Former longtime Stevens Industries employee John Niemerg said his private sector managerial experience makes him the best candidate for Effingham County circuit clerk.
Niemerg, 53, is the Republican candidate for circuit clerk. Ironically, Democratic opponent Pam (Funneman) Mathy is a classmate from the Teutopolis High School Class of 1977. County Republicans asked him to seek the position after the primary election earlier this year.
“Twenty-five years in the private sector has prepared me to be circuit clerk,” Niemerg said. “In the private sector, we get things done and done right.
“Being for-profit means you have to watch your expenses and how you treat your employees.”
Niemerg said the most important issue facing the clerk’s office is repairing the damage done by a bitter Democratic primary fight between Mathy and two-term incumbent Becky Jansen. Mathy had been a deputy circuit clerk for six years before seeking her boss’ job.
“There’s been a couple of factions at odds with each other,” he said. “I’ve got the right experience to solve that. You manage the process, not the person.”
Niemerg said goals for the office include increasing office efficiency.
“I want to see what other clerk’s offices are doing,” he said. “More efficiency leads to better employee morale and job satisfaction.”
Niemerg said he also plans to cut costs in the office.
“I want to create employee incentives for cost savings,” he said. “You cut costs the same way you do at home or in the private sector — by taking a no frills approach and spending only what is necessary.”
Niemerg said his managerial experience sets him apart from Mathy.
“Her experience has been focused on a certain task,” he said. “But managing an office is a lot different.”
Niemerg said he would draw on his 25 years at Stevens, in which he moved up from machine operator to master trainer. He left Stevens in early 2011, but has since become a salesman at Goeckner Bros. Motors.
In addition to graduating from THS in 1977, Niemerg has attended both Lake Land College and Eastern Illinois University. The single father of one also spent nine years in the Illinois Army National Guard.
Niemerg is a member of St. Isidore’s Catholic Church in the Bishop Creek community between Effingham and Dieterich. Other memberships include the Effingham County Farm Bureau and Experimental Aircraft Association.
Bill Grimes can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 132, or at firstname.lastname@example.org