WILLMAR -- After working 40 years in the Kandiyohi County Auditor's office -- 25 of those as the elected auditor/treasurer -- Sam Modderman attended his last county board meeting Tuesday.
Modderman, 68, is retiring April 27.
Tall, lanky and usually quiet, Modderman took time during the meeting to publicly thank the commissioners, his staff and the voters who elected him to six consecutive terms in office.
"It's been a good working relationship," said Modderman of the current and past county board members that he's worked alongside.
He issued a special thanks to the county's department heads, saying it's been a privilege to work with them.
He said Kandiyohi County is unique because the staff and department heads "get along very well together." That doesn't happen in every county, said Modderman.
Always humble, Modderman credited the experienced staff in his office for generating positive public feedback.
"Your staff is what makes your office run," he said.
The staff's longevity means the office has people who are "committed and knowledgeable and the source of positive comments," he said.
The room got quiet when Modderman gave an emotional tribute to his wife and family who he said made sacrifices at home while he put in extra hours at work so he could live out his "passion."
Modderman said it has been an "honor" to serve the county and he was "grateful" for the opportunity.
"Thank you for all your years of service," said Chairman Richard Larson, as the board, county staff and others in the meeting room gave Modderman a standing ovation.
Modderman's term doesn't actually end until the end of 2013.
Assistant Auditor Mark Thompson has been appointed to fill the remainder of the term.
A retirement open house for Modderman will be from 1 to 3 p.m. April 27 in the multipurpose room of the Kandiyohi County Health and Human Services Building, 2200 23rd St. N.E., Willmar.
Meanwhile, the county is in the process of studying plans for potentially redesigning the structure and work flow of several departments.
The Legislature is also considering a bill that would allow the county to continue studying whether to appoint the auditor/treasurer and recorder rather than electing people to serve in those capacities. Action on that bill is expected this week.