Franklin County Counselor Mark Vincent has announced his retirement after nearly three decades as a county employee.
Vincent told The Missourian his retirement will be effective March 1 and until that time he will continue in his regular duties.
“I will be doing my business just as I have over the last 27 years,” he said. “I am still the county counselor.”
Vincent added he’s unsure of what direction the county commission will take as far as his successor.
“I have no idea what they (commission) will do,” he said. “In my opinion they should look at one of the assistant county counselors, because there is a lot going on and it would be very hard to bring someone new up to speed.”
He added he would be willing to work with whomever the commission decides to bring in as his replacement until his retirement takes effect.
Vincent said he didn’t want any hoopla to surround his retirement and several factors played a role in his decision to step away.
“It is time to reprioritize my life,” he said. “I’ve spent my entire life in public service. Nine years in the Army, 25 years as the Union city attorney, 15 years as the Owensville city attorney and 27 with the county. Enough is enough.”
Vincent added he looked at the numbers and his benefits after he retires won’t be much less than he is making now. He did say he plans to pursue opportunities in health care and other places.
He also said his future plans include spending more time with his wife, and daughters in Dallas and his son in St. Louis.
“God has blessed me with a wonderful wife, three incredible children and one grandson who brings me more joy than I thought possible,” he said. “I owe it to them and to myself to rearrange my priorities.”
In his letter to commissioners and elected officials dated Jan. 22, Vincent said during his tenure he has met some wonderful people and had some great experiences.
“I have had highs and lows as we all do,” he said. “I have made many friends and have developed some enemies. I hope that through my service I have helped the communities and people that I have served.”
Vincent added the time has come for him to “pass on the cloak of service.” He also will retire from his position as county counselor and attorney for the Brush Creek Sewer District and the Industrial Development Authority effective March 1.
“Those of you who know me realize I will never be able to retire completely,” he said. “I will continue to practice law focusing on business and estate planning. The health care opportunities promise to be exciting and challenging, but they will allow me flexibility to put God and family first, something with which I struggled working for the county.”
The county counselor represents and advises all departments of county government on matters pertaining to civil law and all matters referred by the Franklin County Commission or other county offices.
On Dec. 19, Vincent was reappointed to his 27th year serving as the county’s legal counsel.
Assistant county counselors Joe Purschke, Steven White and Mary Zastrow also were reappointed, and Caleb Reed was added to the department.
Vincent is the highest paid non-elected county employee. His salary was $128,176 in 2017 and along with all county employees received a 2 percent cost of living increase, bringing his salary to $130,741 for 2018. According to county documents, his salary was $125,663 in 2016.
In his 2018 budget report, Vincent lists major accomplishments of 2017 as resolving all pending litigation between Art LeBeau and Eric Reichert and resolving a lawsuit between the county and the city of Pacific regarding the Brush Creek Sewer system.
The county counselor is responsible for preparing commission orders to be acted on by the county commission at its regular and special meeting. In 2017, Vincent prepared 525 commission orders, 529 in 2016 and 544 in 2015.
In addition to his county duties, Vincent has a private law practice in Union.
Second District Commissioner Dave Hinson said he wishes Vincent the best in his retirement and looks forward to a smooth transition.
He added a meeting will be scheduled soon to find Vincent’s replacement.
First District Commissioner Tim Brinker said the commission received a letter informing them Vincent was retiring and he was grateful for his service.
Presiding Commissioner John Griesheimer said Vincent requested to go out peacefully and he would honor his request.