At the Oct. 26 meeting of the Wright County Board of Commissioners, friends and co-workers had the opportunity to say goodbye to Chief Deputy Attorney Brian Asleson, who announced his retirement after 37 years working for the Wright County Attorney’s Office.
Among those in attendance were former County Attorney Tom Kelly and current County Attorney Brian Lutes, who both paid tribute to the work Asleson has done on behalf of the people of Wright County and those fortunate enough to call him a co-worker and friend.
“He’s a great attorney, but he’s an even better man,” Lutes said. “At my swearing in, I coined the nickname ‘The Answer’ because that’s what he is. He’s been the go-to person for our office, whether it’s data practices questions, civil questions or something obscure that comes up – not just for my office, but the county as a whole. He has served that special role as the go-to person for so many years that he’s almost irreplaceable.”
Lutes, who has worked with Asleson for the last 22 years, said his retirement is a bittersweet moment for him and the entire County Attorney’s Office because he has been a constant around the office and a friend to all who worked for him and with him. Lutes said Asleson has deserved his opportunity to enjoy retirement, but added that he will be missed because he was an indispensable part of the County Attorney’s Office for so long.
“You reflect at times like this for what Brian has meant to the county and meant to our office,” Lutes said. “I don’t think we’ll truly know the value that Brian means to all of us until he’s gone and we truly realize what he’s done day-to-day for so many years and isn’t there anymore. He wore so many hats and is just a go-to person – there’s no other way for me to say it.”
Kelly echoed that sentiment, saying he counted on Asleson to be his righthand man for many years and that he exceeded any and all expectations Kelly had for him.
“My first act as county attorney was appointing Brian as my chief deputy and I never looked back,” Kelly said. “I knew running the County Attorney’s Office was going to be a two-headed dragon and I needed someone I could trust and depend upon 100 percent 24 hours a day to run my civil division and my God, he’s been the cat’s meow.”
Asleson expressed his appreciation to the hundreds of county employees he worked with over the years because his job entailed working with the county board and numerous different county departments. He said it was a pleasure to come work every day in no small part because of the working relationship and friendship he developed with Kelly and Lutes over the years.
“Working for good bosses – the last two of whom are here, Brian and Tom – people who are easy to get along with and easy to work with,” Asleson said. “You can’t work at a place if you don’t get along with your boss. It makes life tough.”
Over his 37 years with the county, Asleson has seen a complete turnover in county personnel, working alongside four county attorneys, two county coordinators/administrators, four auditor/treasurers, five county sheriffs, two highway engineers and 19 county commissioners. He has been with Wright County so long that all of the commissioners that were there when he started are since deceased. However, he added that while the numbers may seem like a lot, when viewed over the span of almost four decades, there has been a lot of continuity in county government.
Asleson was presented a retirement plaque and received a standing ovation as thanks for a job well done for long.
“Wright County will always have a special place in my heart,” Asleson said.