Owner of BarryStaff, Inc.
Miami Township Trustee
Wayne High School 1990
BSBA Ohio Northern University 1994
I have government experience but I’m not entrenched in my ways. I’ve been a trustee in Miami Twp. for the past 5 years. Since then we’ve seen over $70 million in development, cut down Fire Department response times through collaboration with the city of Miamisburg and passed significant safety upgrades to the Miami Twp. police headquarters, which is the largest township police force in the county. We did it all in the face of dwindling funds from the state. In my heart, however, I’m a businessman. I have been the owner of BarryStaff Inc. (located in downtown Dayton) for over 20 years. As the owner of a staffing business, I have personally worked with employers for over two decades about their needs, struggles and aspirations. We work with over 100 companies in the area, ranging from manufacturing to IT to distribution. My business employs thousands of people every year. In 2017 we were awarded the Better Business Bureau’s prestigious Eclipse Integrity Award. I believe my combination of hardcore business experience and government work can greatly benefit the people of this county.
Filing suit against the pharmaceutical companies that contributed to the rise of the opioid crisis is a good start. Beyond that, we need a 3-prong approach. First, we need to support local law enforcement in locking up the people who are selling this poison. Beyond that, we also need to better find out where their supply is coming from so we can more effectively work to cut off the problem at its root. Second, we need to support people in recovery. I don’t believe jail is the best place to rehabilitate someone arrested for a drug offense. I’m currently working with a nonprofit called Families of Addicts (FOA) to stay educated on this issue. Their leadership team has vast amounts of experience supporting both people in recovery and their families. We need to bring groups like theirs to the table on a regular basis because their insight is invaluable. Finally, we need to get into the schools earlier and give kids a realistic view of what happens when they become involved with this stuff. With opioids as abundant as they are, it means kids are bound to run into them sooner rather than later. We need to show them the toll they take on the people who use them.
The opioid crisis is the biggest issue facing the county (see above). The next issue is improving local education, namely Dayton Public Schools. A strong Dayton Public School system will increase home ownership in Dayton and ease the tax burden on all of Montgomery County residents. We need families to move back into the city of Dayton (right now it’s mainly millennials and empty nesters). The problem is that families won’t move in as long as DPS — and its perception — suffer. The millennials will head back out in a few years once they start having children. Without more families living in Dayton, downtown and it’s neighborhoods all suffer. And the fact is Dayton needs to be strong if we want Montgomery County as a whole to be strong. Turning the population drain sround should begin with our schools. Furthermore, schools are tied to property taxes. The issues of urban blight, workforce development and boosting the tax base are all tied into this problem. A county commissioner’s role in the issue should be one of leadership. We should step up and lend our voices to areas that are seeing progress. We should act on the behalf of great educators.
First and foremost the county commissioners need to be willing to work with our sheriff. Second, Montgomery county jail officials are not trained to deal with the mentally ill and roughly 30 percent of inmates suffer from various conditions that fall under this umbrella. We need to get them out of the jail and we do this by working hand in hand with our great healthcare community to better rehabilitate them. Once that change is made, we’ll have plenty of room in the jail for criminals who deserve to be there.
My opponent has been part of the county government for a long time and supported the sales increase, where I was strongly opposed. There’s no reason to believe there will be an influx of new ideas if we keep electing people that have been part of county government for years. Being a commissioner will be my full-time job, but I’ve never worked “regular” hours in my life. I’m used to working from early in the morning until late at night. I’ve had one job since I graduated from college and that’s to get people employed. I’m not a career politician and I don’t have aspirations of being one. I want to take the things that have led to success in my business and at Miami Township and apply them as a Montgomery County Commissioner. I don’t have an ax to grind with my opponent, but we have fundamental differences on how to solve the issues facing the county.
We have a number of different economic development groups throughout the county (Downtown Dayton Partnership, Dayton Development Coalition, Citywide Development and the Montgomery County Port Authority, etc.). Along with those entities, we need to put together a plan with tangible measurables to help our local businesses grow and to attract companies to the region. In Montomgery County we have the means to attract a broad spectrum of jobs. For instance, our infrastructure (interstates, air and rail) will provide easy movement of goods while our colleges, universities and trade schools all provide great resources to attract and fill jobs in high tech, IT, healthcare, engineering and design.
Montgomery County residents are paying more than enough in sales tax. It’s time to reinstitute the local government fund that our municipalities counted on in order to make tangible differences in our communities. Here’s the thing. The state of Ohio’s rainy day fund sits at $2.7 billion. That’s money that can go back to our communities and benefit areas like ecomonic development and the arts. As a business owner and Miami Township Trustee I’ve developed great relationships with our state officials and I’ve already had conversations with them about bringing back the local government fund.
First of all, our cost of living is low compared to many places around the country. We don’t have mountains or oceans, but that’s a huge financial perk that can’t be overlooked. If we see improvement in a few local school systems, gain a tighter grip on the opioid epidemic and get back some of the taxpayer money sitting idle at the state level, we’ll be able to capitize on our low cost of living and effectively compete with places like Columbus or even Seattle.
I am opposed to the increase because dozens of people approached me within 48 hours after reading about it in the paper. People lead busy lives, and they were generally unaware it was increasing. Once I heard from them I decided to take a stand and lead a petition drive over the summer in an effort to overrride the commissioners’ decision and put the decision in the hands of voters. We gathered thousands of signatures in only a couple weeks. We didn’t run out of signatures, we just ran out of time. Commissioners have said that they had no choice but to raise the sales tax and make us one of the three highest taxed counties in the state. I couldn’t disagree more. There are areas we can rein it in if it meant the difference between taxing our citizens and not. For instance, I don’t run my business the same way I did 10 or 15 years ago. I’ve adapted. The county needs to adapt too. If you want your county government to be run differently than it always has been, the choice is clear on November 6th.
I have served as Montgomery County Treasurer since February 2007. I have championed land banking and have served as the Chair of the Montgomery County Land Bank since its inception in 2011. My previous work experience included 14 years in business with local corporations Reynolds and Reynolds and LexisNexis and an environmental consulting firm in Cincinnati ; 6 years in public education - as an elementary special education teacher and as Director of Executive Education at Wright State's Raj Soin College of Business; and a lifetime of volunteer work with several non-profits such as Junior Achievement, Dayton Sister Cities Committee ( Holon, Israel co-chair), TWIGs, and the Rotary Club of Dayton. I have served on the boards of the Rotary Club of Dayton, Dayton Council on World Affairs and the Community Blood Center/Community Tissue Services. I was a College Promise mentor for four years, hosted two students from Bosnia Herzegovina (2015) and Mexico (2016) through Rotary Youth Exchange. I chaired the Dayton Peace Accords 20th Commemoration Logistics Committee. I currently serve as the Peace Committee Chair for Rotary Club of Dayton. Throughout my 30 year professional career as well as my lifetime of community service, I have been passionate about making a difference and giving back to my community because I always put people first.
I received my Master of Business Administration from Wright State University and my Bachelor of Science in Education from Miami University in Ohio. I completed the Genesee Institute's Community Land Reform Initiatives executive education program at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.
My diverse work and volunteer life have given me a broad view and context for tackling the issues this region will face in the coming years. When I see problems, I try to find a solution.
When I became Montgomery County Treasurer, the county and the rest of the country were beginning to deal with the fallout of the Great Recession. We saw massive foreclosures, families struggling with a wide range of financial issues, abandoned houses, neighborhoods succumbing to blight. I worked with state and local officials to create the Montgomery County Land Bank, which has brought in more than $25 million in funding to reduce blight and stabilize neighborhoods. For five years, I funded the county's Foreclosure Mediation Program resulting in more than 1,250 families staying in their homes. In addition, I recognized that people with delinquent taxes often needed help with other problems they have so my office developed a relationship with United Way's HelpLink 2-1-1, and we began referring people for additional services. These are examples of initiatives I led that were not in the Treasurer's job description, but were the right things to do to help solve some very real problems in our community.
My perspective and the decisions I make are informed by hearing from many people with diverse views. During my time as Treasurer, I have made it a point to visit regularly with the residents and leaders of subdivisions and bodies that comprise this county: 17 cities, 5 villages, 9 townships, 16 school boards, and the Career Technology Center. I listen to the concerns of elected officials and citizens, and I will continue to advocate for bringing many voices to the table to strengthen our region. My track record as County Treasurer as well as the variety of business and education positions I have held over my 30-year career uniquely qualify me to become an effective county commissioner.
The opioid crisis is a public health emergency, and we are rightfully treating it as such. The Community Overdose Action Team (COAT) is a group of key stakeholders who meet monthly to share data, discuss strategies, and collaborate on actions. COAT is taking the lead on responding to this health emergency and seeing some success, with a reduction in the overdose rate, but there is still much to do. It is exploring best practices from around the nation to introduce appropriate ideas and strategies to Montgomery County. We are working with physicians to reduce the over-prescribing of opioids and increased resources for people seeking assistance in overcoming addiction. We must continue to be a leader in providing education to reduce or prevent new addictions, services to assist those struggling with addiction and their families, support for children left without an effective parent to raise them, and hold drug dealers and corporations who contributed to this addiction storm accountable. I support the county's decision to pursue litigation against the drug-makers, but we still have more to do. We must make lawmakers in Columbus and Washington, DC aware of the challenges this crisis places on our community and the resources needed to address it. It will take years to overcome this opioid crisis. Babies born addicted and families who have lost loved ones will spend their entire lives impacted by this tragic situation. As a community, we must rally around those addicted to provide more services and support.
By law, the county must ensure that we have a balanced budget every year. This has been no easy task over the past decade, especially in the face of more than $30 million in state-enacted revenue cuts. We have absorbed those budget cuts and still managed to maintain a high level of services, despite eliminating more than 500 county jobs in recent years. I am committed to continually reviewing our expenditures and revenue and making certain we are meeting the priorities we set so we can continue to serve the needs of our residents. We must always strive to provide service in the most customer-friendly and efficient manner possible. I will work hard to restore the partnership with the state and champion the need for increasing local government funds to fulfill our mandates.
As already mentioned, the opioid crisis is having a devastating effect on our community, with a deep impact on families, our health care and mental health systems, and our criminal justice system. We must be prepared to stay the course on this crisis and create a framework that will support recovery, like housing, training, and community health services.
All of these issues, though, tie back to economic and workforce development. When people have good paying jobs, they can invest in their communities and their homes; they have access to health care and treatment. We must continue the success we have had in bringing good paying jobs with benefits to Montgomery County. Employment in the Dayton metro area grew 2.4 percent between 2016 and 2017 - 10,700 new jobs - and we have to maintain that growth. We must invest in workforce development so businesses can find the employees they need, and workers are trained and ready to fulfill the jobs of today and the future. To achieve this, we should expand and improve career technical education and vocational education programs as well as making individuals aware of apprenticeship programs.
The Montgomery County Jail is an important regional asset. It is stressed by being asked to do more than it was designed to do. It was never meant to be a mental health facility, a drug treatment facility, or a prison for people convicted of felonies. Poor decision-making at the state level has forced it to become all of these things. As a result, the jail is currently understaffed and overpopulated. The whole community needs to be involved in planning for the future of the jail to ensure that everyone from staff to inmates are safe and treated with respect. The current community review should continue, and I look forward to its report and recommendations. There will undoubtedly be a need for increased funding in this area, and we will work as a community to find the best way to update and improve the jail to meet this need.
I am a businesswoman, educator, public servant, and dedicated volunteer all rolled up in one. My thirty years of experience has been quite diverse. Over the years, I have gained a deep knowledge of our county and its needs. I have spent my life actively engaged in community-based problem-solving, I have spent all my time in public office listening to the people of Montgomery County. I believe in creative approaches to issues and in bringing a wide range of people and views to the table to make sure that we are exploring all possibilities. I am a responsible, proven leader who is passionate about giving back to my community and making a difference.
My opponent is very involved in his school and local community and has stepped up to serve his local community. I commend him for his community and public service. He is married with two teenage sons-he puts a high value on family just like me.
Montgomery County has been investing in economic development, from Austin Landing in Miami Township to Procter and Gamble in Vandalia. I want to make sure that we learn from each new investment. How was the process from the perspective of the company? For new workers? Were the county's efforts effective, productive, beneficial? What could or should we do differently in the future to best capture future opportunities?
As county commissioners, we need to ensure that we have funds available for economic development, including staffing, and innovative programs like the ED/GE fund which supports local governments' efforts to attract jobs. We are responsible for strategic planning, providing leadership, and acting as advocates, working to secure state and federal investments.
Our Job Center is another example of leadership by the county commission, creating an innovative space that addresses the needs of both job seekers and employers. More than 20 years after it opened, visitors from other counties are still coming to our Job Center to learn how a similar program might be implemented in their own community.
As commissioner, I will work on a project called Global Dayton, an initiative to better market ourselves to companies across the world and attract more investment to our region. I want to help companies here identify the opportunities and unmet needs of our community and the ways in which we can connect across the globe. We must assess our needs and the opportunities they may reveal.
We must also focus on education and job training. My education experience at Wright State involved helping people obtain more education. We can continue to work as partners with the wealth of educational institutions in our region. We must improve our students' preparation for college and the trades and make sure we have the jobs that will keep them here or bring them back to our community. Filling the gap in skilled trades jobs will bring greater prosperity to our county.
Economic development, support for the arts, and many other service priorities are paid for through the General Fund, where sales tax and other revenue are deposited. (Some other services have their own dedicated funding streams.) Based on State of Ohio funding changes, Montgomery County has lost nearly $32 million from its General Fund in the last ten years. Without the new sales tax revenue, an additional $9 million annually would be lost beginning in 2019 because of the State's failure to address the Medicaid Managed Care tax changes. Every year, county commissioners make tough choices to ensure we have a balanced budget. Having a balanced budget every year is good financial planning; it is also a State Law. This requires making difficult choices and funding mandated services first. Every part of the county government looks to provide services efficiently and at the lowest cost, and make changes to use the most efficient methods. Since economic development and funding for community amenities like the arts is not mandated, these initiatives would be the first to be cut if needs outweigh resources. Montgomery County, like most communities in Ohio, is struggling to provide the services that our residents want and expect because of the broken partnership by the State as they seek to remove long-standing funding streams and push unfunded mandates onto communities.
Montgomery County must continue to support innovation and existing high tech companies. The region today is home to the largest single site employer, WPAFB, and also one of the highest concentrations of engineers in the state. The area is also home to the University of Dayton Research Institute, Wright State University, and numerous large corporate research centers owned by corporations like Emerson and General Electric. The region has grown Tech Town as an incubator of emerging tech companies. Continuing to build on the existing organizations while working with our partners, Dayton Development Coalition and the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, and WPAFB, the region will attract new companies to seek opportunity here due to the workforce experience and our long history of innovation.
In addition, by having safe communities comprised of workers with the skills that employers need AND business locations that have the transportation, water, utility and other infrastructure businesses need to grow their organizations, Montgomery County can continue to attract new employers and can help existing companies grow. Most new jobs come from businesses already in the community, not from new employers moving in. Montgomery County's efforts in law enforcement, workforce development, and road and water infrastructure are all designed to make the county attractive to the widest range of employers.
The County Commission made a difficult decision to increase the local portion of the sales tax rate after almost 30 years at the same 1% rate. It should be noted that the State of Ohio raised its portion of the sales tax rate to 5.75% in 2014 without public input. Since that increase, the state eliminated millions of dollars in local government funding to Ohio counties and has continued to impose unfunded mandates to human services and other aspects of county government. Montgomery County underwent a year-long review of options. A review panel recommended trimming expenses, coupled with a modest sales tax increase, so the county can continue investments in critical services and infrastructure. There was a long public review and discussion process where many people and organizations provided input. Montgomery County's modest 0.25% increase will allow the County to continue to invest in criminal justice, economic development, and infrastructure. The increase results in an additional twenty-five cents tax on one hundred dollars, which is expected to cost the average person $36 per year. Riley Dugan, a University of Dayton assistant professor of marketing, stated in a September 28, 2018 Dayton Daily News article that this level of sales tax increase "isn't likely to have a lasting effect on shopping habits" and "from a long-term perspective, they don't have much of an effect." Nonetheless, it was a difficult decision to make, and it was made carefully and with a broad range of community input. No one wants to increase sales tax, but it was the only choice the county commissioners had if they were to do what is in the community's best interest. If the State of Ohio had been the partner it used to be, the county never would have faced this dilemma.