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Bengsch to retire after six decades of public service

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Harold Bengsch, a fixture for more than 60 years in local public service, announced he’ll retire at the end of his current term on the Greene County Commission.

“When I finish this term, I’ll be 85 years old,” Bengsch told Springfield Business Journal this morning. “I’ve put in 61 years so far of public service, both with the city-county health department, as well as county commissioner.

“My wife has given up a lot because I’ve been gone a lot.”

Set to step down at year’s end, Bengsch has served as an associate county commissioner since 2005, filing his candidacy after 20 years leading the Springfield-Greene County Health Department.

He said the county is in a good place financially after the commission last week approved a $233.7 million budget, which is 22% higher than the prior year.

“We have seen the county get back into pretty good fiscal condition,” he said. “We went through a really rough time during the recession.”

During his career, Bengsch has served on dozens of state and community boards and committees. He helped establish the Jordan Valley Community Health Center, the Child Advocacy Center and the joining of the county and city health departments, and the Health Department’s annual honor for community leaders is called the Harold K. Bengsch Award. Bengsch was a member of SBJ’s 2018 class of Men of the Year.

For Bengsch’s District 1 associate commissioner seat, Rusty MacLachlan of MacLachlan Construction Co. Inc. and state Rep. Sonya Anderson have announced plans to run during this year’s election season.

“During the primary, I think I will stay pretty quiet,” Bengsch said, declining to say whether he has a favorite for his seat.

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