Three Republicans vie for commissioner seat

2014-04-26T14:13:00Z 2014-04-26T19:44:22Z Three Republicans vie for commissioner seatBob Kasarda, (219) 548-4345

VALPARAISO | There is a three-way Republican primary race underway for the Center District seat on the Porter County Board of Commissioners.

The battle pits incumbent Nancy Adams against challengers Jeff Good and William LaFever.

Adams, the former owner of Strongbow Inn restaurant in Valparaiso, said she is seeking a second term because she enjoys the job and there is more she would like to accomplish.

She said her accomplishments so far include helping to amend the county's Unified Development Ordinance to streamline development without sacrificing oversight.

Adams said she also oversaw renovations at the county's animal shelter, while supporting the failed effort to build a new facility at Sunset Hill Farm County Park. The search for an appropriate site continues, she said.

Good, who owns a hospitality business overseeing 24 properties in five states, represents the county commissioners and council on the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority.

Good voiced concerned about the county's multimillion dollar deficit and said he would like to see county government explore the possibility of leaving its costly partially self-funded health insurance plan behind by seeking competitive bids from private companies. He would also like to seek potential cost cutting by seeking out bids for the ambulance service and encouraging greater cooperation among county departments.

At the same time, Good said he would pursue improvements projects such as the construction of a new animal shelter.

"To me, it's time to quit talking about it," he said.

LaFever, who works in contractor sales for a national home improvement store after years of overseeing state highway projects, said he is running for commissioner because there is a lot of room for improvement in the office's customer service.

He said not only do have county officials have a problem working together, but he has found the commissioners unresponsive to his calls.

LaFever said unlike others in county government, he has nothing to gain personally from the elected post and is thus well suited to keep cost cutting in mind while carrying out the commissioners' job of handing contracts.

He too said it is time for the county to finally address the needs at the county animal shelter.

While the commissioners, along with the council, have yet to agree on what to do with the $159 million in proceeds from the 2007 sale of the former county hospital, Adams said she would like to see $100 million of the money protected in a foundation to generate interest income. The balance should be left available for economic development efforts and emergency needs.

Good said while not ruling out investing some of the hospital proceeds in the Porter County Community Foundation, he would like to see the county think bigger and explore other options. He would also like to see a portion of the money used to make low-interest loans to other local units of government.

LaFever said he does not favor the foundation approach because once the money is turned over, the county cannot get it back. He supports investing the money for as good a return on interest as possible, but keeping it within reach.

Another recent topic of conversation among county officials is the need to address human resources issues, to which Good said he cannot imagine the county continuing to operate without a human resources director.

"I think it's something long overdue," he said.

Adams also favors hiring a human resources director because of the many needs in dealing with the 610 county employees.

LaFever said he does not support creating a new human resource position. County employees get their jobs because they know someone and thus understand the nature of their employment, he said.

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