On a sunny Monday afternoon at Bunker Hills Regional Park, Anoka County leaders hosted a retirement reception for former County Commissioner Jim Kordiak, who officially left his seat after 32 years. Kordiak worked the crowd with a youthful frenzy, hugging and handshaking his way across the room.
It was a party 64 years in the making.
“Since May of this year, people have been saying goodbye to me,” said Kordiak, referring to his announcement last spring that he was retiring and moving to Vero Beach, Florida. “I’ve had a fine career.”
Kordiak took over the District 4 commission seat in 1986 after his father, Al, had held it for 32 years before that. Both Kordiaks held court in their shared tax and business services office in Columbia Heights, where constituents would come to share what was on their minds.
“They always knew where to find me, they knew they could come to me, and they always knew, throughout these many decades, that the Kordiaks, collectively, would do whatever we can to serve their needs and interests,” the younger Kordiak reflected during his reception. “If I were crazy enough, I’d do 42 years (including time as a probation officer) all over again.”
Kordiak counted among the major Anoka County initiatives he was a part of the Connect Anoka County high-speed fiber optics project as one he’ll always remember.
“I’ve seen a lot happen and I know the same things are going to happen,” as the county moves forward, Kordiak said. “The county is going to continue to grow, the transportation needs are going to continue to expand. The issues of the people in this county are going to continue.”
Among those to pay tribute to Kordiak at the reception were his county commission colleague—and former commission chair—Rhonda Sivarajah. She recently gave up her chair position in a ceremonial move so that Kordiak could chair his last meeting on December 18.
“It really has been an honor to serve with him,” Sivarajah told the crowd. “The thing I’ve always appreciated about Jim Kordiak is: for him, it’s about teamwork and how can we all come together and come up with the best product possible.”
After his final commission meeting on December 18, Kordiak finished loading his car and headed off to his new life in Florida.
“I will be involved in the community,” he promised the crowd. “I’ve already joined the Lion’s Club, my local church, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Keep America Beautiful recycling campaign. That’s the only thing I know how to do.”