Name: Ron Brown
Current position: Ellis County Commissioner, Precinct 4
City of residence: Red Oak
Education: Graduate of Waxahachie High School
Graduate of East Texas State University with BBA
Prof Creds/Certs/ Commendations: Member of Regional Transportation Committee;
Appointed by Gov. Bush to chair Regional Review Committee; Former SPCA Board Member; Judge Pro Tem; Past President of Ellis County Elected Officials; Past Member of Committee on Ageing; Presented Award of Excellence in Going the Extra Mile by Texas County Progress Magazine; Certified in Emergency management by the National Incident Management System
Prior Experience: 19+ years as commissioner for Precinct 4
Family:Wife, Vickie, daughters, Gyna and Lori, one granddaughter, Tyler, 4; grandsons, Colten, Kirby, Gibson and Waylan.
QUESTION 1: In your own word, why are you running for Ellis County Commissioner?
ANSWER: I have been running for county commissioner every day for over 19 years. I feel that I have made a difference in our community. I want to be part of improving our county even more.
QUESTION 2: Ellis County is growing, and with growth comes new challenges – and problems. As county commissioner, what are some of the policies/programs you will implement to improve services and combat growth-related problems in our county?
ANSWER: The biggest problem of a growing county, I feel, is crime.
Our law enforcement is doing a great job, and we need to continue to see that they are funded.
Another problem is infrastructure of a growing community. When I first same into office, a significant number of wooden bridges were deemed unsafe by TxDOT.
During my tenure, I have replaced all wooden bridges and upgraded them to permit school busses and emergency vehicles to travel safely.
QUESTION 3: As county commissioner, what will you do to involve the citizens in informing and/or taking as active role with county government to solve/address issues facing Ellis County?
ANSWER: I have always had and open door policy. I welcome all input from the citizens and always want to meet with those who have concerns.
QUESTIONS 4: What would you identify as the top three issues facing Ellis County and as a county commissioner, how would you address those issues?
ANSWER: 1) Keeping taxes low while improving services. As people know, I do not vote for tax increases.
2) Increase in crime as we grow…I feel we must make sure that our law enforcement has the tools to keep the crime rate down.
3) Infrastructure. We must continue to find efficient ways to move the increased traffic of a growing county.
QUESTION 5: As county commissioner, what do you see as the pros and cons of a combine road and bridge division for the county?
ANSWER: Having a unified road and bridge division would save money. However, I feel it would be best if this was phased in gradually over a number of years and only with approval of all commissioners.
QUESTION 6: Would you be in favor or against a proposal to bring road and bridge work under a single county department?
ANSWER: I would be in favor of a road and bridge unit system only if the majority of commissioner were in agreement.
QUESTION 7: What do you see as the biggest budgetary challenge currently facing Ellis County and, as county commissioner, how would you address that issue?
ANSWER: The biggest budgetary challenges are in law enforcement and criminal justice.
We have implemented a more efficient jail which helps the sheriff to utilize personnel. I feel that we should look into the use of court-appointed attorneys for the indigent cases and continue to look at ways to save money in administrating the court.
QUESTION 8: If you could have a wish list of three items to change Ellis County government, what would they be and why?
ANSWER: 1) I would like to see a continued lower tax rate.
2) I would like to see less U.S. and state involvement in local affairs.
3) I would like to have a workshop before each commissioners court to allow community input.
QUESTION 9: As administrator of one of the largest employers in Ellis County, what do you see as the challenges facing human resources and your thoughts on addressing those challenges.
ANSWER: Workman’s comp claims are a challenge facing human resource. We need more training in workplace safety for supervisors and department heads.
Continued vigilance of training in workplace safety is critical.
QUESTION 10: How is illegal dumping in Ellis County being addressed now, and as a county commissioner, what are your thoughts on how it can be improved?
ANSWER: Keeping up with illegal dumping is a work in progress. Each precinct schedules “dump days” but there is still quite a problem.
County administration in conjunction with law enforcement is taking a hard line toward violators. We could look into the possibility of having more dump days for our citizens.
QUESTION 11: Are you current on your personal and business taxes?
QUESTION 12: Have you personal had criminal and/or civil legal issues (this does not include any litigation as a public official) and if so, how were those resolved?
QUESTION 13: What do you see as the key transportation issues facing Ellis County and what is your vision at this time for addressing those issues? (Please elaborate on your vision to improve the county’s infrastructure needs).
ANSWER: Our county growth is key transportation issue. Roads can always be improved. In the past 90 days I have traveled to Austin with other officials to address transportation issues with the Chairman of the Transportation Commission. Along with State Rep. Jim Pitts and Judge Carol Bush, I have met to discuss funding for widening of Interstate 35E. I have also discussed funding for widening of Hwy. 664 from I45 to 287.
QUESTION 14: What is your experience in administration a major budget?
ANSWER: I have over 19 years of managing the budget of one of the largest employers in Ellis County and stand on my record of opposing tax increases.
QUESTION 15: Ellis County has several partnerships with non-profits. Please discuss the pros and cons of these partnerships should be expanded or decreased.
ANSWER: Unfortunately, in today’s society not everyone acts responsibly, and when it comes to our children, there is great need for the Child Welfare Board, CASA and the Gingerbread Advocacy Center.
Meals on Wheels is another partnership that is doing wonderful work supplying meals to our shut-ins.
Hope Clinic is staffed with volunteers who are providing preventative care, giving care to patients before their problems can get to a catastrophic state, and saving the county money by seeing these patients who would otherwise end up in our emergency rooms.
We partner with the Historical Society, and I think we must preserve our heritage and roots for future generations.
I do think each of these partnerships is good for the county; however, I think we should look at each one on a regular basis to determine what our involvement as a county should be.
QUESTION 16: Discuss your thoughts on indigent health care and what the county could or should do to address this issue.
ANSWER:If every application was answered honestly, we would have enough money for funding; however, as with most welfare programs, there is some abuse. Our local department does a great job identifying those persons who qualify for help. With their programs, Hope Clinic helps keep indigent healthcare costs down. The indigent healthcare situation is a constant work in progress.
QUESTION 17: Tell us why you feel you are the best person for this position.
ANSWER: I have the most experience in the job as County Commissioner. I have a 19 year record of standing against tax increases.
QUESTION 18: As an administrator of one of the county’s largest employers, what changes would you like to make to improve morale and retention of county employee?
ANSWER: Most of our employees take pride in their work which is reflected in the efficient way our county is run. I try to give credit where credit is due … everyone needs to know they are appreciated.
I think we must continue to work to keep county employee benefits and salaries competitive with the private sector in our community.