Commish candidate pros and cons

Published: 10/31/2015 6:41 AM
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The News-Item offers these pros and cons for the candidates for Northumberland County commissioner in Tuesday’s election:

Kym Best

Pro: Has campaigned on solid ideas, including a call for a larger planning department and a need to improve county image. Would be a positive representative of the county.

Con: Difficult to ignore her background with the county, including her firing and subsequent lawsuit. Will she mesh well with the other two commissioners?

John Burd

Pro: Brings fresh, intelligent, sensible perspective to the table. Libertarian-based ideals of low taxation and less government are welcome.

Con: Lacks experience for serving in this complex executive post. Would have to balance negative opinion of government intrusion with the demands of serving as a representative of the government.

Ed Quiggle Jr.

Pro: Like his Libertarian running-mate, different perspective is refreshing. Would be dedicated to the ideals of smaller government.

Con: Has little work experience to help guide a $60 million-plus government operation. Running for both commissioner and sheriff raises the issue of whether the goal is to make a statement about third parties or be dedicated to one job.

Sam Schiccatano

Pro: Success as a teachers union representative could pay dividends in the county’s dealing with contracts and personnel matters. Desire to apply football “recruiting” techniques to economic development has merit.

Con: Hasn’t provided a lot of details about the ideas he hopes to implement. He will have to speak up more or run the risk of being consider Rick Shoch’s “junior partner.”

Bill Shambach

Pro: 54 years of business experience and an obvious ability to work with people are strengths. He’s been a pleasant and meaningful addition to the campaign.

Con: Doesn’t see his age, 78, as a deterrent to serving, but recognizes he probably should have run for office when he was younger. Joining the race late, he hasn’t invested the same amount of time into preparing for the job as some other candidates.

Rick Shoch

Pro: It’s difficult to measure incumbent Shoch’s performance over the past four years because of the constant battles he’s waged with his fellow board members, but he deserves a chance to govern absent that environment. He has demonstrated a broad understanding of the issues and a measured approach to problem solving.

Con: He sometimes came across as a willing participant in public disputes with his colleagues, and, while he was the minority commissioner, didn’t always seem fully engaged with the job.

George Zalar

Pro: His 14 years of experience as Coal Township commissioner provides a strong foundation for representing the county. Plan to have county play a larger role in blight fight encouraging.

Con: Has had difficulty articulating some ideas, and this can be concerning in an era when the message is often as important as the action. Running for both township and county commissioner may be unfair to township voters.

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