Friday, March 4 was the final day on the job for Macomb City Administrator Dean Torreson, who retired after eight years in western Illinois and more than 30 years of work in city administration.
Torreson previously worked in Iowa in the small towns of Spencer, Atlantic, Osceola, and West Point.
“I was raised in a small community in Iowa (on a farm outside Graettinger) so I feel comfortable in smaller towns,” Torreson said. “It’s been a gratifying career. I wouldn’t change it.”
Torreson said working in local government gave him a chance to handle a wide range of responsibilities, which appealed to him.
“It’s a very satisfying thing when the organization is clicking and when everyone is pulling together. And if you can be at the center of that and help that organization grow, it’s a very satisfying feeling,” Torreson said.
He said he’s been interested in politics and government since he was in grade school. He recalls reading the Weekly Reader in school and developed an interest in how communities and nations are organized and governed.
Torreson believes Americans in general don’t trust government as much as they did when his career began. He blamed the rise of talk radio hosts such as Rush Limbaugh. Torreson disagrees with Limbaugh and those of his ilk. Torreson said he’s a believer in government – limited government – and that some things must be handled by government, such as building roads, providing trained and professional police and fire services, and building water plants.
“To deny that there is a legitimate place for government in people’s lives and in society is pretty much ridiculous,” Torreson said.
Torreson said he had a good working relationship with Macomb Mayor Mike Inman. He said Inman granted him a great deal of autonomy, and Torreson in turn kept the mayor informed on important issues and sought out his opinion.
Torreson and his wife Vicky are moving back to northwest Iowa. She also grew up in that region and the two attended the same high school.
Macomb's new city administrator is Sue McLaughlin, who began work this past week.