LWV questionnaire: Putnam County Council At-Large
NOTE: Responses from one of the candidates was inadvertently left off this story when it was originally posted and printed in the paper.
With contested races in the Republican primary for Putnam County Commissioner District 3, three Putnam County Council At-Large seats, Putnam County Auditor and Putnam County Coroner, the Greencastle League of Women Voters recently asked the candidates for these six spots to respond to questions specific to the respective offices.
Each of the six candidates for the three Putnam County Council At-Large spots were asked two questions. The answers of the three who responded are printed below.
Responses from candidates in other contested races are also appearing on www.bannergraphic.com and in print editions of the Banner Graphic.
The 2020 primary election has been delayed to Tuesday, June 2 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
1. Why should voters choose you in this election? (150 words)
2. What are the two most important challenges facing our county and what do you propose to do to address them? (150 words)
Education: South Putnam High School, Ivy Tech Community College
Experience and Qualifications: Eight years Putnam County Auditor, nine years Auditorís Office, Recorderís Office and Plat Office
Community Involvements: Board member of Putnam County Operation Life
1. I feel the best way to serve as a County Council member you need to understand the departments and communicate with each department. Keeping a good line of communication between Council and departments is a key element to better service and savings. Every department works differently and has different needs. We need to continue to utilize grant funding to help continue to get projects done and better the county.
2. County roads and bridges are always one of our main challenges. With Covid-19 effecting our economy it has made it an even bigger challenge. With no vehicles on the roadways and no fuel being purchased this takes away from our funding to be able to maintain the roads and bridges. Covid-19 not only affects our funding of roads and bridges but our community. I worry about family, friends, and members of my community and all the small businesses. We, as a community, must continue to come together and help support one another. If elected I will help encourage our county to take advantage of stimulus money to help improve our infrastructure and local businesses.
Education: Hanover College - BA composite major business administration and economics (1980), Greencastle High School (1976)
Experience and Qualifications: 1998-Present: Owner, Earl & Co., CPA, LLC; 1988-98: CPA, Edward Wood & Co.; 1984-88: Staff Accountant, IBM; 1980-84: Accountant, DePauw University
Community Involvement: Greencastle Jaycees President, United Way Board, Chamber of Commerce Treasurer, Elks Lodge Trustee, Windy Hill Country Club Board, Middle School, Youth League, and AAU Coach
1. I have been a resident of Putnam County for almost my entire life. After a work-related transfer to Pennsylvania, my wife and I chose to move back to work and raise our family here. I believe my education and business background would assist in the council's many tough decisions. My work and community involvement brings me in contact with an excellent cross section of Putnam County residents and their many concerns.I am not a politician, nor do I have an agenda, but would like the opportunity to give back to the community which I proudly call home.
2. The budget process is by far the most important duty of the County Council. The budget should be reviewed diligently, and modified to adapt to the county's changing needs, not wants. The departments should work toward common goals and not as independent entities. Information sharing, bulk purchases, and possible support staff sharing could improve the overall proficiency. Less government is more and all should be accountable.
3. Due to the recent pandemic, a huge challenge will be to maintain current services and work force with possibly a much reduced revenue stream. The impact is unknown, but we need to begin to prepare today for tomorrow's issues, be proactive rather than reactive.
Infrastructure is always a challenge. Long-term planning, an exhaustive use of grants ,l and creative financing is needed. Putnam County has great potential, but must grow responsibly.
Education: MA (Distinction)- National Security Affairs, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, CA BA History, Indiana University, Bloomington, U.S. Army War College Diploma for Fellowship at Georgetown University, Georgetown, VA
Experience and Qualifications: County Council member and board member for a multitude of local and state level non-profits. Retired Senior Logistics Analyst for CGI, a $10 billion information technology firm with 76,000 employees worldwide, worked within a wholly owned U.S. subsidiary, CGI Federal, a government contractor providing a breadth of services to numerous departments of the federal government. A retired U.S. Army Transportation Colonel with 30 years of service leading and directing the actions of organizations and staffs ranging in size from a few to over 3,000. Hands-on experience in operations, analysis, budget, training, logistics and personnel in the U.S. and overseas, including Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom. Extensive experience with Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), the Joint Staff, the Service Departments and Combatant Commands. Direct experience with Congressional Staffs, Home Land Security, Departments of State and Transportation, and foreign governments. Elementary command of the German language and possessed a Secret or Top Secret Clearance for nearly 30 years.
Community Involvements: I have served on many non-profit boards, including the Putnam County Community Foundation (current president), Heritage Preservation Society of Putnam County (past president), Humane Society of Putnam County, Putnam County Museum, Greencastle High School Alumni Association (past treasurer), the County Economic Development Board, the County 911 Board, the West Central Indiana Economic Development District and the Indiana Landmarks Board.
1. The county will need to prepare for the adverse budgetary impacts on county government revenues from the COVID-19 pandemic. These will be both near term when it comes to reductions in revenue sources like Local Income Tax (LIT) and State Fuel Tax and long term with respect to property taxes. Residential Property Tax may be impacted, although the extent remains to be seen. There will almost certainly be a loss of several small businesses, thereby reducing Property Tax and Personal Property Tax revenue. These will show up in 2022. County must live within its means, so tough decisions will need to be made.
2. The countyís IT capabilities and media presence is poor, at best. Discussions about this have been off and on for some time, but need to be addressed. Currently, while overall funding is overseen by the County Council, the decisions on hardware and software solutions are generally made for each office by the elected officials. There is no county-wide system. Officeholders and employees do not have a county email address. There is no office or individual, whether it is a county employee or a contractor, that has overall oversight over county IT and media. The county website is archaic. There will be a cost associated with any efforts to improve this situation, but a solution would result in better public access and transparency. It would also enhance efficiency and collaboration between the multitude of county offices. Identify/hire a county employee or hire an IT firm to establish and mange a county system. Address the adverse revenue impacts of COVID-19; balance the budget.
Education: Red Rock Community College, Colorado School of Mines, U.S. Navy Nuclear Power School, Colorado Aero Tech A&P
Experience and Qualifications: 20 years business owner solving complex issues for construction and business sustainability
Community Involvements: PTBOA board since 2019
1. I believe we should be looking at the budget with projects in mind that will save county resources going forward into the future. Looking for long-term savings that helps with future budgeting issues. Roads, infrastructure, bridges and other county born expenses working with a qualified grant writer to get available federal money to assist our county in laying the groundwork for the future.
2. Future budgeting. We need to fix what we can now with available federal money. Things will be much more expensive in the future. There are many federal programs and money available if you are willing to take the time and apply for them. Buying right. It is our fiduciary responsibility to our local citizens to spend the local tax dollars wisely getting the most quality and value. I believe since this pandemic, we need to purchase goods from American companies to support the USA. We need to encourage growth in our community. Support our local companies continue their mission to create jobs, adding to our tax base helping to supporting our community.
Ronald Spencer II