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The Scarlet & Black

New county officials to take office 2017

New+county+officials+to+take+office+2017

missy-eilander

By Phillip Kiely

Missy Eilander won an uncontested election on Nov. 8 for the role of Poweshiek County’s new auditor. She ran as a Republican and will start Jan. 1, 2017.

Until then she will maintain her current position as the assistant finance director within the office.

“I’ll take over Jan. 1, and although I know quite a bit about the office … there is still a lot that I need to dive into and learn,” Eilander said.

She currently works in the office and intends to keep everything the same.

“I don’t foresee any major changes,” Eilander said.

The county auditor is responsible for keeping the country running financially.

“The auditor is the custodian of the courthouse … handles the budget information for the county … [does] the real estate taxes and valuations … the HR for the country, the payroll, the accounts payable and a lot of financials for the county. We work with the public a lot, we maintain the official plat book or transfer book for the county,” Eilander said.

tom-kriegel

By Mira Braneck

Thomas Kriegel, county sheriff, was reelected by the people of Poweshiek County on Nov. 8. Running as a Democrat, Kriegel received 731 votes, compared with 30 total write-ins.

This will be Kriegel’s second term as Sheriff, an office he took in 2012. However, before 2012, he ran three separate times. “It took me 20 years to get elected,” he said.

Before becoming the country sheriff, Kriegel had a long career in law enforcement. He began in Brooklyn, IA in 1982 as a police officer, staying there for 17 years. He then worked in Montezuma, IA, where he worked in law enforcement from 1997 until 2001, when he began working for the Sheriff’s Department.

In his past four years in office, Kriegel has focused on cutting costs and making the department more professional. “When I first got elected in 2012, we had some problems down here that I thought needed to be addressed,” he said. “We’ve had some people that chose not to keep working here.”

He listed ways to improve revenue, such as improving the commissary at the jail, obtaining a contract with the federal government to house federal prisoners and contracting out more law enforcement services to towns in the County.

Kriegel sees the overwhelming support he received as reflecting his nonpartisan attitude towards his office. “I just try to do the best job that I possibly can, and have the best people in positions that I need them to help me. I don’t think I’m a partisan sheriff, I think I’m a sheriff for everybody, and maybe that’s reflected in the polls.”

diana-dawley

By Michael Cummings

Decades of public service have paid off this year for County Auditor Diana Dawley, who won election earlier this month to the Poweshiek County Board of Trustees.

Dawley, who was born in Montezuma, has spent her entire life living and working in Poweshiek County.

“I grew up in Montezuma, and I got married and moved to a farm southwest of Montezuma and we’re still in the country [today],” Dawley said.

Dawley explained that her entrance into local government was a result of low agricultural profits in the 1980s.

“In the eighties, farming wasn’t as profitable … my children were in high school at that time, and so I decided to apply for a job at the [county] courthouse, and that’s what got me started in public service, in 1986.”

Since 1986, Dawley has held a variety of positions in Montezuma. These include the roles of clerk at the county courthouse, Deputy Auditor, Auditor and her new role on the Board of Supervisors.

Dawley hopes to use her new role to help Poweshiek residents with mental health needs.

“One thing I’m interested in … is jail diversion, working with [prison] inmates who have mental health issues to give them counselling, and there’s times where they could be placed somewhere else other than the jail.”

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