GREENVILLE—After 12 years as a Darke County Commissioner, Mike Stegall participated in his last regular session this afternoon.
Commissioner Stegall will officially retire from the office on Dec. 31, 2022.
Prior to politics, Stegall spent time in radio, then he moved outdoors.
“I worked at two radio stations, one in Wilmington and one in Chillicothe,” he said. “Then I decided I wanted to work outside more, so I came home and went to work for my dad. We built houses and I had a trucking company that I ran for 42 years over at Poeppelman’s.
In around 2005, he was asked to run for Greenville Township Trustee, so he did, and naturally, he won.
“I liked it alot,” he said. “I had two good people to work with: George Luce, and Bill Kelly. We did a lot of good things for Greenville Township, basically it’s my fault we have a township fire department.”
After a push to run for Darke County Commissioner, Stegall ran in 2010 and was sworn into office in 2011.
What’s he most proud of over the course of his 12 years in office?
Eliminating Darke County’s debt, and working as a team with his colleagues.
“I was most proud of getting the county out of debt, and making sure we all rowed the boat in the same direction,” he said. “We tried not to be fractured. We tried to all work together, and we’ve done that. People in Darke County have no idea how lucky they are. With all Darke County employees, they’re wonderful. They’re the best at what they do.”
Stegall said his goal of eliminating Darke County’s debt really got really kicked into gear when Matt Aultman was elected on the County Board of Commissioners.
“I first asked him, ‘What do you want to do?'” Stegall said. “He said, ‘I want to get the county out of debt too.’ In the last six years, we’ve done it. Carol Ginn was a huge help in that, the auditor, the treasurer [Scott Zumbrink], everybody helped. Everybody did their part.”
A sentiment that Stegall reiterated multiple times while reminiscing on his time as a Commissioner was the way the county officials are able to work as a unit.
He recalled a particular compliment from Larry Long, former County Commissioners Association President.
“He happened to be up in our office with one of his people on a Friday, when we were having a pizza party,” he said. “We were all sitting there, laughing and talking. When it was over, Larry walked into our office, shut both doors, and he sat down, and said, ‘I’m going to tell you something: There is no other county in the state of Ohio, that acts like you do.’ He said, ‘In most places the auditor and the treasurer don’t even speak.’ I said ‘Well, Hell Larry, ours are like mother and son.’ He said, ‘I noticed that, that’s why Darke County does so well, because you all get along and you all like eachother.'”
“And that was important to me,” he added. “I knew at that point, we made it.”
Post-New Years, looking onto his retirement, Stegall will of course golf a bit more, but also travel with his wife Rosemary, with whom he’s been married for 46 years.
“We’re going to take a trip out West,” he said. “A car trip. Rosemary has never been out West. I have. We’ll take one out West, up North, go through Montana, and all that area. Then later on in the year, maybe next year, we’ll take the Southern route. I want to go to San Antonio and see the River Walk. I want to drive out there and drive through Texas.”
While Stegall said there are far too many people to thank for his career thus far, he was able to come up with one.
“If there’s one person I really need to thank for my career, it’s Betsy Ward,” he said. “She was my first campaign manager. She wore me out. I love that girl like a daughter.”
Stegall’s seat will be filled in the new year by Marshall Combs, 27, of Greenville.
“I do want to say that the Sheriff’s Dept., Matt, Larry and Marshall, they’ve got a lot on their plate next year,” Stegall said. “I don’t envy them but I know all four gentleman will do a great job, because they have so far. I’m very happy to be leaving the county in the state it’s in with the people that are here.”
Combs will be sworn in on Friday morning at 9 a.m.
The Darke County Board of Commissioners hold regular session every Tuesday and Thursday at 1:30 p.m. at 520 South Broadway, Greenville, Ohio 45331. For more information contact the commissioner’s office at 937-547-7370.