Two candidates running for county commissioner

By Kristin Bednarski
Sun staff

Clermont County voters will chose between two candidates for commissioner Nov. 6.

David Uible has been acting as commissioner since he was appointed in March by the Clermont County Republican Party Central Committee to fill the seat vacated by Archie Wilson.

Len Harding, endorsed by the Clermont County Democratic Party, is hoping to bring change to the Board of County Commissioners, which has been comprised of only Republicans for many years.

Uible said he has enjoyed his time as commissioner and would like to continue to give back to Clermont County by being elected for a full term.

“I see so much potential for Clermont County to grow and prosper in the coming years,” Uible said. “To do that successfully it is going to take a plan and a budget.”

Uible, who owns several businesses, including a company that assists other businesses in reducing debt and improving services, said this experience has helped him since he was appointed to the position in March.

“I have that critical eye and I see things that need to be done,” Uible said.

He said he has already worked to make changes in the county, including supporting management changes at Clermont County Convention and Visitors’ Bureau and altering the employee health care plan to save the county nearly a half-million dollars.

“One other big project, which is a program the governor has encouraged all governments get involved with, is sharing county services,” Uible said.

Uible said they have already worked with villages in townships to share county road paving services, which he said saved $35,000 this year.

He said they are looking into sharing healthcare coverage with townships and villages so they could get a better rate as one large group.

“Village employees could be insured through the county healthcare plan,” Uible said. “We have 1,100 employees on the plan, these municipalities could tag along and get our rates.”

He said they are also looking into sharing fiscal services.

“We could have a lot of treasury work done through the county,” Uible said. “That would be a tremendous resource and savings.”

Uible said he feels townships and villages replicate many county services that could be shared to save money for everyone.

In addition, Uible stressed that balancing the budget in the county has been one of his most important goals since he walked into the office.

“In July we started talking about budget planning,” Uible said.

Uible said after looking over the budget, he refused to pass a budget that included any deficits.

Since then, he said they have worked with the different county departments to make changes that will reduce spending and eliminate any deficits.

“As long as I am in office, I would say we won’t have anything but a balanced budget or a surplus,” Uible said.

He said increasing revenue in with new business in the Clermont County is also very important.

“One thing I want to work on, without overstepping, is attracting companies here,” Uible said.

Uible said attracting more higher-paying companies, similar to Total Quality Logistics, Milacron, and others, will help the county diversify.

“These new employers are adding things to the county,” Uible said. “I think we can build on that and create more jobs of similar nature.”

Uible said what he has enjoyed most about being commissioner is being able to serve the community and work to improve things in the county.

“I get tremendous satisfaction being able to use my private sector experience,” Uible said.

“It’s not about the money, it’s the satisfaction and being able to make the county better.”

Len Harding, a Democrat from Milford, is a retired consultant, technical writer and historian.

Harding said he has not had the chance to run for office until now, but has always been involved with civic affairs and the community.

He said he wants to be commissioner because he believes there needs to be a change in leadership in the county.

“I think the first issue that need to be addressed is the issue of one party control that has led to irresponsible activity,” Harding said.

Harding said that Republican control of the county has lead to action without input from those in the community.

“They don’t seem to worry a whole lot about how the outside world looks at them,” Harding said about current commissioners. “If I am sitting in there, they will have to think about that.”

Harding said there several things he would work to do if he were elected.

He said consolidating services and creating a greener county are two of his priorities.

“I think we should look to consolidation of services,” Harding said.

He said several county services should be encouraged to consolidate, including police services and non home-rule entities.

“Pay and training should go through one central office,” Harding said about police services.

He said the consolidation would save money and create one program for all officers.

“They should encourage school systems to consolidate,” Harding said.

He said instead of consolidating, school officials make the decisions to cut school programs and other truly-needed services instead.

“We talk about saving money but we just wont do it,” Harding said. “All of the people in the entities talk like they are Republican, but I don’t see any of them getting up and saying ‘Take my job.’”

Harding said he would also like to make Clermont County a greener county, by looking into keeping green space and investing in alternative forms of energy.

Harding is involved with the South Milford Neighborhood Association, which helped in the creation of Valley View, a 130-acre nature preserve and education facility in Milford.

“We’ve got to try and get some more green into what we’re doing,” he said. “We’re going wild with highways again. There is no concept of walking space.”

Harding also said the county should be supporting other forms of energy and doing research here in Clermont County.

“We need to be looking into the future,” Harding said. “We have power plants being de-commissioned here, we have the infrastructure to put something else in there.”

Harding said he also has several other concerns about the leadership in the county, including the control of the visitors’ center and the development of a Port Authority in the county.

Harding called the management changes at the visitors’ center a blatant power play by current commissioners.

“The first thing I would do is return the visitors’ bureau to its former status,” Harding said.

He said he would also look into the way development is approached in the county.

“I would definitely look at the Port Authority,” Harding said. “We, the people, have nothing to do with it.”

Harding said the last thing the county needs are leaders like former Republican commissioners Mary Walker and Archie Wilson.

“I would certainly be a change for the county,” Harding said.

He said without a change in leadership, things will go on just as they are.

“The definition of insanity is doing something over and over again with the same result,” Harding said. “Do you think putting another Republican in there will make it go away?”