Why do you feel you are more qualified for this position than your counterparts?
As the incumbent, I have the working knowledge for the office and what it entails. One of the primary jobs of the commissioner is to oversee and maintain the county’s infrastructure. An effective commissioner must be able to work within budgets and deadlines to oversee construction and maintain roads, bridges and buildings. With over 40 years in the construction business, I have overseen the construction of several 100 homes along with numerous commercial projects within Jackson County. I have worked with county and city officials and understand what it takes to build and manage our county’s services. Staying within budgets, controlling cost and staying within deadlines is what I have been doing for over 40 years. I will continue to put that experience to work for the citizens of Jackson County. The difference is experience.
Are there any county services that need to be improved, adapted or eliminated?
I am very proud of the services that are provided to the residents of Jackson County. There is always room for improvements. I will continue to listen and welcome any suggestions. I do not see any need to eliminate any services at this time.
How would you handle the issues facing the current veteran services office? In previous commissioners meetings, the office was said to be unable to handle the current amount of veterans and the unique issues faced with serving that community.
I am in full support of doing whatever is needed for our veterans. Currently, the veteran services office shares a building owned by the Jackson County Solid Waste Management District. The building is basically a renovated pole building that was built in 1976. Due to recent guidelines dictated by the Veterans Administration, our veteran services office needs additional space to comply with these guidelines. Jackson County has between 2,500 and 3,000 veterans. Of those, there are 498 veterans receiving disability compensation in the county who would benefit most from the creation of this new space. In a March commissioners meeting, I proposed the idea of looking into either adding onto the current building, which has maintenance issues of its own, or building a new building at its current location. The Jackson County Solid Waste Management District receives its funding through a tipping fee charged for each ton taken to Rumpke of Indiana’s Medora Landfill and not from property tax revenue. I believe we can solve this problem without adding an additional expense to the county.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced county government to adjust its operations. Things like using Zoom for meetings utilize more current technology than we’ve seen previously. Would you plan to make any changes to the way these things are done after everything settles to update them and use more modern technology? If so, what would you do?
During this difficult time, I am pleased to say that communications and decision-making between the other commissioners and myself have not been interrupted. We have been able to meet via teleconference for our regular and special meetings. Special meetings have been necessary to solve unprecedented logistic issues of getting county work done while observing social distancing. I believe online meetings and teleconferencing is a technology that is useful in the environment that we are in today, although it has its limitations. During a normal meeting, nothing beats face-to-face interaction. Document exchanges, etc., are limited within the constraints of these types of meetings. I can envision video streaming technologies that may complement face-to-face meetings in the future.
[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”Gillaspy file” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]
Name: Bob Gillaspy
Occupation: Construction business owner, specializing in energy rated homes and a real estate agent
Previous political experience if any: Finishing up first 4 year term as District 2 commissioner