Today marks the beginning of a new era in Huron County government, an era without John Elmlinger.
The well-liked, 51-year-old county official retired Wednesday after 33 years in public service. He was a Sherman Township trustee from 1973 to 1976, then county recorder until 1986 when he took over as county auditor, a position he held until today.
We could fill this space with a litany of Elmlinger's accomplishments, which include bringing the auditor's office into the 21st century and creating a more efficient and effective government agency. But what helped make Elmlinger such an effective and respected public official were his people skills.
He was beloved by his staff, who revered him for being a genuinely good-hearted, compassionate official and leader. Just as remarkable is that he forged tight bonds with those on both sides of the political aisle. When Elmlinger says that he sees himself as a public servant who works with all the Huron County officials for the good of the people, rather than a Republican or Democrat focused on party politics, it's genuine. If only politicians in Washington and Columbus had that perspective.
While he will be greatly missed, Elmlinger is leaving the auditor's office in the capable hands of Roland Tkach. Tkach has been very involved in the community for a long time. Until today, he had served as county treasurer since 2001, and as an elected official helped the county create a stable and harmonious government. He will make the transition as smooth as possible.
We wish Elmlinger the best of luck in his retirement and whatever endeavors he takes on next.