New leaders in the new year

Best wishes to Schock, Ward, Eggers

January 4

It’s a good time to point out that three new leaders in the Mid-Columbia come to positions of responsibility in the first week of the New Year.

We wish good luck and strong backs to Rodger Schock, Rick Eggers and Bill Ward.

Schock will be sworn in Jan. 6 as chairman of the Hood River County Board of Commissioners. Schock, a businessman who is active in the community, defeated John Arens way back in May.

Our wish for Rodger is that, after so long a waiting period, actually taking office won’t be anticlimactic. But that is unlikely for a man with a take-charge spirit. Schock spent a large portion of 2002 in another field of leadership — he organized and led the Friends and Neighbors Choir that performed at Memorial Day services in May and at the Sept. 11 ceremony in Hood River.

Ward, a Mosier City Council member, will be sworn in as Mosier’s mayor on Jan. 8. Two new City Council members, Marco Long and Bob Simpson, will also take their oaths. Growth issues and a long string of civic improvements will fill Ward and company’s plate for the next two years. We wish them patience for what will seem like an endless string of meetings.

Rick Eggers is another familiar face, in an interim position he is well-qualified for: interim superintendent of Hood River County Schools. Eggers, despite his quiet demeanor, has shown leadership in the past few months, taking on a higher profile at district meetings following the resignation of Jerry Sessions. Eggers recently praised Sessions for working hard, despite “lame duck” status, in his last few weeks on the job. Yet it has been clear since October that Eggers and fellow assistant superintendent Marcia LaDuke sensed the need to step up and take a firm hand with district business. (LaDuke, unlike Eggers, has indicated an interest in applying for the superintendent’s job.)

Eggers will be among the first to share a joke during a public meeting, while still keeping things businesslike. And a recent statement showed that, as chief of a school district facing negotiations and a difficult budget process, he means business:

“This time around a lot of time will be spent on determining district priorities, because we know we will have less revenue. It will be a discussion that will have to involve a lot of groups,” he said.

For Eggers, we wish him a continued sense of humor throughout what will be a trying six months.

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