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Lucas County Commissioner - Full term commencing 1-2-2021

Responsibilities: To exercise financial control of County expenditures; to authorize public works; to purchase land and buildings; to vet contracts; to plan and administer welfare. The Board of County Commissioners also appoints other officials to operate various departments.Term 4 Years

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  • Candidate picture

    Pete Gerken
    (Dem)

  • Candidate picture

    Ron Murphy
    (Rep)

Biographical Information

What challenges do you see impacting Lucas County with the COVID-19 pandemic?

How do you see the associated financial challenges caused by COVID-19, how do you prioritize and preserve county services?

What should be done to protect incarcerated persons from contracting COVID-19, and what steps should be taken to ensure the health of incarcerated people that have already contracted COVID-19?

The pandemic along with the death of George Floyd has thrown the country’s and our Lucas County residents into a tailspin creating a chaos that has put an added burden on our Sheriff Department. What support would you propose to alleviate this burden?

Education Central Catholic High School The University of Detroit Mercy and The University of Toledo, bachelor’s in Organizational Behavior
Experience Pete was elected to Toledo City Council at large in 1996 and served on Toledo City Council for 8 years. Pete was elected as a Lucas County Commissioner in 2005.
The pandemic changed everything, The Board of Commissioners had to quickly restructure most all of our service operations.Our restructuring had to allow for a continuation of required services in what had become a virtual world. At the same time we were tasked with setting up a county wide emergency operations center (EOC), in conjunction with the Toledo Lucas County Health Department. A major challenge of operating the EOC was our capacity to effectively and quickly communicate changing information to our residents. Together these two challenges required creativity and commitment. Our goal was to establish community trust related to community-wide safety and the ongoing operations of the county. More challenges await us in the future that will require flexibility and experienced leadership.
Immediate associated financial challenge is the potential loss of sales tax revenue that funds our service operations. This includes everything from managing social and environmental services, and —- to the criminal justice operations. To meet this challenge we immediately engaged in cooperative determined budget cuts with all our partners. This budget process was painful and has resulted in significant sacrifices by our workforce. Many county employees have shouldered unpaid time off and yet still have been able to deliver services at a high level, through their diligence and commitment. An ongoing challenge is to find ways to spend the limited Covid relief funds received from the State in compliance with the many restrictions imposed. We continue to look for creative solutions.
The Board of Commissioners support Lucas County jail operations and the safety of CCNO detainees by ensuring they have the policies and resources in place to follow public health guidelines immediately for the protection of the incarcerated persons. This has included immediate testing in the jail and at CCNO to determine the extent of the virus in those institutions. We acted quickly and as a result have not seen wide spread infections in either case. As a matter of policy we now quarantine incoming persons for 7 days before being put into larger groups. We have the ability to continually test persons and have required masks on both detainees and staff. Additionally, we have worked in concert with judges to release people that do not need to be held as quickly as possible, and as a result our jail populations remain low but effective.
The responsibility of the Commissioners is to support Sheriff Tharp’s operations during this changing social period. We have put in place a quick response system to make sure that he has funding for any new operational changes. We are using the majority of the Covid response money that has come to the county for the Sheriff and first responders to alleviate this burden.
Education Whitmer Graduate
Experience Manager of a small business for 5 years, Turnover Specialist Supervisor for a nonprofit that is associated with mental health and homelessness for 15 years
Campaign Phone (419) 464-5807
Twitter @murphy4lcc
The Covid-19 virus has created many challenges in Lucas County. Here are a few: Businesses are struggling, some have downsized or closed due to Covid-19. Suicide and mental health issues are on the rise and services are still not running at full speed. Tax dollars are in decline creating shortfalls. Evictions have been put on hold, but when lifted, we could see a major increase in our homeless population. In order to overcome all of our challenges people need to feel safe. I have always said that educating the public about Covid-19 and how to protect yourself from it, should be a major priority.
The effect Covid-19 has had on tax dollar revenue is devastating. Before Covid-19, our economy was running on all cylinders. We were looking at the strongest economy we've seen in many years. But now, because of the uncertainty of the economy, we must prioritize our expenditures. All efforts should be made to sustain public confidence. Essential services must be prioritized, people must be able to depend on basic services. Safety is also necessary, we must keep law and order a priority. We must also get our economy running by financially helping small businesses and loosening burdensome regulations.
I would first ask to seek the suggestions of medical professionals. But, in my observation, many simple measures have been taken by businesses to ensure the health and safety of their employees. These same simple measures like taking temperatures daily and washing hands should be mandatory for incarcerated persons. If a individual has symptoms, then measures should be taken to sanitize wherever that individual has been. That person should be monitored and isolated if possible. Inmates should use social distancing when possible. Basic hygiene skills must be taken more seriously. Anyone who is showing signs of illness should get medical attention.
I would support our Sheriff's department by fully funding them. We shouldn't expect more from them with less. I would expect them to respect the process of law and order. I would listen to their expert opinions and do my best to accommodate their needs. I would encourage the Sheriff department to have a zero tolerance policy for individuals committing violent crimes. I would also use that fully funded Sheriff department to do more community outreach. We must do a better job teaching people how to interact with law enforcement.