Gary Wyrick current Ottawa County Commissioner for District 2 is set to retire at the end of 2016.
MIAMI— Commissioners reconvened Wed., Dec. 28, following holiday closures for Ottawa County to conduct their regular weekly session. The board meeting will likely be the last public session for retiring District 2 Commissioner Gary Wyrick (D-Wyandotte). Commissioners will meet again this week, but that gathering is planned as an executive session, which is not open to the public.
Before the meeting was officially called to order District 1 Commissioner John Clarke and District 3 Commissioner Russell Earls both expressed their gratitude for Wyrick's service and their mutual affection and respect for their retiring colleague.
"It's been a real honor and a pleasure working with you, Gary. Thank you for all of your hard work for the County," said Earls. "I know I truly appreciate all that you have done."
Wyrick has served as a member of the Ottawa Board of County Commissioners since 2009. Before serving as Commissioner Wyrick previously held a position with Ottawa County for 11 years before taking a short hiatus from County work and then seeking the District 2 seat.
When asked about his eight years of service as an Ottawa County Commissioner, Wyrick expressed pride in what he has accomplished, love of the work, and deep respect for his colleagues on the three-member board.
"It's been a great eight years, and I have really enjoyed it." Wyrick began. "I'm proud of what I've done. I definitely feel like I have left the County better than when I came in. We have done a lot. Built and paved roads, and worked with BIA to get a lot done. Seen bridges taken care of and used our own money to see things done.
"What can I say? It really is the best job a man could have. It has been great, and working with the other guys was good. I have a lot of respect for them, but I am ready for what's next. Time on my farm, with my wife, and enjoying my grandkids," Wyrick shared wistfully. "I love my cattle farm, and I'm looking forward to good things like hunting and fishing."
Wyrick also expressed his desire to step back as a matter of staying on top of his health. Having recently contended with cancer, he laid out plans to take advantage of his improved health.
"There was the cancer, you know... I loved the work, but it's time for different things," Wyrick offered plainly. "Heck, if I were a younger man I would have run again and tried for another eight years," he said laughing. "I learned a lot and got to meet and know so many people, but now it's time for family."
In the new year, Wyrick will be replaced by Democrat Chad Masterson, a life-long Ottawa County resident currently living just outside Wyandotte.
Masterson was elected to the District 2 seat during the 2016 general election in Nov., beating out Republican contender Jimmy "Poncho" King by a narrow margin. An employee for the City of Miami for over two decades, Masterson moves on from his final position as Cemetery Manager for the City to take on the responsibilities of a County Commissioner.