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Trusty takes stock

Outgoing Commissioner Phil Trusty said he’ll miss the constructive criticism in meetings as people gathered to solve a problem.

“I consider it a blessing that I got the opportunity to serve,” Trusty said New Year’s Eve after his last board meeting of his term.

Trusty, elected to his first county board term four years ago, said he became a commissioner at probably the worst time anyone could, as the economy went into its downward spiral.

During his term in office, he said there have been a lot of changes not the least of which was going from inches-thick paper meeting packets to electronic records.

He appreciated the work of employees to integrate departments, particularly Land Services, which he considered a successful change for customer service.

“It wasn’t me. It wasn’t the board. It was them,” he said of employees. Trusty still thinks there are any number of small programs at the county, state and federal level that could be rolled into one but he was reluctant to name specifics. He liked the initial efforts at Community Services to reorganize, saying it will take years for those plans to be realized but they are well on their way.

Trusty counted working for the people and the county departments as a highlight of his service. There are a lot of aspects of county government people don’t understand, he said, and he wished more people would get involved. He noted just a handful of people attended a night budget session aimed at being more accessible to residents.

Not a man for theatrics, Trusty said his style was for a more quiet service but he wasn’t afraid to reconsider issues or step out on a limb.

As he was cleaning out his desk drawer at the board table, Trusty said he hopes the board works together to look out for the majority of residents.

“I’ll probably sleep better at night now,” he said of leaving the stresses of the position behind where he was always wishing he could do more. After losing the election, Trusty said he’s left wondering what he did wrong to have 3,451 votes for his opponent Paul Koering. And Trusty said he feels he disappointed the 2,276 people who voted to return him to office.

Before his time on the Crow Wing County Board, Trusty was a 14-year township supervisor. He said time as a township officer put him in a position to understand how other township officials felt when coming before the board. Having more township officials involved such participation in the Development Review Team process pre-application meetings looking at proposed rezonings, variances and conditional use permits and plats is good.

Whether he’ll ever want to serve in public office will depend, he said, on the right situation. For now with young daughters at home, he is looking forward to having more time to spend with the family whether that’s making gingerbread houses or attending poetry readings.

“This will allow me more time with my family.”

Now he encourages people to get more involved, not just with voicing opposition on issues, but in coming up with answers and solutions.

RENEE RICHARDSON, senior reporter, may be reached at 855-5852 or Follow on Twitter at

Renee Richardson
Richardson is a Pacelli High School graduate from Austin, Minn., who earned an applied science degree from the University of Minnesota, Waseca, with an emphasis in horse management. She worked extensively in the resort industry. She received an associate’s degree from Central Lakes College, where she was editor of the Westbank Journal student newspaper, as well as a summer intern at the Dispatch. She graduated from St. Cloud State University summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and interned at the St. Cloud Times covering business while attending SCSU. She's been with the Brainerd Dispatch since 1996.
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