Chesterton Tribune

 

 

Retiring county roads boss gets fond farewell

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By JEFF SCHULTZ

Porter County Highway Superintendent Al Hoagland’s 34-year career culminated with praise from Indiana Governor Mike Pence’s office.

State Representative Ed Soldiay, R-Valparaiso, and State Senator Ed Charbonneau, R-Valparaiso, were on hand at Tuesday’s Porter County Commissioner meeting to present Hoagland with the governor’s Distinguished Hoosier Award recognizing him as a type of individual that “distinguishes themselves thtrough significant contributions to their communities.”

Hoagland, who retires on Aug. 14, received a standing ovation in the Commissioners’ Chambers. He has served as superintendent since 2003 and started as a driver in 1980.

Commissioner President John Evans, R-North, cited Hoagland’s service to his country with honor in Vietnam while enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corp. Evans said the demands of a highway superintendent required being on call 24/7 for 365 days a year. He thanked Hoagland’s wife Sue and family for their “bountiful patience, understanding and support” throughout his days as a county employee.

The Commissioners also commended Hoagland’s strategic ability to keep costs down when the state slashed road budgets.

“Al has worked miracles in assuring that the nearly 800 miles of county roads and 126 bridges remain safe and properly maintained,” Evans said.

After accepting the award, Hoagland said a few words about the demands of the job.

“It’s always been challenging and no matter who does it, it’s never going to end. I just tried to do a good job. Thank you all for this award,” he said.

Hoagland resides in Hebron and is a 1966 graduate of Hebron High School.

The Commissioners have yet to announce who will succeed Hoagland as the next highway superintendent.

Later in the meeting, the Commissioners also recognized its ITS Support Technician Deborah Butterfield who is also retiring this year after 23 years of service.

Evans said local governments around the state are seeing a large number of retirements due to state lawmakers’ changes to the Public Employee Retirement Fund. Annuity interest rates for PERF are expected to drop to 7.5 percent in October and dip to five percent next year, Evans said, until they reach the regular market rate in 2016.

“Governments are losing a wealth of knowledge because of this and it really is too bad,” Evans said.

 

 

Posted 8/6/2014