With the backing of 47,386 voters, Jim Viebrock ended an era in Greene County.
In the November 2010 election, Republican Viebrock took 54 percent of the votes to become Greene County Presiding Commissioner, knocking Democrat Dave Coonrod from the post he’d held since 1994.
“It’s humbling when 50,000 people put their faith in you to do that job,” Viebrock says. “It’s a big job to fill and big shoes to fill, for sure.”
Viebrock is no stranger to the political arena, having served four terms in the Missouri House of Representatives on behalf of the 134th district. The Viebrock era of Greene County leadership was set to begin with a Jan. 1, 2011, swearing-in ceremony.
During his time with the House of Representatives, Viebrock aided the Springfield police and fire pension problems and was part of a state government that had to make several cuts during the recession.
He says one of his most important highlights focused on state employee retirement plans, and specifically, legislation that allows those hired on or after Jan. 1, 2011, to retire at age 67 with 10 years of service or at age 55 with the sum of the employee’s age and years of service equaling at least 90.
“There are victories along the way that can stick in your mind,” he says.
Viebrock started his own business, Lawn Masters, when he was 14. That company expanded into nursery operations and was renamed Rolling Acres Nursery before it was sold in the late 1990s. He also has worked as a Realtor for Murney Associates.
Viebrock says his business and legislative background gives him the necessary insight to lead the county commission’s duties, which include preparing Greene County’s budget, enacting countywide policies, supervising county departments, and conducting planning and zoning hearings for construction and development in the county.
He plans to bring a change of pace to the presiding commissioner position.
“I saw some trends in the county and some of the decisions that were being made that didn’t line up with my philosophical beliefs,” he says. “I felt like the county was moving in the wrong direction.”
One issue Viebrock plans to tackle is personal property rights. An individual’s property, he says, should not be intruded upon unless the landowner allows it or is in violation of the law. He also wants to ensure protection of endangered places in the Ozarks, make governmental policies more user-friendly and focus on water usage rights, he says.
At the end of his four-year term, Viebrock hopes the voters will continue their support.
“Hopefully, they like where we’re at and where we’e going, and we’ll have the confidence to expand that beyond into a new term.”For more information on the 12 People You Need to Know series, click here.