• Last modified 224 days ago (Oct. 13, 2023)


In memoriam

Marion County lost one of its most respected and beloved public servants when Treasurer Susan Berg succumbed last week to a long and courageous battle with cancer.

For decades, Susan was a tireless worker, dedicated to improving the hometown to which she returned. Whether by working in city government, in county government, or at this newspaper, where she continued her public service as a reporter and news editor, she never lost track of the people she was serving.

Whatever stereotypical image you may have of a bureaucrat, Susan was the opposite.

Throughout her lengthy battle, she refused to give in to self-pity or the all-too-common trait of portraying oneself as a victim. She simply pressed on, as best she could, serving the public that she loved and remaining the valued friend she had become to a vast number of people in the county.

Just a few days ago, while she should have been conserving energy for her own valiant battle, she appeared at the doorstep of this writer, bringing condolences, a welcome gift of rolls she had made, and her own indominible spirit. That was Susan. Nothing stopped her from doing what she saw as her duty to others.

Now, a handful of mainly anonymous people will select who fills her role in the treasurer’s office for the next two years. We may get a very good candidate out of the process, but one can’t help but believe that Susan, who put her faith in citizens, not elites, would have preferred that her seat be filled by a special election instead of a meeting of partisan precinct committeemen and women, most of whom ran unopposed and couldn’t be named by the people they supposedly represent.

The Hillsboro school board is willing to pay for a special election so it can go $13.35 million more in debt. Seemingly half the officials currently in the Courthouse originally were placed in their jobs by precinct committeemen and women. Couldn’t state law be changed to allow the public, not a social club of partisans, to select our next treasurer? Must democracy die when a beloved official passes away?


Last modified Oct. 13, 2023