June 2009

While I was unable to attend, the Republicans held their annual Lincoln Day Dinner and our very own Dr. Neil Hanni DVM was elected “Republican of the Year.”  Congrats to Dr. Hanni.  I’ve seen him in action and he truly is a very hard worker and very deserving of the award. From what I’ve heard the Democratic Party also had their dinner and it was very well attended. It’s nice to know that party politics are alive in Whitley County and yet politics never get in the way of getting things done.  Kudos to both parties!! 

OK, back to commissioner’s business. About 10 years ago the county and Whitley County Consolidated Schools funded the county/school fuel system.  The contract between the two entities hasn’t been reviewed, nor the terms changed since the inception of the fuel depot.  While the school system provided a portion of the funds to start the project, it was built on county land and the county has always provided maintenance and made the fuel purchases. The depot is a wonderful idea and saves a lot of entities money by combining fuel purchases; however, after the county pays the fuel bill they then have to bill each entity for their purchases. The commissioners have requested the county attorney to meet with the school and/or their attorney to work out a new agreement that will allow the county to recoup a little more money from the fuel purchasers and therefore reduce the burden of running the depot. We should have more to report on that next month…..I hope. 

Highway Superintendent Michael Barton met with the Commissioners and County Council in May to give them an update on how our projects are going.  He also told us that he’s found ways to save money and yet expand our services. On June 3, he held  an informational meeting at the Government Center in Columbia City at 6:30 p.m.  At that time he presented the road plan. I  know this is short notice but I promise that if a lot of Busco folks want it, we’ll bring Michael over here and have him give the same program.   

At our second meeting of the month on May 18th we started with a department head meeting, something that has been neglected for a few years. I feel that it is vitally important to keep the lines of communication open, back and forth, between the department heads and commissioners. Our county coordinator, Amy Crickmore, has started a newsletter for employees.  Great idea Amy!!! 

Amy, along with the commissioners and councilmen, have been reworking the Whitley County Employee’s handbook for quite a few months now and we used this opportunity to roll out the new changes in the handbook. While I recognize that our employees are our most valuable asset, the commissioners have inherited a lot of bad practices and policies and it’s now this administration’s duty to review and change some policies to meet both the employee’s needs and the taxpayer’s desires. 

One of my disappointments so far to date has been our lack of moving forward on a county website. In this day and age I think it is imperative that we have a very dynamic website touting our county. I hear over and over again that potential business almost always starts by looking at county websites.  Alas, we still don’t have one to look at so I really hope that we can get something going soon. 

Finally I’d like to close on a high note.  One of the most satisfying moments in my short career took place in May. For those of you that might not remember, or knew, I used to ride around Busco on my horse, Dillon.  He was loved by kids and adults alike. When he was seriously injured it would have been necessary to load him in my trailer and haul him to Purdue (West Lafayette), Ohio State (Columbus, Ohio), or Michigan (Ann Arbor, Michigan). Treatment for serious injuries was just not available at any local veterinarian.  At a special meeting in May the commissioners were approached by three local veterinarians, Dr. Diane Finch DVM, Dr. Ron Conley DVM, and Dr. Rob Koontz DVM who are going to combine their practices to build a “state of the art” equine hospital with trauma/surgical services. It was with great pleasure that I made the motion (in Dillon’s honor) to allow these fine folks to build this great facility.  It will be located on U.S. 30 at 500 East (Coesse).   

Have a great month and remember to feel free to call on me if you have any questions or comments.

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