Jim Bartley, a builder and longtime political activist, is looking to oust Ron Cross from the commission chairman’s seat.
Bartley admits he is known as a vocal critic and a constant source of irritation for county officials who are the frequent target of his open records requests and pointed questions in public forums.
“I’m not a good old boy,” said Bartley, who filed his intent to run with the state Wednesday. “The good old boys do not like me and the establishment is not going to like me because I look for the truth.”
Bartley said one of the main issues he is concerned with is the amount of debt the county has accumulated while Cross has served as chairman.
He said the under Jim Whitehead’s leadership in the late 1990s, the county was debt free.
“The debt we have incurred in the past 12 years, I don’t think that’s good,” he said.
“I think most people nowadays have had to cut back on spending and I think the government ought to get out of debt, too.”
Bartley said he supported Cross in his first two campaigns for commission chairman, but got behind his opponent Brett McGuire in the 2010 election because he thought someone else should have a turn. Although he supported McGuire, Bartley said he didn’t like the tone or tactics used in that campaign and distanced himself from what turned into ugly personal politics.
“I had nothing to do with the ugly,” he said. “I had nothing to do with the ads.”
Bartley said he thinks there are enough people dissatisfied with Cross’ leadership for him to pull out a victory. He pledged to stay away from personal attacks and run a clean campaign.
“I hope the people who supported Brett will vote for me,” he said. “But I’m not going to say anything negative about Ron Cross. I don’t have a problem with Ron; I have a problem with a politician wanting more than two terms.”