Image Link 09/06/2016

Rinse And Repeat

An acquaintance recently used the phrase "rinse and repeat" to describe the tactics of the local Republican Party in Elbert County when promoting candidates for office.

It goes like this...

1) find a loyal party member who is not currently working at a full-time job

2) make sure he/she fits the following criteria:

  • not burdened with knowledge about the county from being previously involved
  • has no relevant experience managing budgets, people or both
  • has no plans to engage with citizens...unless they are from the same core Republican group
  • skilled at bickering, obfuscation and procrastination and acts unilaterally when it suits his/her purpose
  • above all, plan to completely disengage from being involved after your ONE term.

Not fair, you say? Let's look at recent history...

Commissioner Schlegel--retired from the Aurora Fire Department, and announced he would run for District 2 in 2010. No real presence in the county prior to running for office, but very strong in the party...was active before and during his Commissioner term in a local metro (water) district creating a conflict of interest that he refused to acknowledge during his term. Involved in several issues that have had negative financial consequences to the county. Was very strongly in favor of allowing a local metro district to create a water pipeline to move water out of the county. Has not been engaged in county business except as a consultant to developers since 2014.

Commissioner Rowland--retired from the newspaper industry, was chair of local Tea Party group. No presence in county activities/meetings prior to running for office in 2012. Made multiple promises of change in county procedures, and then went along with the status quo. Has been at the center of several legal issues which have cost the county tens of thousands in legal expenses. Has put ideological ideas ahead of what is good for the entire county. Is not seeking reelection in 2016.

Commissioner Ross--moved to Elbert County a couple of years prior to running for office in 2012. Switched parties to register as a Republican (was unaffiliated). Campaigned jointly with Robert Rowland against incumbents Schwab and Shipper. Once elected, has not been able to find his voice...for the first two years of his term, was bullied by Rowland and Schlegel. Overly cautious, he has not been able to leave a mark on county government. Is not running for re-election in 2016.

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Commissioner Dore--moved to Elbert County from Arapahoe County a few years before running for District 2 in 2014. Had not been involved in any county meetings/committees prior to running and her learning curve was steep since taking office. Recently switched party affiliation to unaffiliated from Republican with approximately two years remaining in her term. Along with Commissioner Ross, has been ineffective at governing. Changed back to Republican just before resigning her commissioner seat on Aug 15.

Candidate Chis Richardson--moved to Elbert County in 2011, per his campaign website, has been involved primarily with the Republican Party, the American Legion, the Conservative Breakfast and the Elizabeth School Board. He has only been coming to Planning Commission meetings since he was appointed by Robert Rowland and has only attended Board of County Commissioner (BOCC) meetings since shortly before he announced his candidacy in the fall of 2015.

Danny Willcox-Candidate for District 2 and replacement for resigned Commissioner Kelly Dore-and finally, the Republican party has reached back into the closet for another uninvolved, therefore uninformed candidate whose main claim to fame is that he worked at the Aurora Fire Department with former Commissioner Kurt Schlegel...not exactly a glowing endorsement.

The Bottom Line:

For the past 25 years with ONE PARTY RULE in Elbert County, we have had REACTIVE commissioners lacking vision. We pay them for ON-THE-JOB training for at least the first 12-18 months of their terms because they are so unfamiliar with the issues facing the county.

Our budget process is opaque; our website is hard to navigate and does not have much useful information; the atmosphere at the administration building is not focused on customer service; the commissioners routinely conduct meetings dominated by interpersonal bickering; our roads continue to deteriorate as we deplete our assets by approximately $3,000,000 per year per the recent audit.

The Solution:

Change the cycle...analyze which candidate in each race is best equipped with the knowledge of the county, the budget, the history and the future needs to begin to effect the change in direction needed to undo the downward spiral that Elbert County is in.

As a REPUBLICAN recently stated, "We have to do something different in this county. What we have been doing for the past 25 years is clearly NOT WORKING."

- Neal W. Cash