Two decades have passed since Columbia County voters could select the chairman of the County Commission. Lawmakers followed the will of the electorate and restructured the commission, recreating the position of countywide elected chairman.
Its an important post - not only because of the expectations that will be placed on the new chairman, but because the winner will lay the foundations for future holders of this office.
It is fitting, then, that we recommend for this office a man who has laid many foundations: Ron Cross.
Cross opponent, Andy Kingery, is a fine citizen, and also would make a fine chairman. Picking just one of these candidates is a challenge: Neither man has government experience, and neither possesses the gregarious personality many may expect from someone vying to be the countys front-line leader. No Democrats are seeking this post, so the winner will be decided in Tuesdays Republican primary.
GOP voters, then, must carefully weigh the experiences of the candidates, examine their character, study their positions on significant issues, and choose the man whom they believe best fits their expectations for an office that wont even exist until Jan. 1.
Weve weighed those criteria, and Ron Cross gets the edge.
Cross is a commercial builder, perhaps best known for his companys work on the countys new Justice Center. His concerns about the countys management of that project led him to turn his complaints into his first-ever run for office. Cross is retiring from his successful business to take on the job, ensuring there will be no conflicts of interest on future projects.
Such a move also ensures a pay cut: The chairmanship pays only $10,500 per year. Thats barely part-time pay for a post many expect to carry full-time duties. But Cross makes a good point: Hes seeking the job because he wants to serve his community, not because he wants a new career. If youre in public service for the pay, he says, you need to look at another job.
Cross priorities for the post are where they should be. He doesnt make grandiose promises about turning a well-run government upside down. Instead, he focuses on settling into a consensus with the four commissioners, while working to get a handle on the governments day-to-day operation. Hes not a micromanager, but understands the taxpayers expect him to know how their government is working.
Ron Cross is the right man to take on this new job.
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