The Pryor Times

Local News

June 5, 2014

Three candidates vie for District 3 commissioner seat

PRYOR, OK — Three candidates are in the running for Mayes County District 3 Commissioner.

Incumbent Ryan Ball, Republican, residing in Salina; Randy Pierce, Democrat, residing in Locust Grove and Leon Stipes, Democrat, residing in Salina.

Prior to serving as commissioner, Ball worked for his family's construction business for 17 years.

“I am currently working on Anderson Road project funding, which is north of Locust Grove between Highway 82 and Low Water, and it is probably a $5 million project,” said Ball.

Other changes Ball would like to make include the fairgrounds. “I'd also like to see our fairgrounds improved. And I'm working with GRDA (Grand River Dam Authority) on bigger bass tournaments and a boat launch facility. That will bring new sales tax revenue into town, and will give schools the opportunity to create a Bass Fishing Club.”

Ball said he would like to become more involved with the National Association of Counties, and accept an offer to serve on a committee.

“That's something I'd like to see change. I'd like to be more involved with NACO because it would give Mayes County a bigger voice on a federal level,” said Ball.

Ball said to be a good county commissioner, “you gotta have good people skills.”

“You also have to be diversified in how you respond to different have to have good business sense,” said Ball, adding that he was able to gain business experience in his family’s construction company. “You also have to think out-of-the-box. I have applied for, and last summer got, an intern from OSU to help with our Geographic Information Mapping system for my district. From him we received mapping and engineering help at no cost to the county.”

Stipes worked for a local gas company for over 20 years, starting as a driver in 1992. He was promoted to manager of that location a few years later.

“As a manager, I prepared the budget, was available 24/7 for call-outs, emergencies, etc.,” said Stipes. “I was also responsible for all company vehicles as well as the pumps, equipment and inventory. I was required to pass the Oklahoma State test to operate a propane business along with continuous training.”

Stipes said he conducted safety meetings and managed personnel, in addition to handling customers on a daily basis.

He began working for Mayes County District 1 in May of 2013.

“I have been responsible for mowing right-of-ways, driving dump trucks and have been exposed to most of what county road work involves. I am the only candidate currently certified to be commissioner with training in managing personnel, management budget process, open records, open meeting, statute reference and legislative process,” said Stipes.

Stipes has a few ideas about what changes he would make if elected.

“I would like to implement a mowing, grading and patching our chip and oil roads schedule, including maintenance of equipment and records. I would like to address areas with drainage issues. And I feel it is important to maintain a good working relationship with my fellow commissioners,” said Stipes. “In addition I would continue to educate myself and my employees regarding county business and equipment.”

Stipes said it takes a full understanding of the job to be a good commissioner.

“Oklahoma state statute states the county commissioner supervises county administration, manages property owned by the court, prepares a budget and advertises bids for county purchases. I feel a good county commissioner fulfills these duties as well as represents their district in the best interest of the county,” said Stipes.

“I believe this requires 24/7 dedication, answering questions, returning calls, continuous training in county rules like open meeting laws, budget, purchasing and personnel, all while managing day-to-day activities.”

Randy Pierce has worked for Mayes County District 3 for the past eight years.

“Prior to that I was in the trucking business for 15 years. I have hands-on experience in all areas of the job,” said Pierce. “I am familiar with all areas of the district from one end to the other. I have completed business classes at NTC (Northeast Technical College). If elected I would educate myself promptly with other classes needed for the business end of the job.”

Pierce thought small changes might be most important. He said he would “keep graders running to keep roads graded regularly.

“I would keep brush cutters running year-round to keep limbs back off the roadways. I would make better effort to patch paved roads and make sure the work force is better placed on a day-to-day basis.”

“Someone who gets along well with the people,” Pierce said, referring to what it takes to make a good county commissioner, “who keeps their best interest in mind in every situation and is respected by the people and other elected officials.”

District 3 voters are encouraged to head to the polls June 24.


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