County surveyor submits sudden resignation
There are two things longstanding County Surveyor Dan Linscheid is certain of: He’s ready to retire and he wants no fanfare as he bids the county farewell.
After 41 1/2 years with the county, Linscheid is planning to vacate his $72,173 elective office Feb. 1. He hand-delivered a letter of resignation on Wednesday, Jan 16.
The announcement caught most observers off guard, including Commissioners Kathy George and Mary Stern.
In their first formal meeting since the development, they said Thursday they wished he had given them warning. Stern said while she wasn’t entirely surprised, as Linscheid is 65, the short notice took her by surprise.
Newly elected Commissioner Allen Springer said Linscheid did mention imminent retirement plans when they met just prior to Springer’s swearing-in, but didn’t set a date.
The retirement presents commissioners with a public policy issue: Should the office remain elective, or should it be made appointive, as state law now allows?
Forseeing that development, Linscheid made a case for keeping the office elective in his resignation letter. But the commissioners seemed to be leaning toward making it appointive, given its relatively narrow and technical nature.
While he didn’t regret his decision to resign, Linscheid said, he did regret giving the commissioners an opening for making the office appointive. As far as he’s concerned, he said, voters have made their preference clear and the commissioners should honor that.
Linscheid joined the surveyor’s office as a draftsman in 1971. He was elected surveyor in 1994 and been re-elected four times since.
The county adopted a three-term limit on elected officials during his tenure, but he sought and obtained a waiver. George and Stern said they supported the wavier out of respect for his long tenure and good work.
In 1996, Linscheid was named surveyor of the year by a professional group, which cited his campaign to locate and restore the corner markers used in the original surveying of the county’s 718 square miles. In the course of the campaign, tree blazes and other makeshift markers were replaced with permanent brass caps.
That was almost 20 years ago, and the scale of the undertaking was so large that Linscheid just completed work on it last year.
The markers, occasionally dug up inadvertently in the course of construction projects, are not just of interest to historians and geocachers. They help the surveyor’s office fine-tune its geographic data, thus enabling it to produce better results for property owners.
“We finished that in 2012, and I feel really good about that project,” Linscheid said. Citizens will benefit from that for many, many years.”
“It was always a pleasure to work with him and think he was a true asset to the county,” Stern said. “His knowledge and his integrity were valued assets.”
Planning Director Mike Brandt agreed, saying his departure represents a loss to the county.
“Dan was always very helpful with us and the constituents,” Brandt said. “He understood the nuances of state statutes and was very professional. He was always responsive, and was a good guy to work with.”
Linscheid said his wife, Jeanne, a phlebotomist, retired in July. He said he’s been eager to follow.
“Ever since she retired, I’ve seen her relaxing and wanted to join her,” he said. “I’m excited to retire.
“I’ve got no hard feelings. It’s just time for me to leave.”
Linscheid had only one final request to make of the commissioners and his other colleagues: “No going away party or anything like that.”
He said, “I’ve got no hard feelings. Nobody is pushing me out. It’s just time for me to go.”
And he said he’d prefer as little fuss as possible.