Columbia County Board member retires in room named for him
The latest session of the Columbia County Board of Supervisors came to a close with congratulations, long farewells, retirements and the christening of a new board room.
About a dozen visitors and a cake recognized the 35 years of service John H. Tramburg, of Fall River, provided as District 19 Supervisor.
“John has served on a long list of committees, commissions and boards, and while I’m not going to read the whole list of committees, there are about two dozen,” said Columbia County Board of Supervisors Chairman Vern Gove.
Hitting highlights from decades in public service, Gove touched on Tramburg’s 20 years as Fall River Village Board president before joining the county board in 1982 following the resignation of Carl C. Frederick, serving as board chairman from 1992 to 1994, and since 2002 as chairman of the Finance Committee.
“John has guided the county through some good and not-so-good economic times,” said Gove. “John has made sure that our county budgets balance the services that our citizens need with a tax levy that our taxpayers can afford.”
The board unveiled two new features of its meeting room, the first a portrait of Carl C. Frederick hung on the front wall to the left of the main entrance, and on the other side of the door, a portrait of Tramburg. Gove announced that Room 114 would be named the John H. Tramburg Room.
“I wanted to thank John as one of the younger members of the board,” said Adam Field of Portage. “When I started, he was always willing to talk to me and explaining some of the things that happened in the past that got us to where we are today, and was always helpful and patient, and I can’t think of anyone more deserving of this honor.”
Before his first election in 2012, when Field was knocking on doors as a candidate, most people were unfamiliar with the board, its makeup and responsibilities, Field said, “but the one they all knew was John even though he’s on the other side of the county.”
“I was lucky enough to work with John for 15 years,” said Barry Pufahl, of Pardeeville. “The thing that impressed me is that he cared about the people he was representing. Politics didn’t get in the way, he was here for the county, he was here for the people, and he worked so hard and cared so hard about it.”
Columbia County Health Care Center Director of Activity Therapy Dianna Lang was also recognized during the meeting, retiring after 31 years with the county as of April. Director of Planning and Zoning John Bluemke was congratulated and thanked for his work between May 30, 2001, and his last day on April 2.
Another four supervisors were recognized before their exits at the end of the term: Steve Attoe, of Lodi; James Brooks, of Lodi; Teresa Sumnicht, of Columbus; and Fred Teitgen, of the town of Dekorra, who served between 2006 and 2012, then 2012 and 2018. Teitgen decided to forego a formal speech in lieu of a re-worked rendition of the song “My Way,” to the apparent amazement and delight of the rest of the board.
“It was more than I anticipated, by far,” Tramburg said after his motion to close the meeting was seconded and approved. “Did I appreciate and enjoy it? Yes, I think it was great. I’ve done a lot of work for Columbia County and the residents, the County Board and the committees, and it was always very rewarding, and I feel rewarded now that I have done all these things and it is time to step down and let someone else take the position.”
Ken Robson, of Portage, also declared he would not be running for re-election, making six total open seats, though all supervisor seats are up for election on April 3.