By Josh Mitchell
Missourian Staff Writer
Franklin County Commissioner Terry Wilson contemplated his future as he sat in his cleared-out office.
“I think all of it’s a legacy,” said Wilson, who was born and raised in Franklin County.
After his defeat in the last election, he still plans to stay involved in public service once he exits office at the end of the month.
“It was interesting,” he said, adding that the job he had for 12 years came with criticism.
But as a former member of the Army and past military school student, he knows how to handle conflict.
“Sometimes being a leader, you’re isolated,” he said, noting that the only bad decision is not making one.
At the end of the day, the criticism must be left at the office or it will become consuming, he said.
The commissioners took some heat over the construction of the new county government building and judicial center, he said. But he said the need for new public facilities had been brought up since the 1970s.
“Now we’ve got good, functional facilities that will last quite some time,” Wilson said.
The creation of the Brush Creek Sewer District to address poor wastewater facilities around Pacific and Gray Summit is another one of the accomplishments he remembers.
“It had to be done,” Wilson said.
But he said the rates for the district could have been set higher, saying, “It’s still got a cash-flow issue.”
However, the sewer system that was put in place could bring economic development along the Interstate 44 corridor, he said.
The Labadie coal ash landfill issue stands out as one of the more controversial aspects of his tenure, he said.
Wilson supported the landfill for the Ameren power plant, adding that he thinks it will be safe.
“We hit resistance from some of the local people and the environmental community,” he said.
The Pave the County program, which became controversial after problems surfaced, is another memorable part of his 12 years.
Some of the roads were done improperly, Wilson said, adding that work had to be redone.
“It was a good program with flaws,” he said.
The Veterans Hall of Honor, which is on display in the old courthouse, is one of the prouder moments of his tenure, Wilson said. It is a museum that honors Franklin County veterans who served in conflicts going back to the Revolutionary War.
This is one area where he still plans to stay engaged in public service.
“As long as we have veterans, we’re going to be doing work on the museum,” Wilson said.
He also plans to keep helping out with a Civil War trail, which he said is an aspect of heritage tourism.
He does not have any regrets but said if he and the other commissioners had a fault it’s that they were too aggressive in trying to get things done.
“I think I’ve done everything in the world that I could,” Wilson said.
As far as not being re-elected, he said it comes with the turf. In politics, “the people control your destiny.”