MARQUETTE - Retiring Marquette County Prosecuting Attorney Gary Walker, whose last day on the job is Saturday, bid goodbye Tuesday night at a meeting of the county board.
"I have had the privilege and honor of serving as Marquette County's prosecutor for 38 years," Walker said. "I want to thank the people of Marquette (County) for supporting me and supporting my service during that time. It has truly been for me a wonderful experience."
Walker, whose career marks the longest public prosecutor tenure in Michigan, will be succeeded by county chief prosecuting attorney Matthew Wiese, who was recently appointed to serve out the remainder of Walker's unexpired term, which ends Dec. 31, 2012.
The November election will determine who will fill the next full term.
"As I leave, I would note that the county is well-managed and in great financial shape, even in the face of the worst economic downturn that we've seen in the last 70 years," Walker said. "Marquette County enjoys a AA bond rating and this year received a perfect score from the state auditor, one of eight counties in the state. This is not by accident."
Walker said the employees and officials in the county are dedicated hard-working people who have helped make this a place that has received state and national recognition on a number of occasions.
"In my 38 years of managing an office, I have found that I really don't need to have my staff tell me when they think I'm doing a good job. I do need to have them tell me when they disagree with a decision I'm about to make," Walker said. "The decision has always been mine. I'm free to ignore their advice. I have, sometimes, and on reflection, maybe wish I hadn't. But one thing I have learned is that you cannot berate or intimidate those who disagree with you. To do so destroys morale and worse, it results in the cessation of valuable input that you need to make those decisions."
Walker wished everyone in the county a "safe, prosperous and happy new year."
To the county board, he said, "I wish all of you well. You have difficult decisions to make as the future goes forward and all I can say is, Godspeed."
The board applauded Walker. Commissioner Bill Nordeen said, "Thank you for your service, Gary."
John Pepin can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206.