Lewis Addresses Own Record
In response to the letter from “Jean” on April 28. It appears quite obvious that you are probably a ghostwriter for another candidate, however you are so incorrect on all of your comments/allegations that I decided to respond just to set the record straight.
First—it was certainly a news flash to me, to learn that I am supposed to be one of Ms. Lowery’s two key supporters and advisors. Really? Evidently that is such a well-kept secret that even I was unaware of it. I will say however, I believe her to be a very intelligent and hard working lady who is quite capable of handling the duties of commissioner. Being a registered democrat though, I am unable to vote for her on May 17.
Second—I never ran as a “team” with any other candidate in any of the elections I ever ran in—period. You must have me confused with a current candidate. I will say that I had the opportunity to serve with five different individuals during my 12 years as commissioner (Gary Goeckel, Tina Pickett, John Sullivan, Nancy Schrader and Doug McLinko). With four of those fellow commissioners, while we didn’t always agree with each other on issues, we all worked well together, professionally and with respect for each other’s opinions and we could usually reach consensus. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for one individual during my last term.
Third—I did not make any such promise in 2003, that there would be no need for a tax increase. During an interview of the three commissioners, with a newspaper editor (not this paper), my own exact words were, “We certainly don’t want to raise taxes and we’re trying very hard not to, however the budget is still a work in progress and therefore we can’t say for sure until it’s completed.” The interview was followed by an editorial that didn’t acknowledge my comment, but instead ran with the comments of one of the other commissioners. During my three terms in office, I learned that being misquoted or partially quoted, at times, is something that is almost inevitable and over which you have no control.
Fourth—During some of the twelve years I spent in office, the commissioners did dip into the “rainy day fund” a few times when we had a “rainy day,” which is what the fund is for. I always believed that if there is a healthy rainy fund then that should be used first if it will help avoid a tax increase. I never believed it should be hoarded, which is what we often see our state and federal governments doing. It’s quite simple really, you dip into your savings account when times are tough and you deposit into your savings account when times are good. It’s not rocket science, dear. Key to being a good commissioner is knowing how to run a good business, which is certainly not the same as running a business to the brink of bankruptcy. When I left office at the end of 2007, the county was in good financial shape. We had contracted with a forester for logging of some county timber, which assured that the next board would benefit from those logging dollars. Also, as the result of a meeting, which I arranged with a gentleman that I had spoken with at a conference, we contracted with his company to begin an energy audit of the courthouse, which was the first phase of the Guaranteed Energy Savings program, which the next board would also benefit from.
Finally—Contrary to what you imply, there was a healthy $3.4 million dollars in the rainy day fund, known as the County Fund Balance, when I left office. Next time, please get your facts straight, to avoid looking so foolish, “Jean.”