New commissioner adjusting to new role

For more than a quarter-century, when 9 a.m. on Tuesdays rolled around, you found Monticello’s Pat Sawatzke at the county courthouse taking point in a board of commissioners meeting. For 312 months, he represented District 2.
Darek Vetsch has held down that post for one month, dropping the number to 311 that he needs to catch up. As would be expected, his first month in office has been something of a whirlwind. If the job has been what he expected, the early returns are mixed.
“Yes and no,” Vetsch said. “As far as the time commitment that’s required and the issues that we face as commissioners, it’s pretty much what I expected it to be. But, finding information on the issues and navigating my way through has been something a little more challenging than I thought it would be. But, the other commissioners have been great aids to me in getting up to speed.”
Being a commissioner is a job you can prepare for, but not until you’re facing issues and asking to weigh in on the decisions that are made – some that are seven- or eight-figure decisions – it’s something difficult to prepare for. Given the number of issues to come out of nowhere, like the recent proliferation of solar farms in the county, you have to keep your head on a swivel because there isn’t a concrete job description.
“There are a lot of jobs that come with a handbook explaining a lot of the things you do from day-to-day, but county commissioner isn’t one of those jobs,” Vetsch said. “There’s no handbook for this one. You don’t even get told how to use the phone. You have to learn it on the fly and largely on your own. It’s a challenge.”

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