Strissel adjusting to his new role as Hill County Commissioner

 

Last updated 1/28/2021 at 11:37am

Havre Daily News/Kimberly Bolta

Incoming Hill County Commissioner Jacob Stissel is sworn in Dec. 31 by Commissioner Mike Wendland, who did not run for reelection and whose seat Strissel won in the November election.

Hill County Commissioner Jake Strissel, the newest member of the Hill County Commission sworn in Dec. 31, said the experience has been exciting despite how much he has had to learn just to get up to speed.

"Holy cow, it's like drinking water out of a fire hose," Strissel said. ".... I'm enjoying the heck out of it."

He said his fellow commissioners, Diane McLean and Mark Peterson, have been great to work with and have helped immensely getting him up to date on everything that has been going on in the county, and everyone in the courthouse has done the same.

McLean said she's been impressed by her new colleague as well.

"Commissioner Strissel has been enthusiastic, willing to learn and easy to communicate with," she said. "I am pleased with our new beginning."

Hill County Commissioner Mark Peterson was not available for comment by print deadline this morning.

Strissel said there's still a lot to adjust to especially having come from a health care background, which involves adhering to strict to privacy laws and practices, and now working in an environment where so much of what he does is public information.


However, he said, he's been able to take advantage of the connective tissue between the two jobs because of the people of the county who have been instrumental in making the transition smoother.

"We live in a wonderful community where, by and large, the people are good-hearted," he said. "So transitioning from public health to public service has been really good and that has everything to do with the people of the Hi-Line."

Strissel said he's working on a project to get the North Side of Havre a new sewer system and make upgrades to the Beaver Creek Dam, both of which required him to testify before the Montana State Legislature, which was interesting.

"I've testified on behalf of my patients at Bullhook (Community Health Center), but to testify on behalf of the entire county was a new experience," he said.

He said he's also working on a project to upgrade the Hill County Courthouse's security system, which involved another new experience, the bid process.

Strissel said even as he works on these projects he's still figuring things out.

"For now, it's mostly getting my feet underneath me," he said.

Despite this, he said, he's still excited for the job and he's working well with his fellow commissioners and the rest of the courthouse who have helped prevent him from being overwhelmed.

He said, having been on a number of local boards before becoming commissioner, that he still sees old colleagues in his new capacity at the county, particularly Bullhook CEO Kyndra Hall on the 911 Board, and many members of the Hill County Behavioral Health Local Advisory Council.


Strissel said he's also meeting new people on other boards like the Hill County Park Board, and he's been happy to meet with them.

He said former Hill County Commissioner Mike Wendland, whose seat on the commision he took after Wendland did not run for reelection, continues to be a valuable resource for him as he continues to adjust to his new role.

He said Wendland traveled with him to Great Falls earlier this week to help him make sure his transition to being on the Center for Mental Health Board was as seamless as possible.

"He's not just leaving me out to hang," Strissel said. "He's been a really great support for me."

He said wanted to thank the people of Hill County again for giving him this chance, and that he will continue to work hard for them.

 

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