(Clockwise from top left) Alan Anderson, Dick Gould, Susan Lopez, Steve Bujenovic
Voters in Greene County will choose among two Democratic candidates and two Republican candidates — including the incumbent — in the May 8 primary to determine which two will face off in November for a county commission seat.
Commissioners in Greene County hold public meetings every Thursday afternoon, and they are often engaged as members of multiple subsidiary boards and civic groups. They make the business decisions on county operations and expenditures of taxpayer revenue.
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Greene County commissioners earn an annual salary of $55,970, according to Ohio law, and are eligible for the benefits packages offered to county employees, including health insurance.
On the Republican side, Greene County Treasurer Dick Gould is challenging incumbent Alan Anderson, who is finishing his third term on the board.
On the Democratic side, voters will decide between Susan Lopez or Steve Bujenovic for the nomination to run for commissioner in November.
Gould is a former Fairborn police officer who earned a bachelor’s in management and accounting from Park University in Parkville, Mo., and a master’s degree at Miami University.
In addition to bringing new jobs to the county, Gould said the biggest challenges are finding solutions to the opioid epidemic and finding ways to consolidate government services and reduce the tax burden.
“I see and hear about so many services that are duplicated entirely, or at least partially, throughout the county. These services all take tax dollars. We should look at more ways to encourage collaboration among the various governments,” Gould said.
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Gould’s civic engagement includes being part of local Rotary Clubs and serving on the finance committee for the YMCA of Greater Dayton. Gould supports gun rights and successfully pushed for a recent change in county workplace policy to allow county workers and residents to carry concealed firearms in certain county offices.
“A commissioner should always be actively engaged in everything that is going on throughout the county and region, as they all impact our residents,” he said.
Anderson is an attorney-at-law with Xenia-based Wead, Anderson, Phipps & Aultman and is going for his fourth term as a commissioner. A graduate of Xenia High School, Anderson holds a bachelor’s degree from Wright State University and graduated from The Ohio State University Law School.
Anderson has served in the law departments for several Greene County municipalities, including Beavercreek Twp., Yellow Springs, Spring Valley and Jamestown.
In response to questions from the League of Women Voters of the Greater Dayton Area, Anderson said if re-elected he will continue to work on economic development by supporting improvements at the airport, approving building inspection upgrades and supporting the U.S. 35 Super Street project.
“I am the only county commissioner on the Agriculture Dept. Farmland Preservation Board … and was instrumental in connecting the Dayton Hamvention with the Greene County (Fair Board) upon closure of Hara (Arena),” Anderson said.
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Regarding the opioid crisis, Anderson said, “It confronts society and government on all fronts.”
“Greene County commissioners are working with (Congressman Mike) Turner to change legislation to allow Medicaid services to apply to incarcerated persons with addiction problems,” he said. “We are considering building a new jail and are reviewing all jail operations, including addiction treatment.”
Lopez, who manages the Bellbrook-Sugarcreek Family Resource Center, earned a bachelor’s degree in social science from Rollins College, Winter Park campus, in Florida and has an associate’s degree from Sinclair Community College in applied science.
A Dayton native, Lopez is part of several civic groups and social service outlets, including as a member of the Family Services Planning Committee and Greene County Job & Family Services.
Lopez named the opioid crisis as the biggest challenge facing the county, followed by what she views as a lack of transparency in commission meetings. She said “the human element of representation” is lacking on the county commission.
“I propose drug treatment facilities be included in any plan to construct a new county jail, and to balance budget decisions to include these measures,” Lopez said.
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To encourage job growth, Lopez said she would push “to implement a smart growth strategy” that helps maintain the county’s “distinct rural character,” and to focus on workforce development.
“There are thousands of jobs open in and around the county seeking qualified employees,” she said. “We must support and combine efforts with our existing educational system to push forth and meet this need.”
Bujenovic said he was raised in Huber Heights, is currently of Yellow Springs, and works as a physician at the free clinic Reach Out, located on East Foraker Street near Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton. Bujenovic has a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Miami University and earned his medical degree at Wright State University.
According to his website, Bujenovic points to his work as a managing partner at “Louisiana’s largest hospital,” where he was director of nuclear medicine, managing 10 employees with annual revenue of $3 million.
Bujenovic said that, if elected, he would work to increase transparency on decisions made by the board of commissioners.
“I am a moderate Democrat who understands that any change will be through negotiation and finding ways for all to win,” he said.
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Bujenovic said he would support improvements at the Greene County airport, an issue that others in his party see as not as important as supporting other programs that benefit more county residents. He said he would work to increase the board’s transparency, particularly in awarding contracts.
“(We need) more open discussion with the public about how decisions were made,” he said. “The commission must balance promoting economic development and caring for less fortunate citizens.”
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