Chesterton Tribune



Good faces Perdue in County Commissioner race

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In the general election on Tuesday, Nov. 6, incumbent Jeff Good will face a challenge from Donna Perdue for the Center district seat on the County Board of Commissioners. The Chesterton Tribune invited them to respond to candidate questionnaires.

The Tribune set word limits for each question and reserved the right to edit for length.

(1) Age, place of residence, occupation.

Good: 57 years old, Valparaiso, President/Owner of Good Hospitality Services Inc., a hotel management and development company specializing in select service hotels.

Perdue: 52; Valparaiso; Self-employed - marketing.

(2) For Good: Why are you seeking re-election to the County Board of Commissioners? (75 words)

I am seeking re-election for this office as I feel we have unfinished business to take care of. We are also in the middle of the capital improvement plan and need to finish what has been started. There are other needs waiting to address once completed with the Capital Plan. We will work to address these needs with the Council all the while working within the Countyís budget.

For Perdue: Why are you seeking election to the County Board of Commissioners? (75 words)

As a decorated, 22-year Marine veteran and successful small business owner, Iím running to bring accountability, integrity and transparency to Porter County government. Some believe itís smart to run Porter County like a business. A business exists to make the largest profit for its shareholders. A governmentís purpose is to serve people and make sure tax dollars arenít wasted on pointless projects, while expenditures are investments ensuring we have a safe, clean community for generations.

(3) For Good: Describe your achievements in office. (100 words)

Since 2014, saved approximately $4.5 million annually on health insurance plan, saved approximately $400,000 annually on Property and Casualty Insurance. Saved $1.5 million dollars over 5 years re-negotiating the much reported ambulance contract. Was awarded the Frank OíBannon Sunshine Award by the Hoosier State Press Association for Transparency in Government, worked with the County Auditor to usher in a new windows-based, state approved accounting software and time keeping equipment and implemented the County Human Resources Department, all while keeping the Countyís Tax rate flat the last three years.

For Perdue: Describe the skill sets you would bring to the Commissioners. (100 words)

I bring my extensive military training, including leadership, organization, planning and communication skills that will help us set long-term goals and plans, identify effective strategies to meet organizational needs, balance the rights and interests of the people and ensure a positive return on investments within the county. As a small-business owner, I've benefited greatly from these skill sets and look forward to using them as I work with the other Commissioners, the Council and the various boards and committees to ensure Porter County citizens have an honest, compassionate, determined voice on their side.

(4) Differentiate yourself from your opponent and indicate in particular why you believe yourself to be a better candidate. (100 words)

Good: The biggest difference between myself and my opponent is that I have lived in Porter County most of my entire life, and I have a working knowledge of what this job entails. My opponent just moved to Porter County less than a year ago. The Commissionerís job you cannot learn on the fly. I think that has been proven in the past. You need to have intimate knowledge of the entire county and the infrastructure that we are currently dealing with to effectively manage this office.

Perdue: I'm an honest, transparent, friendly, determined, down-to-earth and compassionate leader. As a Marine, it didn't matter if the people I worked with didn't share a political philosophy, religious belief, ethnicity or sexual orientation. We were successful as a team because we were patriots who put getting things done first. I'm not afraid to tell people the truth. I've put my life on the line for American freedom and human rights; I will not hesitate to stand up for all citizens of Porter County. My opponent touts many accomplishments, but why did they take so long? I won't drag my feet!

(5) What are the key issues in this race? (125 words)

Good: I feel that the key issue in this race is: do the voters want to continue in the direction that our office has taken in the past several years of making progress in all areas of government and being much more proactive than reactive? We continue to find things that need attention and continue to be surprised by things that we find. We correct it, put policy in place, and move forward with a record so others following behind us know what we did. The departments that are directly under the Commissioners offices are being held to the same standard as well.

Perdue: Infrastructure - Must be addressed more aggressively to keep up with the influx of housing developments/population before we are faced with community hazards.

Opioids - We must ensure law enforcement has necessary resources to combat the criminal element, but we must also explore and deploy appropriate concrete actions to make a measurable impact on the epidemic here.

Affordable Housing - A sticky topic, but we must ensure shelter and stability for our single parents and low-income community, including service staff for many new restaurants most of us enjoy.

Jobs - We must hunt/recruit large corporations to locate here to help balance our live/work ratio. Of the 3,300 citizens I've met during this campaign so far, slightly more than 1 in 3 work outside Porter County.

(6) What are your priorities for use of the funds in the Porter County Non-profit Charitable Foundation? (75 words)

Good: I think the next four years of the Foundation direction should be to put mechanisms in place to begin the discussion of how the proceeds (not principal) can be used in ways to benefit as many people in the county as we can. This is a huge endowment and needs time to mature and grow. The Commissioners are three votes of the 10 and currently the leadership of the Foundation lies with the County Council.

Perdue: I'm a fan of the current path to building a rainy-day fund by reinvesting a portion of the annual interest. I would like to explore opportunities to incorporate a grant approval process, so we don't have to shun wonderful organizations like the Boys and Girls Club and The Caring Place, which do important work for the citizens of our county.

(7) For Good: What is the goal of the $30 million capital improvements plan and why were the projects currently being pursued by the Commissioners as part of the plan chosen over other possible projects? (75 words)

The goal of the Capital Improvement project is to update the much needed high priority buildings that have not been touched in over 20 years. It was an assessment based off needs not wants. It was highly reported as to how the assessments were made. We understand that there were some groups or departments that had wants but did not make the cut in the first round of improvements. We stand behind our plan.

For Perdue: The Commission-ers have undertaken a $30 million capital improvements plan. Do you support the plan? Why or why not? (75 words)

I support the plan overall, but we could have approached funding differently. Except for the much-needed South Haven drain improvements, everything could have been completed on an extended schedule to burden the county less before we have the "rainy-day" fund in place. Also, with concerns about why the majority of the loan is paying for the South Haven drains, many citizens don't understand why South Haven is unincorporated and supported by all county tax payers.

(8) In April the County Council and Commissioners were surprised to learn of a problematic lease extension for use of a Valparaiso building space by the Prosecutorís Child Support Division. That extension appears to have locked the Child Support Division in its present location at an above-market value. Whom do you blame for the failure of due diligence regarding this lease extension? (100 words)

Good: I was not elected when this lease was extended, thus I have no prior knowledge. I find it odd that this lease was voted on for 19 years by extending and funding, yet some of the same people are now outraged? Politics? County government works by having checks and balances. This was not followed by all the Boards that were involved. Either way, the Commissionersí office will continue to work through this problem left by others and find a permanent solution like we have on so many other things the past several years.

Perdue: That is yet to be determined. I'm certain if we follow the money, those involved and responsible will surface, especially since the building was owned by the Republican Party Chair at the time, has a tax exemption attached, and a promised "build-out" was never completed. The owner sold the building for a nice price months after the extension. I feel our current Commissioners/Council may not have been responsible for the extension then, but they are responsible now. Why didn't they come out in April, admitting they had a problem, with a plan to start an independent investigation to rectify it?



Posted 10/22/2018




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