Eikmeier will be missed

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

We refuse to allow newly retired Cherokee City Administrator Don Eikmeier to just smile, tip his hat, and bid us all adieu with his job here all done.

Having the oportunity to work closely with Eikmeier since he hired himself in December, 2008, we have diligently chronicled Our Town's achievements, celebrations, failures, and frustrations with Don leading the way in his admirable, modest "i'm one of you, too" management style.

In 2007, Eikmeier served as a consultant out of Omaha employed to help the Cherokee City Council hire "the right" person for the complex job of City Administrator after a couple previous short-lived administrators were ushered out the door.

The more Eikmeier researched Cherokee and came to know its people and potential, and the more the sitting Council became familiar with him and his skills and integrity, the more both sides moved to an obvious solution that would benefit all - the hunter became the hunted and the City hired Don to guide its ship.

At the time of his hire, Don unabashadly told us, "getting to know the people, employees, department heads, and Council members made it much easier to make the decision to come here."

Many times, Don echoed those sentiments at Council meetings and publicly lauded his department heads, each steeped in their positions for 30 or 35 years or more and now also retired or appraching retirement.

Among his many skills so necessary in serving a municipality like Cherokee with all its beauty marks and warts, Eikmeier remained uncanny and fearless in stepping into the fire to field complaints, defend his employees and Council actions, and at least disarm if not dissuade the irate among us beating on City Hall's doors with our personal agendas and gripes.

Along with the mayor, Don facilitated Council meetings and many city goverment related meetings and events. And if he didn't have an answer to a question, he had one the next day and made sure those who asked it were informed.

Don's cell phone number was accessible to us 24-7, home and away, and if he ever didn't pick up, we knew he'd be calling back in short order because - above all - Don Eikmeier took care of business.

His well-planned projects for community betterment almost always came to fruition and playing with a budget deficit that plagues all small, rural communities did not deter him from achieving the goals he had for his adopted home town.

We will miss Don Eikmeier as a City leader and a friend. And we regret not having him serve us for more than seven years.

Don Eikmeier made a difference.

Don Eikmeier made us better.

Don Eikmeier, don't be a stranger.