MIAMI COUNTY — On March 15, voters will decide on two contested races for seats on the Board of Miami County Commissioners.
Incumbent Miami County Commissioners Jack Evans and Richard Cultice will be challenged by Cindy Lillicrap and Greg Simmons, respectively.
There are three commissioners that serve the county, with duties including overseeing the county budget, appropriating funds and awarding contracts for services. Commissioner John “Bud” O’Brien was re-elected in 2014.
Greg Simmons is the retired director of the West Central Juvenile Center. He has 25 years of experience in other aspects of county government, including serving as a probation officer and an investigator for Children Services. He also serves as pastor of the Upper Room Worship Center and taught part-time for more than 15 years at Edison and Sinclair College.
Simmons ran for commissioner two years ago and said he is running again because he believes he can bring a new perspective to the board.
“Standing on my Christian values, I promise to have integrity and to be accountable and be transparent,” Simmons said.
Simmons’ goals for office include infrastructure improvements, looking into county employee health benefits and salary structures, and building solid relationships with the sheriff’s office and prosecutor’s office.
“I will look into the ‘Band-Aid’ effect of spending on the downtown jail, and look for a more permanent solution,” Simmons said.
He also suggested moving at least one meeting a week to the evening to make meetings more accessible to working citizens, he said. He also pledged not to circumvent Ohio bid laws and to look at local vendors first.
Simmons sees heroin as one of the biggest issues currently facing the county.
“It is not just a law enforcement and legal problem, it is all of our problem,” he said. If elected, he promises to take a leadership role and see what resources the county has to combat the problem, he added.
Simmons has four children, and with his wife Patty he has two step-children. He has 11 grandchildren.
Richard Cultice has served on the Board of County Commissioners since May 2011. He served two terms on the Troy City Council and was twice elected as Troy City Auditor.
In addition to public service, Cultice worked for 35 years in the private sector with Hobart Brothers in various financial positions, including corporate treasurer.
“The combination of experience in the private sector and public sector has given me the insight and judgement necessary to perform the duties of county commissioner,” Cultice said. “I have proven that I am able to make difficult decisions and manage large budgets.”
He is seeking re-election to continue to make progress with the new computer software system, as well as other capital improvements and upgrades. He said the county also needs to maintain financial strength and support economic development in its cities, villages and townships.
“I have the ability to work with all departments and elected officials in conducting the business of the county,” Cultice said. “It is important to manage the business of the county in a way that is fiscally responsible and in the best interest of the taxpayers.
He and his wife Jane have two married daughters and five granddaughters.
Jack Evans has been a Miami County Commissioner for 12 years. He previously served as a Monroe Township Trustee.
Now retired, he owned the Independent Insurance Agency.
“I have successfully run my own business for 40 years where I interacted with insureds and insurance companies. If people don’t have confidence in your honesty and integrity you will not be successful,” he said. “Now the last 12 years I have been a Miami County Commissioner where I have been fully involved in setting and administrating the county’s $30,000,000 budget.”
Evans pointed out that the board has balanced the county’s budget and increased the county’s cash reserves since the recession in 2008.
“Not only have we balanced the budget, but we have also been able to increase the county’s security by upgrades to our county buildings, reopened two of the closed incarceration facilities’ 60 bed pods and are working to open the third pod later this year to house the increasing demand for women’s detention needs,” Evans said.
He also highlighted the recent upgrades to the 911 Center and improvements made to the county’s aging facilities.
“With all the things we have been able to accomplish we have still been able to balance the budget and increase our cash balance to protect our excellent Aa2 Moody’s financial rating and still have the lowest sales tax of any of the surrounding counties,” he added.
Evans said that maintaining a balanced budget will continue to be one of his top priorities if re-elected.
“With the continued cutting of funds from the state as well as the federal government and adding additional mandates, it will be important to continue to be fiscally conservative and responsible in order to meet Miami County’s needs,” Evans said. “My experience over the last 12 years has proven I am able to accomplish this goal.”
He added that there is still much to be done to address issues with other aging county facilities, as well as ever-changing technology needs to be met.
“My goals are to continue to serve the residents of Miami County in a manner they deserve and have come to expect,” Evans said.
Evans and his wife have four children and three grandchildren.
Cindy Hershberger Lillicrap is a retired city of Piqua employee. She believes her lack of experience in politics is a positive when it comes to serving the people of Miami County.
“There are many experienced politicians, most of which people are fed up with,” Lillicrap said. “Special favors, not as open and approachable as they should be. Agendas that aren’t top priorities to the people. We need to listen to the people and work hard for the people.”
Lillicrap believes that the current board is not acting in the citizens’ interest, she said, and her top priority will be restoring trust in the board, she said. Her other priorities include adhering to the bidding process, and lowering high cost insurance for county employees.
“I am serious about this campaign,” Lillicrap said. “I have a lot to learn, but every job I have ever had, I had a lot to learn. I am a hard worker, dedicated to what I do and don’t make decisions without investigation, thought and reason.”
Lillicrap and her husband Tom have two married children and four grandchildren.
Reach Cecilia Fox at [email protected] or at (937) 552-2205.