Longtime Greene County Commissioner Bengsch announces retirement

Harold Bengsch, commissioner of Greene County’s first district, recently announced he will retire from politics after serving out his current term on the Greene County Commission. His last day as a commissioner will be Dec. 31, 2020.
Bengsch, 85, graduated from Billings High School in 1953. Afterwards, he earned a degree in agriculture science from Missouri State University, followed by a master’s in public health from MU’s School of Medicine. He spent the next 45 years at the Springfield-Greene County Department of Public Health and Welfare; 20 of those years he was the department’s director.
After retiring in 2004, Bengsch ran for and was elected to the Greene County Commission. He is currently in his fourth term as commissioner.
Among the commission’s accomplishments of which Bengsch said he was most proud, was the paving of all county roads in Greene County, along with having all bridges in good repair.
“Greene County (is) one of only a few Missouri counties staking that claim,” he said.
Other accomplishments include Greene County becoming the first county in the nation to adopt the principles of “The Great Game of Business” by local business leader Jack Stack, which Bengsch said encouraged Greene County employees to “understand and verbalize what is driving the numbers of the Greene County budget,” and the development of the Greene County Transparency Portal, which Bengsch said allows citizens to see, in real time, how the county is spending their dollars.
“Probably one of the most difficult accomplishments,” he said, “was successfully navigating the Great Recession of 2008 and forward while meeting all of the requirements of state and federal regulations … along with no elimination of other mandated county services in the face of a protracted freeze on hiring and (the) resulting shortage of personnel. This, with the added burden of no salary increases for employees for six years.”
Bengsch’s also served on numerous boards and committees at the federal, state and local level, including the Missouri Board of Health, where he was the chair, the Missouri Department of Health’s Task Force on Bioterrorism, the National Centers for Disease Control, the Missouri Association of Local Health Officials, the DWI Task Force, Violence-Free Families, Welfare to Work and many others. He has also written 17 publications, covering a variety of topics concerning health and disease control.
Now that he’ll have some extra time, Bengsch said he plans to spend time with family, but he also plans to stay involved in his community.
“Aside of my wife and I having time to enjoy each other and do some traveling and enjoy our great-grandchildren (they have 10), I plan to stay involved in our church work and several of the community organizations and their important initiatives,” he said.
Retirement, however, doesn’t mean Bengsch is giving up work entirely.
“Whether or not I will once again teach at the college level remains to be seen, but I will be lecturing on certain subject matter,” he said. “In fact, I am already on tap for two lecture series.”
Bengsch said he will always treasure his time on the commission.
“The honor of being a Greene County commissioner has been a wonderful, wonderful journey I shall treasure forever,” he said.


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