Pennsylvania Primary Voters Guide

May 06, 2007

Franklin County Commissioners candidates

Editor's note: The Pennsylvania primary election is scheduled for Tuesday, May 15. The Herald-Mail sent out questionnaires to the 12 candidates for seats on the Franklin County Commissioners. Each candidate was asked the following three questions:

1. Why do you want to be a county commissioner?

2. What are your qualifications?

3. What is the most pressing issue in the county and how would you address it?

Candidates were limited to 100 words for each response. The answers on this page were edited for length.

Also listed for each candidate is his/her age, address, party affiliation and employment.

Clint Barkdoll

Age: 33

Address: 11963 N. Woodlea Drive, Waynesboro, Pa.

Party: Democrat


Employment: Attorney/partner, Kulla, Barkdoll, Ullman & Painter P.C.

1. For more than seven years now, I've worked on a daily basis with numerous areas of the Franklin County government. Through these experiences, I've grown concerned about the direction our county government has been moving in, and I think it's healthy for new ideas to be injected into the commissioners' office. I think my work experiences provide me with unique insight into the county government, and it would effectively translate to serving as commissioner. I'm also a believer in the positive role government can play in improving the lives of citizens, and I'd like to be part of that process.

2. Nearly 75 percent of the county budget is spent on areas related to crimes, courts and corrections. As an attorney, I work every day with the county courts and related offices. I think it's important for a commissioner to have this background to effectively manage and supervise these large aspects of the government. Over the years, I've appeared before many of the county's boards, including the election board and tax assessment board. I'm also a previous member of borough council in Waynesboro, and I've been the solicitor for the county treasurer's office for the past six years.

3.The county budget needs serious attention by the next board of commissioners. Since 1995, the county budget has increased by more than 320 percent. From 2001-06, the tax mill rate more than doubled. The county's debt load stands at nearly $50 million. In the foreseeable future, we could hit our statutory debt ceiling of 25 mills. I would immediately explore sources of nontax revenue, and look at ways to be more efficient with the management of certain programs. I would also press to regionalize certain services, so that we could work more closely with local municipalities to pool our collective interests.

Carl Barton

Age: 65

Address: 1505 Springview Circle, Chambersburg, Pa.

Party: Republican

Employment: Retired federal and state analyst

1. I am one of the few people who have attended commissioner meetings and read the newspaper articles dealing with county operations over several years. Based on these, it appears that the current commissioners have not devoted enough time to researching and solving the many county challenges. I concluded since I have retired that I could provide more and better county management at a cheaper price. I would be in the office all day, every day. Since I consider the position a public service, I would take only $43,000 (the county average total family income) of the $63,400 annual salary.

2. I have performed numerous cost-effectiveness studies for the U.S. Congress, the Department of Defense and the state of Pennsylvania. I was a key member of the Chambersburg Planning Commission in 1975-76 when it developed its first Master Plan. In my last job, I provided technical assistance to many Pennsylvania counties in child welfare, juvenile justice, alcohol, drugs, mental health and county budgets. Through my two adopted sons and a foster child, I have been a user of many county level services. Since two of the current commissioners are retiring, my county level experience would be very beneficial.

3. The most pressing short range issue is next year's tax increase after this election year deficit budget with a zero tax increase. After the last election year zero tax increase, there was a 14 percent tax increase the next year. The most pressing long range issue is the lack of long range operational analysis and planning effort. One example is the lack of a detailed budget tied to a five-year county plan. If there is no visible detailed budget, how are cost-effectiveness efforts being performed? Implementing a five-year county operational plan would provide better county results and reduced costs.

Samuel F. Cressler

Age: 46

Address: P.O. Box 249, Shippensburg, Pa.

Party: Republican

Employment: Self-employed

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