NOMINEES â€” These eight candidates in the November 2 election ballot participated on Thursday night in a forum conducted by the Decatur Rotary Club. From left are, seated, Brad Alberson, Stan Stoppenhagen, Tom Krueckeberg, and Judy Affolder; standing, Don Kuhn, Matt Lehman, Travis Holdman, and Shane Rekeweg. (Photo by Eric Mann)
The most local race in the November 2 election drawing the most attention is is for county sheriff, with three candidates.
All three — Republican Shane Rekeweg, a fulltime deputy sheriff; Democrat Jon Fuhrman, a longtime reserve deputy sheriff; and Independent Terry Nevil, a fulltime deputy sheriff — spoke at Thursday night's Decatur Rotary Club candidate forum in Riverside Center.
He noted his 18 years of police experience: the first three as a Berne policeman and the past 15 as a deputy sheriff who became an instructor in dealing with intoxicated drivers, firearms, criminal law, and traffic law.
He said he has a bachelor's degree in business management and a master's degree in business administration.
Rekeweg said his most important personnel decision has already been made: choosing to name longtime Decatur policeman Eric Meyer as his chief deputy if he is elected. He said the chief deputy must act, in effect, just as the sheriff does and praised Meyer's 30-year career, the last 20 years as a detective.
The GOP nominee said he has a "four-star plan" that covers working closely with the public and receiving comments from the people, keeping a tight rein on the budget in "trying times," providing the "training and tools" necessary for the department's staff, and maintaining the jail in a cost-effective manner while keeping it safe, adhering to all state standards, and upholding the constitutional rights of those in jail.
Rekeweg said the next sheriff must be "creative, resourceful, and studious" and must think "outside the box" and "analyze growing trends."
He declared that his education, experience, and commitment "fit me very well for this position."
He mentioned that this family came to this area in 1834, two years before Adams County was formed. He also cited his 25-year marriage and his work in 4-H as a student and an adult.
Fuhrman said he is "highly conservative morally and financially" and a hard worker who has been in business management since 1989 at Decatur Wire Die, Arnold Lumber, Fuhrman Precision Services, and Heritage Wire Die. As such, he said, he knows "how and when to make tough decisions."
He added that he is a strong defender of the U.S. Constitution.
His law enforcement experience covers more than 27 years as an ASCD reserve and led to him being the captain of the reserves. That amount of unpaid volunteer time shows "considerable dedication," he said.
Fuhrman said he has served under five sheriffs and "learned something valuable from all of them."
He listed these goals if elected: improve the morale of the department with better communication and teamwork; be more cost-efficient, gain ideas from the staff; update operational procedures; better maintenance of the jail to extend its life; possibly create evening and Saturday office hours for more public access; "reinvigorate the sheriff's work program": gain control of "comp time" issues: having an open-door policy:require all employees to treat the public as they treat their family: and work with the county council to control the budget.
Fuhrman concluded by saying that the hallmarks of his years as sheriff would be "leadership, integrity, values, and experiencem" which, as an acronym, are "words to 'live' by."
The final sheriff candidate to speak said his public service began in 1971 when he joined the Geneva Fire Department, of which he eventually served as chief. He was an early Emergency Medical Technician in the county and has operated Nevil's Body Shop in Geneva for 44 years.
He said he has been in law enforcement for 35 years: first as a reserve on the Geneva police force, then as a fulltime Geneva officer, next a dispatcher at the sheriff's communications center, and finally a deputy since 1979. He is also the ACSD's firearms instructor.
"I truly enjoy working for the people of Adams County," Nevil declared, adding that he would take a "common sense approach" to the job of sheriff.
He pledged to use his experience to have a sheriff's department that is trusted and believed in, with adequate resources provided to train and equip the deputies.
He also said he will keep up the jail and work well with the courts.
Nevil cited his "honor and integrity" and said that, in his long career, "I've seen you at your worst and I've seen you at your best. You won't regret voting for me for sheriff."