POMEROY — Current Meigs County Commissioner Randy Smith is seeking the Republican nomination for a second term in the March 15 primary election.
Smith graduated from the Police Academy in 1999 and served as deputy sheriff for the Village of Racine until his election to the commissioners’ office required him to relinquish that position; he is still a commissioned officer in the village.
Smith previously held several positions in the office of Meigs Jobs and Family Services and said he feels his time with the agency and experience as a law enforcement officer gave him a deep understanding of the commissioners’ office, helping him to quickly adjust to his new role.
“I’ve been in public service my entire adult life. I had worked with the commissioners during my tenure in Jobs and Family Service, and think that was a distinct advantage when I became commissioner,” he said. “I already knew how the office operated, so I could hit the ground running.
“Meigs County doesn’t have the resources to wait for things to happen. It is crucial to have the experience of being in this office and understanding what that entails. We run the office like no one else in the state. We created a new standard for how commissioners should do their job in Meigs County.”
The Board of Commissioners is responsible for the county budget and the appropriating authority for all county government, which includes all agencies and elected officials. They are the sole taxing authority for the county and approve and control all county purchases.
When the current commissioners took office, he said residents shared their concerns of a lack of accountability by the previous administration and a detachment from the running of county agencies.
“Having worked for the county, it was important to me to do the job I was hired to do, so I promised if elected I would put accountability back into the running of county offices,” Smith said. “People would be held accountable for their actions or lack thereof and I, we, have done that.”
He said the commission has made sure there are good people in those offices who understand their role is to serve the county’s residents.
“I want to be respectful of the taxpayers who are paying my salary,” Smith said. “We have good people in place at the county agencies who can see the big picture. We are here to serve the county first and that is what is going to make Meigs County successful.”
He said it is unusual to have county commissioners working full time, as most have other jobs and view their commissioner position as part-time.
“I believe taxpayers deserve full-time commissioners. The way we perform our job is beyond full-time — it is our priority.”
Smith said he feels it is his job to spend taxpayer money wisely and to invest in projects that are beneficial to the county, and that the commissioners have worked hard to balance the budget.
“We are proud of ending 2015 with a surplus of $800,000 to carryover going into 2016, up from $71,000 in 2013,” he said.
Smith cited several capital improvement projects that have come to fruition since 2013, including the MedFlight project, centrally located for the Emergency Medical Center, the Emergency Operation Center and the Emergency Medical Treatment Center, creation of an emergency room and a new dog shelter.
“When I was running for commissioner in 2012, one of the issues shared by many residents, including my own family, was the need for a new dog shelter,” Smith said. “The shelter is almost completed and was paid for entirely by county funds. We didn’t have to borrow the money. We are very proud of being able to accomplish that and still have a large amount to carryover.”
Along with the duties of the commissioners’ office, Smith is on several boards including the County Commissioners Association of Ohio and the Small Community Affairs committee. He said being on these boards helps give Meigs County a voice in the state.
Smith concluded by saying the commissioners encourage a “can do” attitude for the county, and it “isn’t about what can’t be done, but what is possible.”
“If someone walks through the door with an idea, we will put it on the table to see if it is viable,” he said. “Meigs County deserves better than an attitude of apathy. We are very serious about what we swore to do in the commissioners’ office.”
Smith and his wife, Beverly, their four children and several dogs and cats, are lifelong Meigs residents. He is part-time senior pastor at Trinity Congregational Church in Pomeroy and Mount Union Baptist Church in Scipio Township.
As a volunteer in his children’s activities, Smith coaches baseball and supports the Meigs Band Boosters. Along with Pastor David Brainer, they organize the Meigs Football Ministry.
He also volunteers with Relay for Life and Tri-County Christian Concerts, and is a member of Star Grange, the Masonic Lodge and the Middleport- Pomeroy Rotary.
Incumbent Smith is being challenged by Republican Larry Tucker in the March 15 Primary Election for Meigs County Commissioner.
Contact Lorna Hart at 740-992-2155 Ext.2551.