03/14/08 — Commission hopefuls to get briefing Monday

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Commission hopefuls to get briefing Monday

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on March 14, 2008 1:57 PM

Faced with 17 candidates -- incumbents and newcomers -- running for the Wayne County Board of Commissioners, first in the May 6 primary and then in the November general election, County Manager Lee Smith is organizing an information session to try and get everybody up to speed.

"They need information from us," he said. "We're just trying to make sure they have good information as they go through the campaign season."

Already, any candidate with a question can submit it in writing to the county manager's office, and each Friday, the responses are sent out to all 17, also in writing.

"We're just trying to be consistent," Smith said. "I think it's more fair."

So far, he continued, they've only asked a couple of questions, mostly focusing on budget issues, Medicaid reform, recent mental health changes and other issues in the news.

"We've not had many, but it's still pretty early," Smith said.

On Monday, though, they're going to take those responses a step further and attempt to introduce everyone to the county as quickly and easily as possible -- much like they did for the last commission election four years ago.

Each candidate will receive a booklet of information about the county, including about three pages from each department.

Then, each department will have a representative introduce themselves and explain their department's role in the county.

It won't be, Smith explained, a real question-and-answer period. Instead it will be more of an introductory crash course -- kind of like a county 101. He's asking that any questions be submitted in writing so that written responses can be sent out to every candidate, whether able to attend or not.

"You'll get to see who everybody is. We're going to try to hit some of all areas," he said.

The session will be held Monday in the Wayne County Courtroom No. 1 at 6:30 p.m.