Editor’s Note: In addition to the answers printed here, videos of candidates providing answers to other questions about themselves are featured.
CLAY COUNTY – Four candidates are vying for the new East 2 Seat Commission seat in the August ballot as the Clay County Commission prepares to expand to a seven-member commission, as provided by the adoption of the county constitution.
The August ballot candidates for the East 2 Commissioner seat are Sherry C. Duffett, Jay R. Johnson, Lynn Spalding and Vern Windsor. Voters will choose one candidate from these four on the ballot. If a candidate obtains 51% or more of the votes cast, he will be the winner and no general election will be held in November. If no candidate obtains more than half of the total votes, the first two voters will advance to the general election.
The Courier-Tribune asked each candidate biographical and thematic questions related to the department and the commission. In fairness to all applicants, responses were limited to 50 words per question. Answers longer than this limit have been changed to the nearest end of a sentence and have an ellipsis (…) in place of missing words. The answers are published in alphabetical order of the surname of the candidate.
What is the biggest issue affecting your district and how will you work to resolve it if elected?
Duffet“Economic growth is the biggest problem. Better communication with all leaders is imperative for Clay County to move forward and benefit working class families. Clay County needs to be more involved with local chambers of commerce, economic development councils, and the Central American Regional Council.
Johnson“This election will increase the number of commissioners from three to seven. This may radically change the composition and functioning of county government. We need commissioners who work well together and understand how to run a government and manage taxpayers’ money. I usually do. »
Spalding“Security and crime, use resources more wisely so we work smarter not harder, enforce the law on small issues so it deflects big crimes.”
Windsor“I believe growth is and will be the biggest impact in the county. I support the overhaul of the Clay County Master Development Plan that includes input from all citizens of Clay County. »
How will you work to help and improve the transparency of government operations if elected?
Duffet“My goal as County Commissioner is to ensure that elected officials, as well as department heads, are honest, ethical and provide accountability, transparency and accountability with integrity. I would do my utmost to engage in Clay County’s future as an active participant.
Johnson“That’s one of the reasons why I decided to run, although the current commissioners have made great improvements. As (police) chief, I promised and delivered on accessibility, responsiveness, accountability and transparency. I will strive to improve all aspects of this and always remind the committee that it is working for the people, not the other way around.
Spalding“That’s why I’m running as an independent, I feel like the government hasn’t worked for the average citizen for a long time. I’m not in anyone’s pocket, I’m not accepting any contributions so I owe no favors. All citizens of Clay County should have access to all the minutes and the decisions that are made….”
Windsor“I will fully follow the Sunshine Law of the State of Missouri. At this time, I think this county commission achieves transparency very well. I would support making it easier to find information on the county’s website . »
Do the commissioners provide sufficient oversight of the county budget and how funds are spent? If not, what will you change if you are elected?
Duffet“I think the commissioners provide enough information about the county budget. There is a process in which the commissioners participate annually which establishes the budget for each department. Commissioners will be even more present with the transition from elected positions to hired staff. »
Johnson“The commissioners decide how to spend about half a billion dollars of taxpayers’ money during their tenure. Most candidates have no experience in managing this amount of money. I do and I will ask the tough questions and make the tough financial decisions for every dollar spent, providing proper oversight of your money.
Spalding“I will personally review and study each line item, and I have a bachelor’s degree in accounting and will await details from each department. We are facing a period of inflation and the budget should take this into account.
Windsor“At this point, I think this commission is doing a very good job of monitoring the county budget. I plan to be open about the county budget.
Which county departments do you think need additional resources the most and why?
Duffet“Each department would benefit from additional resources. From 2016 to 2020, funds were ‘allocated’ to unnecessary and frivolous expenditures by former County Commissioners, County Administrator and Deputy Administrators. This collective misuse of funds has led to a depletion of general fund resources for other offices and departments.
Johnson“The government’s top priority should be public safety. The “defunding” and slander of police mischief has taken its toll on hiring, retention and rising crime rates everywhere. The starting salary for a deputy sheriff is $19.75 per hour. It’s insulting. Let’s get serious about making public safety a priority.
Spalding: “The Sheriff’s Department to further manage police issues in Clay County and not rely on (the Kansas City Police Department).”
Windsor“I would like to see some resources in the county park system. We have such a great history and wonderful parks, I would love to see a trail system connecting all counties and county operated parks.
Are county taxes sufficient for Clay County needs?
Duffet: “Clay County is still in the process of recovering the award from 2016 through 2020. This effort may continue for several years to recover. If Clay County continues on a fiscally conservative spending path, it should not be necessary to raise taxes.
Johnson“To determine adequacy, we must first ensure that taxes are used effectively. Government should be as efficient as possible, using taxpayers’ money as little as possible. I usually provide that. My first months as Chief of Police, I realized over $2 million in structural savings while increasing efficiency.
Spalding: “This must be looked into, and an attempt must be made to reduce taxes, or at the very least, not raise them.”
Windsor“At this point, I believe county taxes are adequate.”