Al Myers aims to ‘restore civility’ on county commissioner board
Former Delaware County Sheriff and small business owner Al Myers is running against incumbent county commissioner Ken O’Brien to “bring some civility and professionalism back into the office.”
He said that if elected, he would focus on developing both small and large businesses. Myers’ goal is to generate sales tax and create jobs, so that the tax burden shifts away from residents.
“We need someone to fill those chairs that have a business sense,” said Myers. “I have 29 years experience working for the county and running a multimillion-dollar budget for the county when I was sheriff.”
Myers said he would strive to attain a balance between developing the county while preserving agricultural lands.
“We have a unique balance between small businesses, corporate businesses and agriculture,” said Myers. “That needs to be considered when we make our decisions.”
Rather than initiate new projects, Myers said he is interested in developing and enforcing the projects currently underway, such as those at Sawmill Parkway.
He said that while budgets continue to get tighter, local government needs to maximize its assets by implementing technology.
Being in a position to expediting economic development is fueling part of Myers’ interest in the position. He described O’Brien’s voting record as “anti-business,” and specifically criticized O’Brien’s influence in delaying the commissioners’ vote on the Menards project on U.S. 23S.
At that February 2011 meeting, O’Brien was unsure whether voting for a tax abatement would limit the commissioners from voting on the Delaware County Regional Planning Commission, on which all three commissioners serve. Commissioner president Dennis Stapleton consequently opted to postpone the vote so that a prosecutor could review O’Brien’s concern.
Myers also opposed O’Brien’s sole dissenting vote when the board gave about 400 county employees a 2 percent pay increase. Myers’ cited this as an example of O’Brien “not wanting to spend anything.”
While O’Brien had supported the raises, he disputed who should be eligible. He suggested that the increase not apply to the employees who were hired in at a pay rate greater than their predecessor.
“I just disagree with the manner in which he’s not promoting development in Delaware County,” said Myers. “You have to spend money to develop Delaware County and keep good employees.”
Myers said that another way to maximize local government’s assets is by working closely with other elected officials. He said O’Brien’s voting record, in which O’Brien is often the sole dissenter, reveals a lack of cooperation with the board.
“My opponent doesn’t seem to want to work with anybody, even the ones in the commissioners’ seats,” Myers said.
A veteran, volunteer firefighter, small farm operator and director of the Delaware County Agricultural Society, Myers said his experience “working for and with the public” makes him more qualified for the position.
During the campaign, Myers has been confronted with the charges filed against him while he was sheriff. He pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors involving violation of ethics and a conflict of interest. His record was later sealed.
“I think people of Delaware County will see it for what it is,” said Myers. “It was more of a political persecution than a criminal persecution.”
Myers said he was sought out by citizens and Delaware County employees to run for the seat.