Mount Vernon News
 
 

Shirley Fletcher


Why are you running for commissioner?

I’m running for commissioner because they need me in there and I’m good at the job. I’ve been a commissioner before, and I know, basically, the job, and I’m ready to roll.

What can you bring to the table that your opponents cannot?

I have experience in this job. That’s the best thing I can bring to the table. I already know what the agenda is in there. I already know what to do.

So that’s why we should vote for you?

I think that would be a good reason.

How much time will you commit to the job?

However long it takes. Whatever it takes. It’s a full-time job, actually. Maybe even more than full-time. There’s a lot of boards to be on.

What, if anything, can the commissioners do in regard to hydrofracturing and injection wells to preserve our water and soil supply?

You know, that’s a good question. I wish that the county had more authority in that, but it’s being sponsored by the state. It’s being looked out for by the state. And I think they’re doing a pretty good job. I don’t think the problem is in fracking as much as it is in injecting the salt water, brine water in the wells. I think that’s where the people are worrying and I think there’s a good reason to worry.

Do you think the commissioners should have say in the permitting process?

Absolutely I think they should. I’m not sure that they do. I don’t think they have very much to do with it, actually.

Which employees are the commissioners responsible for hiring in the county?

The commissioners, there’s a lot that you might not even think about. The bee inspector, and the dog warden, the Jobs and Family Services, to name a few. I’d have to think about the rest of them.

What process is used to check references and past employment? Do you know?

I don’t really know what the process is right now. I know that when I was Commissioner before, we would contact where they worked before and interview them. We always had to advertise the job and interview.

Is there anything else you want to add that we didn’t talk about? You said you feel like they need you because of your experience. What in particular?

I can give you a ‘for instance?’ When I was on the board before with Dick Mavis and Donny Yauger, we were mandated by HB 586 I believe it was, to close the landfill and form a solid waste district. We had to join a solid waste district. Now, we joined a four-county solid waste district as you know. It’s Delaware, Knox, Marion and Morrow, according to population. We didn’t have to become a multi-county district. We could have become a single county district. That’s what Ashland did, and it’s worked out very well for them. I really do believe in local control wherever we can do that. Now, this happens to be the year that that contract is up. They are studying it this year. They’ll have to decide what plan they’re going to use for the following years. I’d like to be on that committee, that planning committee, but I’m not in there, so I’m not on it. That’s one thing that’s a carryover from when I was there.

Another thing that happened when I was there was MOTA, Mid-Ohio Transit Authority. When I was commissioner, it was three counties, Knox, Holmes and Coshocton. I was rather for a single county MOTA. You have more control over a single. Eventually that’s what happened then. It’s become single county.

Want to talk about cats? I actually was the commissioner that thought we really did need a cat shelter because I live out in the country and there’s lots of stray cats out there and I thought we really needed it. The humane society ladies would come in once a month to the commissioners office and ask us if we could help them find some land. They had been looking and they couldn’t afford it. Paul Lynde had given them $10,000 to build the building. I don’t know if you’re aware of that.

So, eventually then, yes, we did. We leased the ground where they are now to them. In the lease agreement, the county was going to pay the taxes, the insurance, the gas, the electric, the euthanasia fee and they would operate the shelter. As the years went by, though, things began to change. The building was supposed to be for cats in need. The lease agreement called it “cats in need in Knox County.” They were supposed to have maybe between 75 and 100 cats in there. But as you know, you’ve read the paper that it got overcrowded, cats got sick and they had them put down. That happened more than once. So as the years have gone by, the county, the commissioners, have withdrawn their money because things weren’t working the way they supposed to out there.

Anyway, now, two years ago there was a new board elected, and now I believe it is operating like it was meant to operate back when we did the original lease agreement. I’m really impressed with it. I think perhaps it’s time to give them back their money. That would be one thing I would look into.

Overall, one of your goals as commissioner, then, is to regain or maintain local control as much as possible?

Absolutely.


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