Neil Neidhardt and Tommy Thompson are vying on the Nov. 4 ballot for the Delaware County commissioner seat currently held by Republican Jim Ward. The term commences Jan. 2, 2009.

Neil Neidhardt and Tommy Thompson are vying on the Nov. 4 ballot for the Delaware County commissioner seat currently held by Republican Jim Ward. The term commences Jan. 2, 2009.

NEIL NEIDHARDT

Democratic candidate Neil Neidhardt, 51, lives at 9192 Mills Road, Ostrander. He has lived in the county for more than 20 years.

He holds a master's of education degree in clinical counseling from the University of Dayton and a bachelor's degree in psychology from Ohio Northern University.

Neidhardt is employed as a graduate admissions adviser for the Keller Graduate School of Management at DeVry University.

Neidhardt said he has worked as a counselor, a university administrator and an "organizational-relations consultant for academic departments and independent retail establishments."

This election is Neidhardt's first time seeking public office.

Neidhardt said he is running because "over the last several years, as the level of civil discourse (in county government) has degraded to its current pitiful and sickening level -- between governmental agencies, between county and city, between county and township, between local concerned citizens and their elected officials-- I felt strongly that I had to step up and do my part to restore and elevate the level of public discourse in Delaware County, and to end the political divisiveness created by the party in power."

Fixing that "adversarial dynamic" between county commissioners and those other entities is a top priority for Neidhardt.

"(It) often keeps our elected officials from effectively governing," Neidhardt said. "I am not referring to the necessary tensions that are built into a system of checks and balances."

Other issues facing the county include the demands on the county's current "physical infrastructure -- roads, bridges and water treatment -- and social service infrastructure" and the costs associated with maintaining and improving those systems.

"The maintenance of those services in the face of declining revenues ... and the way we govern through this next period will go a long way toward determining whether we can retain those qualities that attract people to Delaware County," Neidhardt said

Neidhardt said he also would like to "increase, encourage, and promote public participation in county governance and public decision-making."

TOMMY THOMPSON

Republican candidate Tommy Thompson, 66, lives at 25 Timmons Woods Drive, Delaware. He has lived in the county for over 20 years. He holds a master's degree in special education from Bowling Green State University and a bachelor's degree in history and government from Ohio Northern University.

Thompson, a retired educator, served as a classroom teacher and administrator, supervised special education services, and worked as a director of curriculum and an elementary school principal. He works part-time as a substitute teacher and in academic book sales.

He was elected to Delaware City Council in November 1999 and was selected as mayor.

Thompson said he is running because, "I think there has been a lot of dissatisfaction with what's going on in county government and the input that our public feels that they have into the whole process, and I'm a firm believer that the people are the government. You have to be able to talk with the people. They should feel welcome in the process."

Thompson said his experience as an education administrator has given his skills in strategic planning and budgeting that can be used to address the issues facing the county.

Thompson said the major focuses for the county commissioners are: budgeting at a time when tax revenues are decreasing; maintaining and facilitating growth in the county infrastructure, such as roads and bridges; re-establishing a volunteer committee of citizens to review plans for future growth; supporting emergency services; and encouraging economic development to "alleviate the tax burden on citizens."