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The Carthage Press
  • For Jasper County Presiding Commissioner

  • Two people are running for the Republican nomination for Jasper County Presiding Commissioner.
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  • The Jasper County Presiding Commissioner leads the three-member body that governs the county and manages roads and bridges and the county budget.
    While the two associate commissioners are elected by voters in an eastern district and a western district, the presiding commissioner is elected by all Jasper County voters and serves a four-year term.
    The presiding commissioner presides over the weekly commission meetings and serves in other duties.
    Two people are running for the Republican nomination for Jasper County Presiding Commissioner. Since there is no candidate from any other party, the winner of this race is virtually assured of winning the next four-year term.
    The Carthage Press sent each of the two candidates a questionnaire with basic questions about the candidate's background and qualifications for the job. Here are their answers.
     
    Name: John Bartosh
    Q. How long have you lived in Jasper County?
    A. 36 years.
    Q. Talk about your background
    A. In 1978 we moved here and we bought Dairy D Dairy and milked 300 cows, that was a family operation. My dad and brother and me did that. I milked in the morning and he milked in the afternoon.  Then we sold out in 1986 and I bought Ozark Sanitation. I had a contract with every city in Jasper County except for Joplin because they hauled for themselves, and Carl Junction. I was the largest trash hauler in Jasper County, then I sold that in 1991 and I bought Four-State Stockyards and ran that from 1994 to 2000. At that time, I started Four-State Sanitation. Then I sold them about a year apart and didn't know what I was going to do so I built the Lucky J. We opened that in 2003, then I sold that to my kids before I was elected, then I didn't really know what I was going to do. It didn't retire me, but we were comfortable, so then I ran for this job.
    Q. Why did you decide to run for Jasper County Commissioner?
    A. A bunch of friends and I were in Mexico on the beach and one of them, one of the judges, said you know what, you're not doing anything, you'd make a good commissioner, why don't you run. At that time, in the Sheriff's fight, poor Chuck just let him beat him down, Chuck just wouldn't fight back. And I see why, but we all knew Chuck was going to get beat no matter what, he beat himself, and I told Chuck Surface that. I said I didn't run against you because you did something wrong. I got going, then I wanted to have something for my wife to do, so we bought the dry cleaners and she's running that, and we've got 24 rental houses. That's the story of my life. I used to have a catering business.
    Page 2 of 4 - Q. Talk about the job you are seeking. Why do you want to be Jasper County Presiding Commissioner?
    A. When I ran for the job, I didn't know a whole lot about what it was about and I decided after a few weeks into it that I'd been planning for this job all my life with all those businesses and all the employees that go with it. It just puts you in a position where you know how to deal with people. A lot of people get upset and people are mad when they come in here, that doesn't bother me at all. I like to make people happy when they walk out of here and that the challenge for me. You can get some stuff done and to me, my job comes pretty easy.
    Q. What qualifies you to be presiding commissioner?
    A. What I've done with my life before this was getting me ready for this. Because to be efficient at this job, you have to have run a business and worked with a lot of employees because if you haven't, these people will crucify you. You can't take anything personally. You just can't because it will get you down.
    Q. Why are you a better choice than your opponent?
    A. I feel like I'm better suited for the job. To my knowledge he's never owned a business and he's never had employees.
    Q. What are some of the topics/challenges you see facing the commission and what would you like to see done to face them.
    A. The budget is always going to be our biggest thing, to balance that and get all the other office-holders money to run their offices. That's just something in any business or anyone's life, money is the number one thing. If you've got the money, everyone is pretty happy. We've got issues with overcrowding in the jail, we'll always have that. We've got that under control as of right now and I think the way we incarcerate people is going to change with ankle bracelets and things like that. There are going to be some issues there. Keeping up this courthouse, it's a historical building and there are going to be some things there. Everything here that I've found, you don't go out and look for things to do, you take care of things as they become a problem. We're not here to reinvent the wheel, we're here to take care of the problems as they come up.
    Q. Anything else you would like the public to know?
    A. When I first got elected, I wasn't sure what this job was all about, but after a few weeks, I realized I had been preparing myself for this job all along. Between running a trash business to sale barns to Lucky J and all the employees along the way, the only difference is now I have bosses, and that's you, the voters of Jasper County. My job is to represent you, the voters. And I keep that in mind every time I make a decision. That's exactly what I stood on, I had no agendas.
    Page 3 of 4 -

    Name: Jim Lessy
    Q. How long have you lived in Jasper County?
    A. I've lived in Reeds for 32 years.
    Q. Talk about your background?
    A .year after I got married I moved to my wife's family's land and lived here ever since. I grew up in Phoenix and graduated from high school in Mount Vernon. Right now working for Leggett and Platt at Flexolators. What counts most for this job is I've got 24 years with the Sheriff's Department, 13 was reserves and then 11 years full time. Of the 11 years full time, 10 of those were with the court system, two years of courthouse security and eight years with delivering civil process serving. I was in and out of the commissioners office and the courthouse for 10 years.
    Q. Why did you decide to run for Jasper County Commissioner?
    A. The nuisance law upset me and my parents always said if you're not going to do something about it don't complain. So I'm doing something about it. It was wrong, it was on the ballot and people voted it down and he put it in there anyway. This is my response. It wasn't the will of the people. People voted it down and he put it in without them. It's been on the ballot in different ways about four times and they've always voted it down. They didn't want it.
    Q. Why do you want to be Jasper County Presiding Commissioner?
    A. I've seen a lot of things that aren't being done that should be done, we've got dirt roads that people have paid to be paved and they're being taxed to get them paved and they're still dirt. We've got several miles of roads like that. I don't like the way they've done the sheriff's department where they've removed the amount of taxes from his budget so they've taken that away from him. I think it should all stay with the sheriff's department where we can have the top employees.
    Q. What qualifies you to be presiding commissioner?
    A. I feel like I can do a better job of communicating and getting out with the people and try to help them. My opponent hasn't had any open hearings on anything they've voted on. They're discussing them all behind closed doors. It means no one else can put their opinion in.
    Q. Why are you a better choice than your opponent?
    A. I don't think they listen to the people. In my opinion they don't listen to people when they have a complaint. They just go on. I'm really concerned about that, my door will be open when I get in there. I'll listen to everyone. I can't guarantee I can fix everything, but I'll try.
    Page 4 of 4 - Q. What are some of the topics/challenges you see facing the commission and what would you like to see done to face them.
    A. One of the main things I'd like to see is I'd like to see a big courtroom attached to the jail and extend the jail where we don't have overcrowding in the jail and we don't have to transport prisoners all the way to Joplin constantly for court, which is miserable for everybody. Right now that's it.
    Q. Anything else you would like the public to know?
    A. That's about it.

     

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