the addresses for emergency services so they would arrive to the right place in a potential emergency.
“They treated me really well and I became an integral part of it,” said Mikeworth.
The Workplace Innovation Opportunity Act allowed the county to work with other counties to help people further their education and job training.
Mikeworth was happy that the Board was able to raise the salary of many county employees. They were able to do this through the help of legislation to collect sales tax through online purchases.
“Many of them could have gone to work in a grocery store and make equivalent money. Many of them have been here 15 plus years and deserved the raise,” said Mikeworth.
Mikeworth enjoyed working with many of the county’s other employees as well.
“Judi (Pollock) and her staff, they just do an outstanding job. The county is lucky to have somebody that cares as much as they do,” said Mikeworth.
In his 10 years serving on the Board, Mikeworth learned a lot. As with many new public officials, he started out needing a lot of help and guidance.
“I was so green 10 years ago. You don’t start out as chairman of committees. They put you on an easy committee or two,” said Mikeworth.
Mikeworth received a lot of guidance from his mentor, Tom Glenn. He helped him find his footing and gave him tips on what to watch out for and where good volunteer opportunities are.
Mikeworth first got involved with the Board through Charlie Knox. The two met through Rotary. Knox, who was Board chairman at the time, told Mikeworth he should consider running for the Board.
Knox told Mikeworth that it wasn’t too much work, only about two meetings a month. In Mikeworth’s mind, that was a lie, albeit one made in good faith, as he’s enjoyed doing the work.
Mikeworth thought that it is important for a Board member to do a lot of research.
“People think that you come to meetings a few times a week,” said Mikeworth. “Every week we have to read and research and talk to people.”
Besides serving on the Board, Mikeworth was an educator in Villa Grove. He taught math for
32 years. During his time there, he was appointed to the Board to visit the regional office of education with six other counties. They would oversee administrators and offer workshops and other training.
In the future, Mike plans to continue working with the Lions Club and Rotary Club.
“I like working with people and being around people. It gave me a chance to get up and get out of the house and do some good somewhere,” said Mikeworth.
Mikeworth added that he enjoyed working on the Board for the same reasons.
“I’m really going to miss it,” said Mikeworth. “The people that serve there aren’t there to get rich or get legislation passed – They’re there for the good of the people.”