Trustee candidates respond to League of Women Voters questionnaire

Monday, October 22, 2018

Greencastle Township

Steve Butts Ė Republican

1. If you are an incumbent, what are you most proud of accomplishing during your time in office? If youíre a newcomer, what are you most looking forward to tackling if elected?

(A) Have increased the guidelines for poor relief without increasing taxes.

(B) Working on a coupon program that should increase service for clients and save township funding.

(C) Have established short term shelter.

(D) Are now able to direct our clients to other programs available to them.

(E) Restoring Hanna Street Cemetery within budget.

2. What do you think the greatest challenge faced by a township trustee is?

Trying to find additional service that can help over and above our Emergence assistance.

3. As a trustee, you are the voice of the township. How will you connect with township residents to determine what issues matter most to them? (100 word response)

Being able to relieve stress to someone who is in need. To provide some comfort to families who have lost a loved one that we provide a proper burial.

4.What role will you play in providing temporary housing, utility or food assistance to low-income residents in your township? How you will reach out to residents to let them know about available services?

Information on programs that utility companies provide. Our office has a good relationship with community Housing programs. Provide locations for food assistance.

Russell Harvey Ė Democrat

1. If you are an incumbent, what are you most proud of accomplishing during your time in office? If youíre a newcomer, what are you most looking forward to tackling if elected?

I most look forward to working with the community to connect and create resources that will allow low-income families or people that feel like theyíre just spinning their wheels to begin to gain some traction and start moving forward. We must stop merely writing checks for temporary relief, but instead provide ways to empower people to create sustainability. The goal is to provide aid needed for the moment, but to also provide ways to strengthen financial situations long term to build stronger individuals and families which ultimately build a stronger community overall. Maintaining a balanced budget and connecting community resources will create better use of tax dollars to not only assist Township families but will also allow for an increase to the Fire Department budget and other Township needs as well.

2. What do you think the greatest challenge faced by a township trustee is?

Providing funds to aid the Fire Department, maintain cemeteries and perform various Trustee duties while having the foresight to anticipate assistance needs for low-income families can be challenging. A balanced budget is important to meet community needs effectively and efficiently. It requires using past data and understanding the tempo of the community from fluctuations in the job market that potentially impact families need for assistance to projecting needs for the Fire Department and other Township needs. Being a good steward of hard earned Township tax dollars is the greatest responsibility of a Trustee.

3. As a trustee, you are the voice of the township. How will you connect with township residents to determine what issues matter most to them?

Utilizing websites, email and social media are great ways to connect with the community. They also provide ways for people to receive information and communicate outside of office hours. Of course, face to face interaction is the best method. Extending office hours to include weekend hours provide more opportunity for access. In addition, participating in community events, conversations, and town hall type discussions provide opportunities to not only share information, but to also hear directly from the community.

4. What role will you play in providing temporary housing, utility or food assistance to low-income residents in your township? How you will reach out to residents to let them know about available services?

There are a variety of resources that exist locally to assist low-income residents in addition to the Township Trustee. Connecting those resources to avoid overlap while creating ways to fill resource gaps is vital. Partnering and collaborating for community events is a great way to interact with Township residents and create awareness. Building relationships with local organizations, churches and community groups not only creates awareness, but leads to more efficient distribution of local resources for those in need.

Madison Township Trustee

Jeffrey Alexander Ė Republican

1. If you are an incumbent, what are you most proud of accomplishing during your time in office? If youíre a newcomer, what are you most looking forward to tackling if elected?

During my time as trustee, the advisory board and I have worked hard to make sure our fire department has what it needs to protect themselves and our residents.

2. What do you think the greatest challenge faced by a township trustee is?

There really is no ďgreat challengeĒ facing this position. Recently the most difficult challenge is keeping up with all the changes the state has made in reporting.

3. As a trustee, you are the voice of the township. How will you connect with township residents to determine what issues matter most to them?

My door is always open, my phone is always on!

4. What role will you play in providing temporary housing, utility or food assistance to low-income residents in your township? How you will reach out to residents to let them know about available services?

For the most part, we have an outstanding township. Township assistance is very low. This speaks well of our residents. The jobs are out there for the people to get to support themselves.

J.D. Grove Ė Democrat

1. If you are an incumbent, what are you most proud of accomplishing during your time in office? If youíre a newcomer, what are you most looking forward to tackling if elected?

As Madison Township trustee, my focus would be on identifying and addressing the needs of people in poverty in our area. I would continue my community work to address hunger and homelessness, through outreach to programs that target food insecurity. I would assist Beyond Homeless in their efforts to provide a shelter for homeless men, which is badly needed. I would work to support local efforts to address the opioid crisis that is contributing to poverty and instability, even in rural areas. As a Greencastle business owner, I frequently encounter people in need of food, clothing, housing, mental health care, and addiction counseling. I would use my position as trustee to provide solutions to these problems in ways that I cannot as a business person.

2. What do you think the greatest challenge faced by a township trustee is?

When I arrived in Greencastle in 2002, I was faced with the enormous task of building a home with no tools, electricity, or water on my family homestead site. I spent my first Greencastle winter living in a tent. If I had known that there was a government position responsible for assisting people in poverty, I would have asked for help. The challenge that faces the township trustee is in reaching the people who need their assistance, even if these people are not referred by social service agencies. Poverty and homelessness in rural areas is often invisible, and itís our job to look harder.

3. As a trustee, you are the voice of the township. How will you connect with township residents to determine what issues matter most to them?

I am a proponent of visibility, transparency, and just showing up and being available. As township trustee, I would work toward making the position of trustee as transparent and accessible as possible, so that those who need my services could easily get in touch with me no matter what their situation. I would balance an active online presence and public outreach. For our residents with computer access, I would facilitate an online forum where I could address questions. I would also publicize meetings of the township board and encourage township residents to attend and ask questions in person.

4. What role will you play in providing temporary housing, utility or food assistance to low-income residents in your township? How you will reach out to residents to let them know about available services?

I would use my position as township trustee to broaden the scope of services that I can provide to people who are experiencing poverty, homelessness, or addiction. I am already an active participant and volunteer at several local programs, like the non-food pantry at St. Andrews which feeds many families each month and provides household staples that cannot be purchased with food stamps. I would examine and broaden the reach of grassroots outreach programs, like the Little Free Pantry Project and associated Giving Garden network. I would be an active presence for the people who need help the most.

Clinton Township Trustee

Tina Sillery Ė Republican

1. If you are an incumbent, what are you most proud of accomplishing during your time in office? If youíre a newcomer, what are you most looking forward to tackling if elected?

As a newcomer, I will be freeing up funds because I will not be taking the health insurance paid for by the township. I am most looking forward to finding where that extra money is needed the greatest and will be most beneficial to the township.

2. What do you think the greatest challenge faced by a township trustee is?

Simply put, the greatest challenge is appropriating the budget according to the needs of the township. In my opinion, protecting our residents by adequately funding the volunteer fire department and providing poor relief are the top two priorities, but we also need to preserve our history by upkeeping our cemeteries.

3. As a trustee, you are the voice of the township. How will you connect with township residents to determine what issues matter most to them?

The use of social media can be a powerful tool for communication, as it does not cost the township anything. If social media accounts are kept up-to-date, this would be a successful way to be the voice of the township. Among social media, making myself available through e-mail, phone and my own personal social media accounts will also open the door to more transparency between township affairs and the residents.

4. What role will you play in providing temporary housing, utility or food assistance to low-income residents in your township? How you will reach out to residents to let them know about available services?

By simply being available, I can offer assistance using my knowledge gained by working for the county for so many years. This would include educating residents on available resources within our county and helping them find any available savings, like utility budget billing, that would help their family save money. I would reach out to residents again by using social media. I would also be in touch with local churches and utilities to ensure that they have my name and contact information.

Chelsea Fidler Ė Democrat

1. If you are an incumbent, what are you most proud of accomplishing during your time in office? If youíre a newcomer, what are you most looking forward to tackling if elected?

I am newcomer so this entire process has been pretty exciting, but Iím mainly looking forward to tackling issues surrounding poverty in Clinton Township. I want to help provide more stability to families in need while also educating other citizens about how they can help their own community as well. I have personally seen so many hardworking people struggle financially and I would love to be the person they can call if they ever need something. I donít want to just get elected and then not return peopleís phone calls or emails like a lot of our current incumbents have been doing. If Iím fortunate enough to get elected I will do everything I can to let the people of Clinton Township know that I am always present and willing to listen.

2. What do you think the greatest challenge faced by a township trustee is?

If I am elected I believe the greatest challenge will be defeating the typical stereotypes of being a Democrat in an area that is heavily Republican. I feel like it is common for both parties to point fingers instead of taking a second to listen to each other so we can all have a better understanding of our goals. I would never turn someone away because their views arenít the same as mine.

3. As a trustee, you are the voice of the township. How will you connect with township residents to determine what issues matter most to them?

I plan on connecting with the Clinton Township residents by talking to them face to face and by returning phone calls and emails regarding any questions or concerns they may have. I donít want to just tell people Iím the Clinton Township Trustee, I want them to tell me what they need. I want them to know that Iím not here to talk about myself and that Iím always listening to them.

4. What role will you play in providing temporary housing, utility or food assistance to low-income residents in your township? How you will reach out to residents to let them know about available services?

I will provide whatever information and assistance I can find for low-income residents of Clinton Township. I will reach out to the residents by calling them, emailing them or even personally meeting them if needed. I also plan on attending as many community meetings as I can in order to let people know what assistance is available to them. This has been a learning process for me and Iím hoping I can gather as much information as possible so I can help the community in every way I can.

Floyd Township Trustee

Marsha Carrington Ė Republican

1. If you are an incumbent, what are you most proud of accomplishing during your time in office? If youíre a newcomer, what are you most looking forward to tackling if elected?

The cleanup of the two cemeteries the township maintains.

2. What do you think the greatest challenge faced by a township trustee is?

Maintaining a working budget without over taxing the township residents.

3. As a trustee, you are the voice of the township. How will you connect with township residents to determine what issues matter most to them?

By continuing to work with those requesting poor relief.

4. What role will you play in providing temporary housing, utility or food assistance to low-income residents in your township? How you will reach out to residents to let them know about available services?

I will continue to follow the state laws regarding the duties of a trustee and to make sure the office phone number is available to all in need.

Tom Chiarella Ė Democrat

1. If you are an incumbent, what are you most proud of accomplishing during your time in office? If youíre a newcomer, what are you most looking forward to tackling if elected?

I want to improve communications. I want to make the trusteeís office less of a mystery to our citizens. Iím looking forward to making the workings of the Floyd Township Trusteeís Office more apparent to everyone who lives there. Iím planning to maintain a webpage, to announce meetings in advance and hold meetings in public spaces. Iím also eager to work on the issue of ambulance coverage for the northern part of the county by exploring the possibility of temporary trustee support (from the affected townships) until the county commissioners are able to figure out how to fund full coverage for the entire county. Iím also looking forward to reducing costs by reducing the trustee salary and benefits to more accurately reflect the work associated with the job.

2. What do you think the greatest challenge faced by a township trustee is?

I believe the biggest challenge is maintaining communication with all citizens of the township. Iíll be more fully accessible to our citizens in person, on the phone and via the internet and responsive to all inquiries. Iíve driven every road of the township, and I will work to be open to ways the trustee can help the members of our community who need it most.

3. As a trustee, you are the voice of the township. How will you connect with township residents to determine what issues matter most to them?

I will maintain office hours, at my property, and in selected public spaces at scheduled hours. I will furthermore pick up my phone and answer all emails.

4. What role will you play in providing temporary housing, utility or food assistance to low-income residents in your township? How you will reach out to residents to let them know about available services?

I believe this is a core responsibility of the trustee. The trustee is not there to protect money from being assigned to those in need, but rather to be sure if it is spent effectively and to the maximum benefit of those who are hurting. In addition to the measure listed above (in #3), I will work to develop communications with all citizens by being accessible to all, by consulting with local leaders (including law enforcement and clergy) and working to monitor the effects of weather emergencies on our local citizenry.