ORIGINALLY WRITTEN BY DON RATZLAFF
After spending almost a decade as a ?full-time volunteer? for several county causes, Eileen Sieger of rural Marion has filed for a seat on the Marion County Board of Commissioners.
A Republican, Sieger filed by petition March 9 for the seat in District 2 that will be vacated by Linda Peterson.
Sieger, 56, has lived in Marion County most of her life. She graduated in 1961 from Marion High School, then earned a bachelor of science degree in education from Emporia State University.
After teaching in Wichita public schools for seven years and living for a time in Tulsa, she and her husband, Harry J. ?Skip? Sieger, returned to this area in 1976 to take over the family farm.
Their farm-ranch operation is located on K-150 near the Chase County border. The couple have one daughter, who is married.
Since moving back, Sieger was a substitute teacher in Marion schools for about a dozen years and has been on the district?s curriculum review board. Through the years she has always helped in the farm-ranch operation.
For most of the past decade, Sieger volunteered for county causes. She is in her ninth year as a member of the Marion County Planning Commission/Board of Zoning Appeals, and has been chair of the commission for more than the past six years.
In 1994 she was appointed to the planning committee for a regional solid waste authority, which resulted in the Central Kansas Regional Solid Waste Authority in partnership with McPherson, Harvey and Dickinson counties. She was a member of the board?s implementation committee until May 1999.
Sieger was also appointed to the committee to oversee the 911 rural addressing project. She chaired the committee as it went through the process of naming roads and assigning addresses.
?I?ve been a volunteer for the county, so this seemed like a natural progression when I learned of Linda Peterson?s decision not to seek re-election,? she said.
Other involvements include being a lifetime participant in the Girl Scouts. For the past 19 years she has been a member of the Girl Scout Council of the Flint Hills, which includes seven and a half counties. She is a past president of the board of directors and is its current first vice president.
She has also served as an officer of the Girl Scout Foundation and for two years was chair of the Kansas Legislative Monitor Program for the Girl Scout Council.
Sieger continues to serve as treasurer of Preserve the Heartland, an ad hoc organization formed in the early 1990s to oppose Fort Riley?s effort to acquire additional property in the area for tank training.
?I think the things I?ve worked on as a volunteer have been an effort to maintain and preserve a good quality of life in this area,? she said.
She said she would like to continue that goal as a commissioner and to foster a greater spirit of cooperation between the county and the cities.
?I don?t want to make an inference that there?s a real problem there, but I think there have been some concerns in that area,? she said.
One of the key issues for greater cooperation is recycling, which has been at the heart of her work with the regional solid waste board.
?It?s no secret that recycling has been a real focus for me for years,? she said.
?I would support something that would give us more accessibility and more opportunity for recycling,? she said. ?County-wide recycling somehow needs to happen. How that will work is something that has to be worked out with the cities. I can certainly understand that if they have something that works for them, they wouldn?t want to change over.?
In regard to landfill issues in the county, she supports the existing solid waste regional plan that has been updated for Marion County.
?I support the plan and the procedures and methodologies that are set in place in the plan,? she said. ?It addresses a procedure for any solid-waste facility?and not only a landfill but also a transfer station?that would want to come into the county.?
Because of pending litigation regarding the old landfill near Marion and a permit application for a new one that has yet to be acted upon, she declined to elaborate on her stand on the future of landfills in the county except that such a prospect ?would have to be looked at from all directions? to see if it followed the existing plan.
ORIGINALLY WRITTEN BY DON RATZLAFF