Andy Kingery and Ron Cross have a shot at history.
Starting Jan. 1, one of the men will be Columbia County's Commission Chairman - the first time in more than 20 years that position has been elected by county voters.
But the race comes down to Republican voters Tuesday - both men are on the Republican ballot, and no one filed to run for the seat as a Democrat.
So that leaves a little more than three months for the winner to get ready.
Most of that time, both candidates say, will be spent building relationships with other commissioners.
"It is important that we work together as a team," Kingery said. "I have been trying to get to know the other candidates so that when I go in we are on a little more than a first-name basis."
On paper, Kingery and Cross are fairly similar: they want to fix perceived problems with the stormwater utility, they want to improve customer service and they think the part-time chairman position won't be that part-time after all.
Think of it as flexible full-time, Cross said.
"I would like to get away for a few days from time to time," he said.
If elected, Cross said he hopes to bring leadership to the county. During the construction of the county's Judicial Center - which was handled by Cross' CCI Construction - Cross said he found few officials who really knew what was going on with the building.
"The county has prospered because of growth, not because of leadership," he said. "Nobody knows the nuts and bolts of what is going on."
Speaking of the multi-million dollar building in Evans, Cross bristles at criticisms of change orders on the county's Judicial center. Most of the changes, he said, were directed by the users of the building or the architect.
"We didn't go to them at any time and say 'Let's change those columns to pre-cast concrete,"' he said of a change that cost the county more than $150,000.
Cross, by the way, plans to retire from the commercial construction business if elected.
"Probably, I have done my last job for CCI Construction," he said.
He said his small business experience - meeting payroll, scheduling jobs and so forth - have taught him to careful with budgets.
"It's not like it is your money," he said "That money has been entrusted to you to act on behalf of the residents of the county."
Kingery's career was spent around money - he retired earlier this year as a banker. As part of his job, he worked with local counties - including Columbia county - to develop equipment leases. That gave him the opportunity to see the inner-workings of county government as a regular citizen.
And it led to some changes he'd like to make in customer service. He wants to make government more user-friendly, encourage employees to return calls promptly and make sure everyone is treated equally.
"These are the people that pay our salaries," he said.
But don't think he'll micromanage the county. The chairman's job is to work with the county administrator and department head - not direct other employees.
"I don't see any need to micro-manage (County Administrator Steve Szablewski)," he said. "He does a good job."
On taxes, Kingery is somewhat of an enigma - he's a candidate that won't promise not to raise taxes.
"I will not make the statement 'I will not vote for a tax increase,"' he said. "If we keep having this influx of people, we'll have to do something."
Kingery has spent the last few weeks going door-to-door talking to voters. "It seems like I'm getting one voter at a time," he said. It really seems to be paying off.
He'll find out Tuesday.
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