WHAT I BELIEVE IN...
Lowering Taxes by Creating an Environment Conducive to Economic Growth --- Reducing Regulations that Inhibit Job Creation --- God
Protection of Civil Liberties --- Personal Freedom --- Gun Rights
School Choice --- Improving Infrastructure & Using Technology
My name is David W. Bolton. Last July, I announced my candidacy for Adams County Commissioner. Although I have not served as a County Commissioner before, I bring years of service to the County with my involvement in many local, county and state government committees that make me a viable candidate for Adams County Commissioner. County Commissioners are responsible for a myriad of duties in areas of which I have education and experience.
My plan as Commissioner focuses on four areas that will lead to future successes for Adams County. These areas are:
• Fiscal Conservativism
• Operational Excellence
• Governmental Transparency
• Leadership Accessibility
Fiscal Conservativism: I vow to analyze all projects, budgets/estimates and keep keen oversight of all aspects contained. I will provide guidance, not micromanagement, through my extensive employee development experience to keep our departments staffed and reduce inefficient overtime costs. I will support the personal/professional growth of our county staff and empower them to perform efficiently, thereby reducing courthouse operational costs.
Operational Excellence: I bring decades of troubleshooting experience and will offer it to help our staff improve operations and communication among departments. By investing in our people, the organization will thrive! Programs to encourage pro-active productivity leading to cost savings can be promoted, just as Value-Added Management teams at many companies. Staff will feel a sense of ownership and pride and will contribute positively to the team effort, further improving our operations. I will also enroll in performance-improving courses offered by the County Commissioners Assoc. of PA., at my own expense, to improve my skills.
Governmental Transparency: I will advocate for the filming and production of Commissioner meetings by our Adams County Public/Education/Government television station, Community Media, located in New Oxford, which will also be available online anytime, and to hold one meeting a month in various parts of the county in the evening, as they do in Franklin County, instead of always at 9 AM on Wednesday mornings. I will continue my open rapport with the Press to provide transparency on all governmental issues affecting Adams Countians.
Leadership Accessibility: I have always been, and will continue to be, available to anyone who seeks information on their county government. I am no stranger to long hours or challenging tasks. I will bring my father’s strong work ethic to the courthouse. My contact information is public, and I encourage you to reach out, voice your concerns or offer advice on difficult topics. As Commissioner, when you need to talk to me, I will be available and make time for us to talk.
I profoundly thank the many of you who support my candidacy. Please tell others of our campaign and invite them to the polls. I just ask for one of your votes on May 21.
No Adams County constituent will be outside of my cable-tow.
As a Certified Borough Official through the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs (PSAB) and a Certified Municipal Administrator through the PA Department of Community and Economic Development, I have been educated in best practices and has demonstrated such by leading meetings in the various organizations and committees on which I serve. Additionally, as a Municipal Administrator, Legislative Chair for the Adams County Boroughs Association and voting member to the PSAB Resolution and Policy Committee, I am well versed in the writing, vetting and adoption processes involved with ordinances, resolutions, motions and regulations.
In regard to budget and finances, I was responsible for both at Abbottstown Borough and was also involved for two terms as a Councilor for McSherrystown Borough with municipal budgets, as well as those for the various organizations for which I have been honored to serve. Being involved with Capital Budgets for municipalities, various governmental and non-profit organizations, as well as my education, I vow to put fiscally-conservative principles at the front of Adams County business decisions. While serving as a Municipal Administrator and Deputy Tax Collector, I have also built a working knowledge of the County’s processes and the funding needed to ensure the proper execution of our provided services. As Commissioner, I will work for the most efficient operations budget to stave off unnecessary future tax increases while maintaining our services.
With over 20 years of successful business management in various supervisory roles, as well as my education and experience in promoting effective workplace environments, I will bring an attitude of empowerment and professional development to the Courthouse staff. “Invest in The People and The Organization will thrive!” My experience also extends to information dissemination. Having worked as a Marketing Manager for a major car dealership and working as a Marketing Consultant, I understand the importance IT plays in Operational Excellence. I have interacted with the County IT department for many years and have supported their efforts and successes as they continue to improve the county’s operations.
Finally, as a formerly appointed and elected State Constable, I have extensively studied the election process in Adams County. I got involved to ensure the highest standards of integrity were maintained in the election process and promise to do so as a member of the Board of Elections as Commissioner.
I have always been mindful to keep my words directed towards facts of the matter, avoiding the archaic rhetoric of defamatory campaigns. It has always been more important to me to preserve my dignity, mind my tongue and keep my character from derision. I believe one should be evaluated on their performance and not the intimacies of their private life. As such, I offer for consideration this assessment of claims being made by our incumbents for re-election. To this evaluation, I offer 30+ years of successful business management experience. Having been awarded by employers for outstanding performance in areas related to profit passthrough (or cost savings), I have always demonstrated a propensity to put (or keep) as much revenue as possible on the bottom line.
After the 2015 Commissioner’s race, I strengthened these skills through education; acquiring certification as a Municipal Administrator through the PA DCED, collecting over 110 credits towards Certified Borough Officials designation through PA State Association of Boroughs, amassing 95 credits in two semesters towards my Bachelor of Science, Business Management degree and then achieving a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in just 15 weeks, all possible through my training and understanding of business principles. The Abbottstown Council can attest to my proven fiscal prowess as Municipal Administrator.
The incumbents have claimed several victories over their 7 years in office, namely; the Radio System, the Health & Human Services Building and the county bond rating. Most recently, the staffing of the county prison was touted as a success. We have also heard about the self-insured healthcare issue at the courthouse. Consider the following evaluation based on the principles of Fiscal Conservativism.
The incumbents’ predecessors had already studied the need for a new radio system and paved the way for the project. That Board planned to sell off the Green Acres facility and put $5M into county reserves, ultimately leading to the county’s bond rating improvement. This improved rating provided affordable funding to build the system. When the current Board took control, they completed this plan. The project’s budget was administered by the current Board:
• $25.1M quoted as the starting budget, $27.2M was the final cost.
• The Health & Human Services Building’s budget was $8.3M capped at the start and $10.8M currently.
• The county controller was quoted as saying losses from 2016 in the self-insured healthcare coverage is “under $1M”. Litigation pending?
• How much in excess overtime has the county prison experienced the past several years due to lack of staffing with a Commissioner serving as Chair of the Prison Board?
• The last time this Board ran for re-election, they set their department budget at $1.5M. The proposed 2019 Commissioner’s department operating budget is set at $2.2M; that’s 147% of their 2015 offering.
What of the proposed Mercy House project? In light of the above information, do you want the same Board administering that project’s costs or do you want an educated, experienced and proven administrator overseeing your tax dollars for the next four years?
“What could you have done better”? A 2018 financial report to Abbottstown Council showed:
• 113.9% budget for General Fund revenues and only 89.4% budget for expenses.
• A renegotiated contract for electric generation and monitoring produced 25% less consumption and 21% cost savings.
• Fuel saw 41% less consumption and 39% cost savings.
• 33% budget savings for Solicitor services.
• 17% savings from Engineer services.
• 33% savings for advertising/printing.
• 57% savings on Code Enforcement (with better results).
• 70% savings for postage.
All of this was accomplished in my first year as Administrator using best practices and knowledge gained through my education of municipal matters.
Recently, Adams County manager Al Penska announced he was leaving to pursue other opportunities. We wish him the best. Since I was going to write about “Operational Excellence” , it is time to address the white elephant in the room: Do we need a county manager? I have heard from many over the past five years and even more so recently. Questions about why we have/need a county manager; thoughts on the level of compensation; frustrations over division of labor and oversight in the courthouse.
Mr. Penska was hired by the previous Board of Commissioners just prior to the current Board being elected. This Board has never known county governance without him. So, how will this change the operations of the courthouse? It has been stated that Penska was key to much of the financial success over the past 8 years, so what happens now that he is gone? Leadership at the courthouse has yet to offer anything definitive.
As a candidate for County Commissioner, I say leave the seat vacant. Here’s why…
County Commissioners have various responsibilities, and those in much larger counties have a need for a strong manager to keep up with the daily functions of the courthouse. It is our opinion that three educated, qualified Commissioners should be able to handle these responsibilities between them. Perhaps a “chief administrator” could be promoted or hired, should the need arise. This would forgo the six-figure salary that Penska enjoyed and allow the Commissioners to be more directly-involved in county operations.
The Directors at the courthouse should be empowered to run their departments without the previous tight-reined approach, so they can “manage-up” and help the Commissioners run the county. Additionally, when “Direct Reports” become better at self-leadership, they enable their Directors to be better leaders. It does us no good to pay competitive wages but not give staff the latitude to perfect their skills, nor should they be subject to dominant micromanagement. I believe that leadership is a partnership where the elected Commissioners and staff use their skills to make each other better, which betters operations overall.
As a County Commissioner, I would see that the staff at the courthouse is given every opportunity to expand their skills and grow their abilities by investing in them in lieu of the extra expense of a county manager.
But the responsibility to better personal skills do not stop at our staff and Directors. With my involvements through municipal government, I have been able to attend classes and receive certifications through the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development and the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs (PSAB). Acquiring over 110 credits in municipal government, legislative and legal coursework, holding leadership positions in various organizations and speaking at events on municipal issues, I have been recognized for results in getting several laws passed in Pennsylvania to help our citizens with awards from the PSAB and the Adams County Boroughs Association.
As County Commissioner, I will immediately enroll (at my own expense) in the Academy for Excellence in County Government, a four-year program through the County Commissioners Association of Pennsylvania (CCAP) which certifies elected leaders in the various skills (legal, financial, personnel, best practices) important to proper county governance. After two terms in office, I do not believe any of our incumbents have enrolled in or attained this certification. With over 30 years in business management, a BS/BM and an MBA, I would like the opportunity to serve as Commissioner and learn more to better my service of the people of Adams County.
With so many stories in the Times over recent years about Right to Know requests being extended or information not being readily available about the Courthouse Space Study, the absence and departure of the county manager or other matters, it is understandable that some are losing trust. President Ronald Reagan said it best, “Trust, but Verify.” It is the duty of constituents to question their elected officials’ actions and to receive timely, accurate answers. As an elected official and an Open Records Officer, I have always indevoured to give any and all information requested immediately and freely to my constituents. That is how you earn trust.
I have always been an advocate of Governmental Transparency. A campaign pledge for McSherrystown Council in 2011 was to provide a municipal website to better disseminate information, which became reality. Live streaming on Facebook gave people at home a view into our local governance and collecting community donations provided television coverage of meetings on Community Media. Encouraging the local constituents to get engaged has made our local government better. As a candidate for Adams County Commissioner, I will bring these same actions to the courthouse, with live coverage of meetings and more engaging, informational content to keep you in the know.
Last month, through my involvement with the Adams County Council of Governments’ Legislative Committee, I was asked to represent the group by Committee Chair Bob Gordon and met with Rep. Dan Moul to discuss issues within the 2008 PA Right-To-Know laws. Many for-profit companies are data-mining our municipal records and the costs are currently absorbed by taxpayers. We need changes in statute that allow for municipalities to recuperate research and preparation wages of non-constituent commercial requests. Additionally, current RTK laws do not protect such personal information such as employee addresses, with few exceptions. We need safeguards from these types of invasions. We will be working on a municipal resolution to gain grassroots support in the PA House and Senate to pass legislation as such.
Governmental transparency is a central tenet of my campaign, not because it is catchy but because it is something that should be expected from those being served. Conservatives should promote limited government and the actions of that government should always be available for review.
On May 21, a vote for David W. Bolton means governmental transparency now!
During the opening months of 2019, the employees at the courthouse were left to wonder, “Who is in charge?” With the abrupt absence of the former County Manager and not much being revealed from the Commissioners’ Office, many are still are left scratching their heads over the leadership model at the courthouse. This has caused the current Commissioners to increase time spent in the courthouse to oversee operations, but it may also be causing their focuses to shift, exposing the weaknesses in organizational leadership and culture at 117 Baltimore Street.
Who is directing “the Big Picture” concerning pay rates and benefits? While there are department directors that can do so, there is no one person who has extensive experience among the current Commissioners with Human Resource management. So, we have a new County Solicitor that makes more than her predecessor, who had 20 years on the job. Commissioners stated this was due to a lack of an Assistant Solicitor and they are saving money. But what happens when we DO hire an Assistant? Will the Solicitor’s salary be reduced? Doubtful. So, we will see an increase in salary expense at that time. The position has been posted on the county website since January 17th.
What about the vote to discontinue the retiree healthcare coverage offered for over 20 years? With potentially $1M in losses after an audit of the 2016 books, now the decision to self-insure is affecting those who may want to retire before 65 from county employment. While these retirees pay their full premiums, the fact that they use the benefits more than the “young”, causing all “pool” premiums to increase is no reason to jettison the program. Yes, those in the program now will be grandfathered in, but what about those who may be close to retirement and expected to have that benefit available? Again, the decision to self-insure continues to show that it may not have been a good one.
What about the years of wasted tax dollars paid out for overtime at the Prison? With a recent change of the Chairman of the Prison Board, it is apparent there was a problem with leadership. While the new Warden is doing some great things organizationally, it takes years to change a workplace culture. Does the Commissioner who allowed this to happen on his watch deserve another four-year term after the last seven?
Leadership Accessibility is not only about being available for a quote in the paper or showing up for a dinner. It is about picking up the phone when a constituent or employee calls. It is about engaging and informing others on social media to discuss issues. It is about returning emails. Phone, Text, Email, Messenger…many already know that I am readily available to be there for them. Those who have worked with me know I am not going to shy away from the hard discussions.
I have been supervising and developing staff since I was 21 years old. I have experience with direct reports of hundreds of employees at once. I understand the methods of coaching and encouraging personal development among my staff. I have taught many others to be leaders during my career, helping them to be promoted and coaching their own staff. I have been educated in the best practices of HR and have studied current trends in my recent Masters program. I am ready to lead the staff at the courthouse and to work side-by-side with them so that every problem encountered will result in a “Team Win”, for our employees and our county.
On Tuesday, May 21st, you have two votes for County Commissioner.
I am asking for only one. David W. Bolton for Adams County Commissioner.
Rep. Scott Perry Abe Lincoln, Scott Wagner and Tara Sen. Mike Folmer
Corporal Matthew Bolton