Saluting Public Service and Collaboration

by Andrew Rand Peoria County Board,

Lynn Scott Pearson and Mary Ardapple may have concluded their service on the Peoria County Board, but their ideas, passion and commitment to the public will be long remembered. Both of these strong leaders, along with retiring member Carol Trumpe, who was highlighted in July’s "Local Legends" issue, believe strongly in public service—and demonstrated that by choosing to run for public office.

A Long-Time Public Servant
A Peoria County Board member for 32 years, Lynn Scott Pearson can truly be called a public servant. Her extensive background of community service includes serving as president of the Board of Directors for Friendship House and chairperson of the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission. She has also served as a member of the Retired Senior Volunteer Program Advisory Council and the Peoria County Democratic Women Committee.

Lynn first ran for Peoria County Board in 1984 to have a say in two large facility projects at the time: the location of the Peoria County Jail and the expansion of the Peoria County Courthouse. At the time, the County Board was comprised of 27 members (18 today), and while she did not fall into the majority vote on these projects, she continued to work hard in other areas. During her tenure on the board, Lynn was chairperson from 1999 to 2000 and served on a multitude of committees, including the Regional Pollution Control Hearing Committee, Public Aid Committee, Position Evaluation Committee, Equal Opportunity Advisory Committee, Management Services Committee, Health and Environmental Committee, Executive Committee, Tax Committee and Health Services Committee, among others.

One of Lynn’s major accomplishments involved serving on the committee to look into the employee health plan. This committee interacted with the public and staff and worked diligently with a consultant to add prevention programs to lower costs for employee healthcare: incentivizing gym memberships, hosting wellness clinics and establishing year-round wellness programs. She also worked as part of a large Health Department committee concerning the regulation, permitting and maintenance of septic systems. Lynn collaborated with area residents, township governments, local retailers, the Sierra Club and installers to help set the county’s standards. She also cites the county's new long-term care facility, Heddington Oaks, a recently implemented solid waste plan, and the Health Department's HUD grant to remove lead from homes with children and expectant mothers as major achievements during her time in office.

Over the years, Lynn has found that public service "takes a lot of time, but is worth doing." She advises anyone thinking of running for office to "be patient, be respectful and listen." Lynn says she will continue to be active in the community and plans to spoil her grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

A Leader in Collaboration
Mary Ardapple was first elected to the board in 2010. Public service was instilled in her from a young age by the examples her parents set in their commitment to community. One of the reasons she chose to run for County Board was her feeling that "the responsibilities of a business owner do not only pertain to the operations of a business, but extend to the responsibility of being involved in the operations of our community."

Mary has always been one to listen and learn from constituents, taking seriously the trust and confidence residents placed in her as an elected representative. She valued working together as a board to lift the community as a whole. During her time on the board, Mary worked hard on many issues, but she primarily focused on promoting economic development and how to best share services with other local governments and community organizations. During her six years, she served on the Health and Environment Committee, where she collaborated with board members and staff on the solid waste plan and development of a grant fund to promote recycling projects in rural communities, as well as opening a discussion on possible uses for the Hanna City Work Camp and local food initiatives.

On the Peoria Metro Committee, comprised of both Peoria County Board and Peoria City Council members, Mary found the collaborative effort allowed for deeper discussions into the challenges of public-sector change. She helped move the ball forward in putting a roadmap in place to guide future leaders in how to collaborate for positive changes in our community, and for the past two years, she has chaired the Collaborative Committee. "The willingness of board colleagues, elected officials and department heads to implement the findings of a recent efficiency study, along with working together, side by side, on a strategic plan working document has been incredibly rewarding,” she explains. “These efforts showcase professional leadership qualities which demonstrate Peoria County is a governmental organization striving to serve citizens not only today, but well into the future."

My board colleagues and I wish Lynn, Mary and Carol the best in their future endeavors. Their ideas, enthusiasm and knowledge will certainly be missed. iBi