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New boss, same as the old

Balkema in again as Grundy County Board chairman, Hansen vice chairman

MORRIS – Chris Balkema, R-District 2, is has returned as Grundy County Board chairman. He was nominated by board member John Roth, R-District 1, at Monday’s board reorganization meeting.

The vote was unanimous, with
the exception of Balkema, who abstained.

“It’s an honor and privilege to serve this community,” Balkema said after his election. “It’s amazing to serve in a role where I appreciate everybody so much as I do. One of the main reasons I appreciate this place can be summed up in one word, you’ve heard me use it often, called teamwork.

“We want to be an example of how a local government can be managed well by the people, for the people.”

Don Hansen, R-District 1, a board member and former Morris alderman, was named vice chairman in another unanimous vote, with Hansen abstaining from this vote.

“I’m here to help the chairman achieve his goal, and also. I’m here to help the 18 board members do their tasks and this goes back out to the community,” Hansen said after his election.


The board voted to keep monthly meetings of the full board at 6 p.m. on the second Tuesday of the month.

The County Board has three new members: Drew Muffler, R-District 1, James Olson, D-District 3, and Greg Ridenour, R-District 2. As part of the meeting, the board voted on the new lineup for committees.

Balkema said that when he joined the board, there were 18 committees and 18 board members. Through the years, that number has been trimmed down to six committees, he said.

Some of the changes include moving, education, veterans affairs commission and the coroner’s office into the personnel and insurance committee.

“It was a light committee and we wanted to do some balancing,” Balkema said.

Animal Control was also moved and will now be overseen by the committee for the highway department and Grundy County Transit.

Each member of the board serves on two or three committees, Balkema said.

The meeting ended when Balkema introduced Vision 2023, a continuation of the previous program Vision 2020. Each department head and elected officials put through goals for the year 2020. About 60 percent of those goals have been followed through on, Balkema said.

With Vision 2023, the county will set through a plan for the next five years, including capital planning for buildings and larger purchases.

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