Politics & Government

Centre County commissioner

Job description: The three county commissioners constitute the chief governing body of the county. Their statutory authority is primarily administrative and is set forth in the county code and in other legislation that may be adopted by the Pennsylvania General Assembly. The commissioners appoint personnel and supervise county offices and programs. As fiscal managers of the county, the commissioners are responsible for the adoption of the annual budget, assessment of property, levying of taxes and, as necessary, the borrowing of funds for construction of capital projects. In addition to serving as the board of commissioners, they serve as the board of assessment, board of elections and, along with other county-elected officials, the prison board, retirement board and finance committee.

Term: four years

Salary: $65,623 (effective 2008)

Democrats and Republicans can vote for two candidates. The top two vote-getters in each party will appear on the fall ballot, along with candidates from third parties.

Question asked of candidates: What are your top priorities for this office?

Chris Exarchos

Party: Republican

Address: Lemont

E-mail address: christ@voteforchris.com

Web site: www.voteforchris. com

Birth date: Sept. 5, 1944

Education: 1976, Penn State, Ph.D.

Occupation: Centre County commissioner

Qualifications: Have been in public service for over 25 years; served on various authorities, boards and commissions; served eight years on College Township Council and the Centre Region Council of Governments; currently serving as county commissioner

Answer to question: Continue to improve and streamline County Government by implementing new technologies and prudent business strategies. Complete the Emergency Responders Training Site. Continue to improve the financial and operational aspects of Centre Crest. Continue to look for opportunities and partnerships to increase the availability of affordable work--force housing.

Steven Dershem

Party: Republican

Address: Bellefonte

Email address: dscguns@ hotmail.com

Birth date: June 1961

Education: 1983, Penn State, B.A. in labor studies

Occupation: Centre County commissioner

Qualifications: Currently serving as county commissioner; life-long resident of Centre County; local business owner, 18 years; adjunct instructor, Penn State Justice and Safety Institute; board membership in Centre County Conservation District, Chamber of Business and Industry of Centre County, Bellefonte Inter-Valley Chamber, Centre County Library Federation, Moshannon Valley Economic Development Partnership, Cooperative Extension

Answer to question: The overall financial health of Centre County government remains my top priority as commissioner. The commissioners’ ability to engage and react to other issues and problems often hinges on the county’s financial position and stability. Four straight budgets without a tax increase demonstrate my commitment to Centre County Government’s financial health. I believe that controlling property taxes should be the top priority for any public official interested in protecting our great quality of life.܀

Sue Mascolo

Party: Republican

Address: State College

Web site: votesuemascolo.com

Birth date: June 25, 1936

Education: Commission Association — A.S., county government

Occupation: vice chairwoman, Centre Region Parks and Recreation; vice chairwoman, Community Action in Centre and Clearfield Counties; board member, Community Action Housing Board; chair, fundraising, State College Woman’s ClubQualifications: former Centre County commissioner; former Legislative assistant for state Rep. Lynn Herman; former director, Office of Aging

Answer to question: Improving services at Centre Crest and the morale of the staff and making sure it stays under county-government control. I would work toward continuing with farmland preservation. The farms that are in these programs are not near our housing growth areas. I would continue to try to protect our watersheds for this area. I want to review the touch-screen voting machines. I would also be conscious of any added cost.

Andrew Sicree

Party: Republican

Address: Boalsburg

E-mail address: sicree@ verizon.net

Web site: None, send e-mail

Birth date: April 6, 1961

Education: 1983, B.S., chemistry and English, Carnegie-Mellon University; 1985, M.S. chemistry, Carnegie-Mellon University; 1999, Ph.D., geochemistry and mineralogy, Penn State

Occupation: director, African Book Project, scientific consultant

Qualifications: longtime county resident; married, father of nine children; worked many years as precinct election official

Answer to question: Our current touch-screen voting machines are unverifiable and thus untrustworthy. I’m appalled that the incumbents, Exarchos and Dershem, chose these untrustworthy machines. My first priority is to fix this mess.Centre County needs a community college and I’ll take the lead in bringing one here. Locating it in Philipsburg will help revitalize the downtown. Penn State tuition is 400 percent greater than typical community college tuitions — a community college will give us a low-cost alternative.

Chuck Roeschen

Party: Democratic

Address: Miles Township

E-mail address: friendstoelectchuck@yahoo.com

Web site: www.friendstoelect chuck.com

Birth date: Oct. 28, 1959

Education: attended Drexel University and Penn State, majoring in physics and sociology

Occupation: family farm manager and taxi driver

Qualifications: I have managed a farm in Brush Valley, raising vegetables and flowers using sustainable farming methods. I have been the host and organizer of the Sunflower Farm Harvest Festival for over 20 years.

Answer to question: My top priority is to build a sense of community based on the idea that there are no second-class citizens. I believe that government has become isolated, representing only a fraction of society. This isolation has led to many of its actions being destructive to a sense of community. It is my priority to speak for this majority not holding public office. I want to be a voice for the voiceless.

Jon Eich

Party: Democratic

Address: State College

E-mail address: JonEich 2007@aol.com

Web site: www.joneich.org

Birth date: 1955

Education: 1977, Susquehanna University, B.A., political science/economics; 1992, Penn State, M.S., geography.

Occupation: Former county administrator and community planner.

Qualifications: four years as county administrator; 20 years in Centre County Planning Office, planning workshop instructor for 14 years, County Planning Commission (2004), State College Transportation Commission (2005-06), Leadership Centre County (1993).

Answer to question: Maintain high-quality services. Almost two-thirds of the county budget pays for services to our most vulnerable residents. Protect county facilities. Perform routine maintenance while planning for future improvements (including fire suppression systems, already listed in the county budget because of a discussion I initiated in 2000). Enhance quality of life. We need to invest in ag-land preservation, affordable housing and comprehensive planning while promoting careful stewardship of open spaces.

Vana Dainty

Party: Democratic

Address: Bellefonte

E-mail address: vdainty@ gmail.com

Birthdate: Nov. 30, 1948

Education: some college

Occupation: editor and founder, Bellefonte Gazette

Qualifications: Bellefonte Borough Council two years — serving as chairman of Finance Committee, Nittany Valley Planning Committee. My job as editor and founder of the Bellefonte Gazette for the last three years.

Answer to question: u Continuation of the preservation of our rich agricultural land, our waterways and our historic landmarksu Affordable Housing u Restoration of our downtownsu Keeping an environment that is safe for raising a family and enjoying lifeu Keeping an open line of communication with the people of the countyu Seeing the Rails to Trails come to fruition u Centre Crest staffing and keeping it a part of Centre County government

Rich Rogers

Party: Democratic

Address: Bellefonte

E-mail address: richrogers@ gotmc.net

Birthdate: Oct. 3, 1971

Education: Bellefonte Area High School; 1994, Juniata College, B.S. Accounting and B.S. Finance

Occupation: administrator and accountant

Qualifications: strong financial background; Bellefonte School Board, 4+ years (three years as president); initiated local school districts cooperation to eliminate OAT tax; facilitated long-range planning for budgeting and capital improvements; instituted use of community forums

Answer to question: u Protecting our families. I will work with law enforcement to ensure the safety of our children and families and work to restore funding to vital programs.u Open Government. Communicating and cooperating with local and state officials, county employees, business leaders and tax payers. I will provide an independent voice on the county board while making decisions based upon principle, not power. u Fiscal Accountability. I will ensure that your hard earned tax dollars are not wasted.