MARK KIESLING: Showdown in the Lake surveyor's office as election draws near

2012-11-04T00:00:00Z 2012-12-20T21:25:33Z MARK KIESLING: Showdown in the Lake surveyor's office as election draws near nwitimes.com
November 04, 2012 12:00 am

There's a game of brinkmanship going on in a Lake County office that perhaps should instead be facing extinction.

Lake County Surveyor George Van Til has been openly critical of his Republican Tuesday election opponent, Eric Krieg.

"Eric Krieg will not commit to giving up his high-paying, full-time job to work for the taxpayers. This is an outrage."

Not to be out-outraged, Krieg opined, “It deeply pains me to think that someone might vote for the gas-stealing, FBI-raided, bid-rigging scoundrel of a 20-year incumbent just because he or she feels that I’m not going to work full time, or that I have a conflict of interest."

First of all, as best I know, George Van Til is a "he." I can't prove it independently, but the beard suggests either that or some sort of major hormonal imbalance.

Second, he has not been charged or convicted of stealing gas or anything else or of bid rigging. His office was raided by the FBI over the summer. Results thus far? Nil.

But then Krieg reels off his uppercut: “I have always said that I will be a full-time surveyor.  I apologize for any confusion, and let me be as clear as possible and state in no uncertain terms that I will resign my position at BP and have no other employment other than as surveyor."

There's no confusion, Eric. You told Times reporter Bill Dolan as recently as last Saturday, "Obviously, I cannot say that I'm going to leave BP if elected."

He is currently a mechanical engineer at BP's Whiting Refinery.

All this folderol over a position that a commission headed by former Indiana Gov. Joe Kernan and former Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Randall Shepherd said in 2007 should be abolished.

Among the commission's findings was that the office of surveyor as an elected post is unnecessary, and that a licensed surveyor should be named by a county administrator and overseen by the council and commissioners.

Neither Van Til nor Krieg is a licensed surveyor.

And call me cynical if you must, but the last foray into "I will quit my job to take public office full time" was made by Tom "Flipper" Philpot, who said he would quit his podiatry practice if elected coroner and his law practice if elected clerk.

He was elected to both offices, but he resigned neither private job.

Don't blame The Flipper. We (well, not me) elected him. And don't blame Van Til or Krieg if they win.

You get what you vote for.

The opinions are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at mark.kiesling@nwi.com or (219) 933-4170.

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