Candidate profile: Jeffrey S. Walsh

Submitted photo.
Jeffrey S. Walsh

ELLIS COUNTY — Learn more about Jeffrey S. Walsh in his own words as he runs for Ellis County Commissioner Precinct 1 in the 2016 Republican primary.

Election day voting will be held on March 1, 2016 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Click here for a list of election day polling locations. Early voting will take place February 16, 2016 through February 26, 2016. Click here for a list of early voting locations and times.

Click here to view and compare all County Commissioner Precinct 1 candidates' answers on one page.

Jeffrey S. Walsh questionnaire responses

1) What is your age?

50

2) What is your city of residence?

Ferris

3) How many years have you lived in Ellis County?

Ferris Texas last 4 years, but grew up there and I call it my hometown.

4) Tell us a little about your family.

Engaged. Two daughters, one attends Georgian Court University in Lakewood NJ, majoring in Nursing. One attends Texas Tech University in Lubbock and is majoring in Mass Communications and Public Relations.

5) Describe your education.

Attended Southeastern Oklahoma State University in Durant Oklahoma, Cedar Valley C.C., and studied Economics at Ocean County College in Toms River NJ.

6) What previous public office experience have you had?

I have never held public office.

7) What is your occupation?

My current occupation is that of a salesperson at Allen Samuels Autoplex/Autonation. In the past I have been a sales manager at that location, as well as a General Manager at larger new car franchised dealerships over both sales and fixed operations.

8) Describe your church and civic involvement.

I am an active member of Sixth Avenue Baptist Church of Corsicana where I proudly usher.

9) Please provide a biographical narrative.

For the last 4 years I have taught conservative financial and credit improvement seminars thus educating lower income households and single parent families the importance of self reliance. I have recently allied myself with a non-profit organization called Samaritan Miracles that provides after school nourishment and tutors low income and single parent children to a hopefully better future.

I grew up in the small town of Ferris. We lived right by the old Brickyards, The Garbage Dump, The Cotton Gin and Magness Cabinet Shop. A lot of what I'm about is the period of time that influenced me to what I am today. We were poor to begin with but in the 1976 campaign that led Jimmy Carter to the White House it gave the southern poor hope to better days ahead. The opposite occurred, a very out of tough and elitist attitude peanut farmer drover this country to financial ruin with absolutely terrible economic polices. It hurt our family very hard to the point that we had to move to make ends meet. I owe a lot to a few families that helped raise me such as the Chapman family of Duncanville, the Birdwell family of Ferris and finally Coach Jerry Hankins of Ferris. Each had strong father figures and I have a lot of reverence toward Jimmy Birdwell, a man that I still shed tears to today because I never said goodbye.

10) What motivated your interest in running for Ellis County Commissioner?

I was asked to run for a public office for the last 20 years by hundreds of people. When asked this time, I looked to see who was going to get on the ballot and on the last day on the last hour on the deadline I put my name on the ballot. I prayed and prayed over it and it comes with it a lot of personal cost and effort. But I feel that I can better Ellis County and it's Commissioners court.

11) Briefly and succinctly define the job responsibilities of the office you are seeking.

Responsible for the county's roads and bridges, helps set tax rates, helps set county and precinct budgets. Responsible for personnel and staff of county. Works with three other County Commissioners and the County judge to financially maintain the welfare of the County.

12) What qualifications and professional experiences do you possess that are applicable to road and bridge construction and maintenance? Be specific.

With the job of General Manager I was responsible for over 100 million dollars of generated income per year on average. That includes Sales, Service and Parts revenue. I was responsible for budgeting that 100 million to capital equipment, payroll, advertising, rents and other operating cost of the operation. I was responsible for the evaluation and accountability of 100-200 employees within that budget. My strengths are Profit and Loss statements and daily docs (expense and income reports). I have great negotiating skills and the ability to motivate and hold accountable employees.

13) What qualifications do you possess that will enable you to manage a budget of over $57 million for Ellis County and a budget of over $1 million for the commissioner's office you are seeking? Be specific.

With the job of General Manager I was responsible for over 100 million dollars of generated income per year on average. That includes Sales, Service and Parts revenue. I was responsible for budgeting that 100 million to capital equipment, payroll, advertising, rents and other operating cost of the operation. I was responsible for the evaluation and accountability of 100-200 employees within that budget. My strengths are Profit and Loss statements and daily docs (expense and income reports). I have great negotiating skills and the ability to motivate and hold accountable employees.

14) How has your education prepared you for this office?

15) Do you own property in Ellis County, and if so, for how long?

I do not personally own any property in Ellis County at this time but am in negotiations for some rural acreage.

16) Have you declared bankruptcy or have had any liens placed upon you in the past 10 years? If so, please explain.

I have not ever declared bankruptcy. I have had a tax lien placed on me previously because of late filing fees and penalties and my ex wife not taking any withholding taxes taken out of her check without my knowledge toward the end of my first marriage. We filed jointly.

17) Prior to your candidacy, or prior to your election for your first term (for incumbents seeking re-election), have you attended Commissioners' Court meetings? If so, how often during the previous 12 months? If not often, please explain why.

I have never attended Commissioners court due to the fact that they are held during the day at which time I work. I cannot watch them pre recorded because they are not televised. I can only read the cliff note version.

18) What distinguishes you from your opponent(s)?

What distinguishes me from my opponents is the fact that I am a true social and fiscal conservative. After the first forum TJ Fabby asked all of the precinct one candidates two simple questions. One was would you under any circumstances vote for yourself a raise and would you under any circumstances raise the tax rate. Three of my opponents answered yes to either one or both. Before that question was asked I vowed that I would immediately on day one work to lower the county tax rate. I will always vote NO to any raise on my salary because I feel it's just a conflict of interest and it also theoretically is a raise on taxes or causes a deficiency in another department.

19) What are the three greatest challenges facing Ellis County? If elected, what measures would you propose to resolve them?

The three greated challenges facing Ellis County are the constant change of growth, the fight off of the high speed rail system, and the socio-economic divide that the current federal administration has put in place.The Growth is an ever going entity, we have to be careful and we have to be able to say no sometimes. We have to be able to negotiate the best deals possible for our constituents for the long term betterment of Ellis County. The next Commissioner will have to have a lot of fight within themselves to help fight off a force of oppressive bureaucrats that want a high speed rail for the benefit few at the cost of many. The next Commissioner will have to be able to communicate seamlessly with the makeup of precinct one's very diverse communities.

20) If elected, what are your top three priorities? How will you work with other elected officials and county staff to achieve them? Be specific.

My three priorities are lowering tax rates, the upkeep and safety of county roads, and cost effectiveness within the county budget.

21) Is there a specific item you would add or remove from the county budget? Please explain.

The county budget for transparency reasons I would like to see the employee count comparing this year with last year the amount in each department. We had a 6.1% increase in payroll related expenses year over year but it doesn't go into detail whether that was more employees or was it increase of pay.

22) If elected, will you work with others to reduce county spending? Please explain.

As previously stated I will work tirelessly to lower expenses with or without members of the Court.

23) Would you vote to increase or decrease property tax rates? Please explain.

As previously stated I was the only candidate from day one to promise that I would work to lower property taxes and lower the budget.

24) Would you vote in favor of a pay raise for yourself and other county commissioners during your first and second year in office? Please explain your position.

I would never under any circumstances vote yes to raise my pay.

25) Do you support a raise for non-elected county employees, including employees of the Sheriff's Office?

I do believe in Step-Pay for non elected officials as long as it is based on performance and reliability. Also I believe that some consideration needs to take place for each level of proficiency. On the flip side, I believe that under performing individuals need to be held accountable and if needed terminated if they do not live up to expected performance levels.

26) Name one county program or department you would like to improve. Please explain.

One item that I would like to take care of on day one is get my precinct one Constable a safer more reliable vehicle to drive. It's my understanding that he is driving a 2005 Cruiser that has major safety concerns that could put our County at risk legally if not replaced. I'm not promising anything costly but safety has to be our chief priority.

27) In recent years there have been situations where other elected officials have had disagreements with some members of the Ellis County Commissioners' Court and the perception of budgetary revenge has ensued from some of those members of the court. How would you handle these situations and what would you do to prevent this from occurring in the future?

I have sat across the desk my whole life with people that liked and didn't like me but my job is to negotiate the best deal that I can for both customer and my employer. My job will be to negotiate the best deal for my constituents, I am humble, I have no ego, I will work hard regardless if someone has character flaws.

28) If elected, what measures would you take to ensure the efficient operation of Ellis County?

I expect what I inspect on a daily basis. Every line item purchase I look over, I make sure the work was done correctly and up to satisfaction on every contract. I manage by routinely making myself available in every department.

29) If elected, what measures would you take to generate economic development opportunities for Ellis County?

Making sure that each growth is responsible growth. One of the quickest and easiest ways to spur supposedly good economic growth is to give business anchors tax breaks as of late. We seen that does not always work with the Wal Mart corporation coming in and then pulling out very quickly. This we have to be very careful of.

30) Government transparency has been an issue at all levels of politics for the past few years. Do you feel that the county is transparent enough? If not, what needs to change?

I discussed transparency earlier, we need increased public access to meetings holding meetings during the evenings and possibly videotaping them as well.

31) If elected, would you support changing one daytime Commissioners' Court meeting to an evening meeting so that daytime working residents can participate in our county government meetings? If so, how soon would you propose the change after taking office? Please explain your position.

I discussed transparency earlier, we need increased public access to meetings holding meetings during the evenings and possibly videotaping them as well.

32) Using human waste and processed sewage sludge, known as biosolids, as fertilizer in Ellis County made headlines in 2013 and 2014 before the practice was temporarily halted. What is your opinion on the practice returning to Ellis County and will you take any steps to push for that action to occur? Please explain.

Using human waste is nothing new to agriculture. There is a human waste product called Milorganite that has the ability to help plants grow without burning up the plant over 95 degrees farenheit. Thus it increases crop yields. It does not emit odors and biproducts because it is heated into a carbon crystal form. At issue is a different form that is not heated to such high temperatures and emits very strong odors. We can compromise by making it odorless but effective. I am not the EPA and do not want to get into the business of regulating what's good and what's not good for the environment. But in the spirit of fairness that odor cannot drown out our country fresh air.

33) In March 2014 the Ellis County Commissioners' Court voted to enter into an agreement with North Texas Tollroad Authority (NTTA) that gave the Ellis County Tax Assessor/Collector the authority to refuse vehicle registrations for habitual toll violators. The commissioners' court voted in June 2015 to terminate the agreement with NTTA because of problems with NTTA's appeals process for alleged toll violators. Do you support the initial agreement with NTTA or similar agreements with other non-county organizations that may be proposed in the future? Please explain.

I do not feel the need for government to be a collection agency for any private entity such as the NTTA.

34) In order to successfully represent the residents of Ellis County you will have to work with people who do not share your opinion on issues. What is your plan to ensure that all residents are fairly represented and that their voice is heard?

I work with all of the communities now. I treat everyone with total respect and concern. I am also attentive to their needs as this is my job as commissioner.

35) If elected, how would you reach out and form relationships with residents of Ellis County and how would you reach out to those residents in the outlying areas of the county?

I do this now as well. I have a great ability to listen and act on concerns of every citizen of my precinct, this is one of the reasons that I was asked to run for this office.

36) What are the factors on which you will base your decisions as a county commissioner?

Safety, Effect, Fair, Cost

37) Is there any additional information that you feel voters should know about your political views?

Voters should know that I am the most conservative candidate on the ballot. I will spend less and achieve better outcomes. You can research the amount of money being spent on each of our campaigns. I have spent by far the least amount. I am trying to earn votes and not trying to buy them. I am passionate and compassionate. I do not play favorites and am not a "good ol boy".

38) Why should voters choose you?

Accessible, Listens, Cares, Acts