In one of the
biggest races of the 2014 primary, candidates Jeff Good and William LaFever
are challenging incumbent Nancy Adams for the Porter County Commissioner
Center District seat on the Republican ballot.
Early voting has
already begun in the county. Primary Election Day is on Tuesday, Mary 6.
are voted on countywide, not just in their respective districts.
The Center District
is the only Commissioner race this election year. The North and South
District seats will be up in 2016.
Tribune invited all three candidates to respond to a questionnaire.
set word limits for each question and reserved the right to cut off any
response in excess to the limit.
1. Age, place of
Adams: 52, City
of Valparaiso, Porter County Commissioner
Good: 53, City
of Valparaiso, President of Good Hospitality Services Inc.
Union Twp., Sales
2. To Adams:
What are your accomplishments in office and why should the voters
re-elect you to it? To Good and LaFever: What are your qualifications for
this office and why should the voters unseat the incumbent for you? (150
revamped 911 and implemented new policies as well as creating a board of
fire chiefs to know when there are any problems. Workforce One was given
$150,000 by the Commissioners for continuing the GED program for Porter
County. I implemented a new copier purchase agreement with all the
departments. Before they had to receive three bids and bring it to the
Commissioners before purchasing a copier. Now we have one vendor and they
call our IT director. The vendor goes to their office and determines the
copier they need. They set up the fax through the copier and the ability to
print their documents and they have their copiers in two weeks instead of
two or three months. They save quite a bit of money. The most important part
of my job is listening not talking. Thatís why I should be re-elected. Last,
Iíve helped renovate the Animal Shelter.
Good: Many of
the duties of a County Commissioner are very similar in experience as to
what I do every day in my own business. These duties include asset
management, budget preparation and analysis, building maintenance, storm
drainage maintenance and construction, technology, real estate valuation,
human resources, health insurance oversight and cost analysis, problem
solving, and the ability to use common sense in the decision-making process.
I have served as the Porter County Appointment to the Regional Development
Authority the past three years and currently serve as the Chairman of the
Economic Development Working Group. I also served on the Porter County Jobs
Cabinet in 2013.
not afraid to fight for the people of Porter County. Iím not part of the
clique. I stand to gain nothing but to serve the people of this county and
do what is right for the people. I will voice your concerns as my own. I
spent 13 years with Indiana Department of Transportation and four years on
Union Township School Board which gave me a lot of knowledge in contracts,
budgets and laws.
3. What are the key
issues in this race? (150 words)
first issue is to have a balanced budget. The second issue is economic
development. The third issue is collaboration no matter what party you are
affiliated with. The only way any of these things are going to be taken care
of is if there is cooperation and collaboration. All officials must be able
to have an open mind and listen to what people are saying. God gave you two
ears and one mouth so you can listen twice as much as you speak.
Good: I believe
the primary issues facing the county today are as follows; finding a
responsible solution to the large deficit currently suffocating the countyís
general fund, a workable solution for responsibly fixing our animal shelter,
development of a financial plan to thoughtfully manage and protect the
Hospital proceeds, implementing a responsible bidding process for all county
contracts, developing a complete plan for the deferred maintenance of all
county assets such as storm-water drainage, county buildings, vehicles,
county roads and the development of a County Human Resource Manager for a
more comprehensive oversight of all personnel issues.
Serving the public. They deserve a commissioner who will call them back,
return emails and one who has no conflict of interest.
4. How can the
Commissioners help close the county budget gap? (100 words)
commissioners have done quite a bit. We have committed $8 million over the
next 3 years to help with the budget. We have covered E911 and have covered
the insurance. But there needs to be collaboration from everyone and
homework done on how we can reduce the budget to give the people of Porter
County the services they deserve.
Good: State law
mandates that Commissioners must work with all units of government to review
all department budgets along with the County Council. This includes
improving communications with the county council so that the Commissioners
can assist the council with developing better financial reporting
mechanisms. In addition, a detailed 3-year plan must be developed to assist
in future forecasting of the Countyís operational needs. This 3-year plan
will also be a key document that will assist in defining the use of the
hospital sale proceeds.
me as commissioner and Iíd work with County Council by attending their
meetings and moving Commissionerís meetings to the evenings so taxpayers can
be better informed. As of now, Commissionerís meetings are during the day,
when taxpayers are working and are unable to be involved. Perhaps this was
their plan. I have understanding of contracts. You donít elect someone who
is in Hospitality services in the planning of government funds, building
projects, road projects, and taxes when their background is food. My
background is construction, sales and public service and past budgeting of
Union Township School Corporation.
5. Do you support
using the county income tax to support the general fund? (75 words)
Adams: I do not
support using the county income tax to support the general fund, because it
is an economic development tax and should be used to support bringing jobs
to the county. Unfortunately we were forced to help with bridging the gap on
the budget. Itís a dangerous road to go down if units of government use
CEDIT funds to operate each year.
Good: I do not
support using County Income Tax to support the general fund. All efforts
must be exhausted for cost controls first before this discussion takes
place. With a 3-year plan going forward each year it will be much easier to
discuss the countyís financial needs.
LaFever: I hate
increasing any taxes, but since there is already a tax in place it should go
into the general fund and used as needed.
6. Do you support
using the interest money from the hospital sale to support the general fund?
Adams: I do not
support using interest money, because again it is a dangerous road to go
down using funds that most units of government do not have to support the
general fund. What would the county do when there are no funds left? We need
to do our homework and figure out how we can stay within the budget the
state has given us.
Good: I do not
support using interest from the hospital sale proceeds to fund the countyís
General Fund. All efforts must first be exhausted in order to control costs
of all of county government going forward. Working together with the council
to accomplish this task should be our primary initiative at this time.
long as the money is used to lower the tax burden.
7. Do you support
the creation of a County Human Resources Department?
Why or why not?
am in total support of a human resource department. We need an individual or
up to three individuals that can fairly and uniformly administer policies
set forth by the commissioners. There will need to be the ability to
efficiently help a new employee with their paperwork when they begin their
job. It will show that the County is a great place to work by implementing
these procedures effectively.
Good: I do
support a County Human Resource Manager. I currently own a company that
oversees 425 employees and cannot imagine running any enterprise this size
without this position. With all the changing work rules that have been
hoisted upon all employers over the past six years by the federal
government, it has become extremely burdensome and complicated. It must not
only be done to protect the county but in as much to protect our employeesí
rights as well.
depends on the law because most departments are elected and each elected
official has the right to run the department according to the statuary
requirement of Indiana. This is a big decision. Who is in charge, the
elected official or Porter County?
8. Do you support a
tax increment finance district along US 6 in Liberty Township? (125 words)
Adams: Yes, I
support a tax increment finance district along U.S. 6. By not having a tax
increment district, there will be no economic development. Businesses will
not want to locate on U.S. 6 because of the traffic and no ability to exit
off. Without the TIF, the County will not be able to do the improvements
that are necessary, which will hurt the potential of additional taxes along
that corridor, because there needs to be infrastructure taken care of with
the widening of U.S. 6.
Good: I do
support some form of incentive zone for the U.S. 6 area in Liberty Township.
With that said, we need to insure that our schools and emergency services
are protected financially for preparation of proper growth of the area.
Attention also needs to be paid to the traffic flow and road sizing of this
area so it is safe and easy to navigate through.
Tax money should be used for the whole county. Why would you put non-elected
people in charge of taxes? Thatís why government is set up the way it has
been for years. Let the people vote the officials in and they decide and if
you donít like the results vote them out.
9. The FBI has
requested and received documents from a variety of county departments. What
are your thoughts about the FBIís interest in county government?
Adams: We are
willing to cooperate with anything the FBI needs. If we find there is
anything we have done incorrectly, we will be more than willing to correct
the item and find a more efficient way of doing business. We must always
remember that by listening, we can find more efficient ways to run county
government. There is always an opportunity to improve and I am working hard
to get that done.
Good: I do not
feel I can speculate on the reasoning behind any request from the FBI, but
with that said, every step should be taken to ensure the publicís trust.
Apparently, there have been backdoor dealings. You donít spend over $100,000
on a campaign for a job that pays $37,000 a year. I have nothing to gain.
Check my disclosure form. Iím not part of the same LLC as the other