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What's a County Commissioner

WHAT IS A COUNTY COMMISSIONER?

*REFERENCES USED FROM HANDBOOK FOR ALABAMA COUNTYCOMMISSIONERS.

In today’s world if you use the word “County Commissioner” it seems the greater portion of the people are under the mistaken impression you mean “Road Commissioner.”

Over 20 years ago the commissioner job changed from the construction, maintenance and supervision of the counties rural road system to encompass the responsibility of all aspects of the county’s government, not just the roads. The commissioner(s) are responsible for maintaining a budget to cover the cost of all county-owned buildings, equipment, personnel, everything owned or managed by the county itself. Now, before someone gets all upset, it does include the “rural” roads within the county.

The code of ethical conduct for Alabama County Commissioners consist of a series of canon’s also listed in this handbook.

*CANON 1: A COUNTY COMMISSIONER SHOULD UPHOLD THE INTERGRITY AND INDEPENDENCE OF HIS OFFICE.

An elected county commissioner must answer to himself and his constituency first. Each person amongst us knows what is right and what is wrong. I know how difficult it is to look at your friend, neighbor and/or voter and tell them you cannot use the county’s assets to help him through his perceived problem. In conjunction with this, let us not forget there are others in the dirt and gravel business in this county who employ county people, bring taxes to the county and deserve the right to work without the county being in competition with them.

Unfortunately, many people think that the dirt, gravel, culverts, vehicles, etc. are operated by the county for their convenience. This is wrong, wrong, wrong and against the law. When you see your commissioner and ask him to deliver you a load of dirt or grade your driveway or install a culvert for a new driveway going into your house, field or wherever you are asking them to forsake their integrity and enjoin into a contract with you to commit theft. I’ll do everything possible to help the people of District One but please don’t ask me to put myself in a position that will result in me going to jail, I won’t do that.

*CANON 2: A COUNTY COMMISSIONER SHOULD AVOID IMPROPRIETY AND THE APPEARANCE OF IMPROPRIETY IN ALL HIS ACTIVITIES.

If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and sounds like a duck it’s probably a duck. A county commissioner should always stand upright and be aboveboard in all his dealings with his constitutes. Each person is responsible for their own dealings between man and his God, neither of which deserves to be lied to.

*CANNON 3: A COUNTY COMMISSIONER SHOULD PERFORM THE DUTIES OF HIS OFFICE IMPARTIALLY AND DILIGENTLY.

This canon speaks of the honesty, integrity, dignity and courteousness of a commissioner and should be all that’s needed to keep a commissioner on the straight and narrow. However, we all know that these tenets are sometimes ignored or pushed aside.

There are several administrative responsibilities placed on commissioners, especially those serving in the position of chairman. Chairman for our county changes every 292 days thus allowing each commissioner an opportunity to serve as chairman during an elected cycle. This change ensures everyone gets an opportunity to fill the position and spreads the responsibility to each commissioner, there is also a pay difference for the position of chairman.

*CANON 4: A COMMISSIONER NEEDS TO REGULATE HIS OUTSIDE ACTIVITIES TO MINIMIZE THE RISK OF A CONFLICT OF INTEREST WITH OFFICIAL DUTIES.

A commissioner needs to program his schedule whereby he has little to no conflict or interest in something that requires a vote to come before the commission.

Hopefully this information from the Commissioners Handbook will help to let the citizens know the awesome responsibilities of the person they are voting for. Hopefully this will remind the commissioners in office of duties they have sworn to uphold.

I will state this, if the people see fit to elect me to office, I will promise them that each and every person in District One will be treated equally and fairly. I will evaluate every situation as it comes along. I will do everything I can to help the people of District One but I will not break the law. Should I get asked for something I cannot comply with, I’ll let the person making the request know why I cannot comply with it.

I will assure that our assets, dirt, gravel, culverts, etc., will be used to up keep our county for the people of our county. There will be no large accumulation of loads of dirt taken to put a road across a citizen’s pasture. I will encourage the citizens and county employees to help me stop the waste. Money we lose there could possibly be used as money for a much needed employee pay raise. I will put to practice an evaluation system whereby we may grade our workers allowing us to recognize those who do well and get training for those in need. This evaluation is called for in the Conecuh County Employees Handbook, it’s just ignored.

I am a believer in the unit system and have encouraged the commissioners to adopt it for years. It is a management tool that will cut our cost on equipment immensely. I also believe in safety. The thought of paying $472,000 to replace a bridge that collapsed because it was subjected to an overweight county truck should not happen. I will ensure training will be conducted to provide our employees with the most up do date safety factors and I will ensure any employee working for me is trained in it and will encourage the remaining commissioners to do the same.

I will not refuse to accept positions of leadership when it is my fair turn to fulfill that position. If I don’t intend to abide by the rules and regulations set up why should I be a commissioner?

I promise to work with the elected officials of the other municipalities of the county and will leave no effort to improve our county laying behind.

I look forward to serving the people of District One as Commissioner and ask you to go to the polls on November 3 and vote on the Independent ticket for Leon Windham, Commissioner, District One.

I look forward to serving you.

James Leon Windham