YORK COUNTY – LeRoy Ott has been chosen as the York County Commissioner representing District 2.
Candidates were Ott, Tony Cain, Barry Heidtbrink and Gary Osentowski, who submitted applications following the unexpected death of Commissioner Woody Ziegler in December.
The four were interviewed by a panel consisting of York County Attorney Gary Olson, York County Clerk Kelly Turner and York County Treasurer Megan Williams. The attorney, clerk and treasurer are mandated by state law to be the deciding panel when a commissioner vacancy exists.
Following the interviews, the panel voted and Ott was chosen.
Ott said, during the interview process, “I want to serve others. I want to serve my entire county. That’s just what I do. My belief is we must serve our fellow man.”
He has spent more than a decade on the Emmaneul Faith School board, he’s coached baseball, run the Optimist baseball program, he’s been on the York Parks and Recreation Board for more than 13 years. He’s a CASA volunteers and was on that board for the past three years.
When asked why he wants to be a county commissioner, he said being a volunteer “is just who I am, what I do. I’ve been in the insurance agent/owner for many (25) years and have dealt with all corners of the county.” He said they sold their business but are still involved. “I have time to serve. I’ve been in York 33 years. I know the job is not just every other Tuesday. I will put in the time and effort.”
Ott was also a candidate for the position a year ago, when five people applied for the position when it was also vacated last January upon Commissioner Kurt Bulgrin becoming the new county assessor.
When asked if he is comfortable making hard decisions, he said, “Yes, but it’s also a five-person board where we might sometimes be tugged in different directions. Yes, I can make a hard decision – I’d also rather find a good solution for everyone.”
And when asked what qualities he possesses that would make him a good commissioner, he said, “I’m a good listener, a communicator.”
Cain also talked about his work in his community, noting he is currently serving on the Gresham Village Board.
“After working 37 years at Collins Aerospace, I have extensive computer and machinist skills,” he told the panel. “I have worked closely with HR during that time, which taught me a lot of training skills. I took those skills to the political arena as I’ve spent 15 years on the Gresham Village Board with the last four years as chairman. I have been involved with negotiations with contractors, our one- and six-year street plan, working on our comprehensive plan and community development. If chosen, I would use my experience to better my district and our county. I can’t sit still, I want to be involved in everything I do. I have a passion for public service.”
Osentowski talked about how he moved to York County in 1963 and has been a resident here ever since. “My strong suit is heating and air conditioning systems, running York Heating and Air since 1978. I want to put back into the community. I feel good about being in a place where we aren’t getting robbed every night, it’s safe here. I would like to help the community. Sometimes common sense takes over. After decades of running a business, I’ve learned about human resources, budgets, being able to follow through.”
Heidtbrink expressed how, as a farmer in the Gresham area, he’s worked with cash flows and budgets. He’s also served on the Gresham/Shelby/Rising City co-op board. “I was on the volunteer fire department for a number of years and became a certified EMT. I have time to serve on this board if asked, as I am semi-retired.” When asked what would be his first order of business, if chosen, Heidtbrink said, “I’d need to learn all that needs to be done, talk about roads, budgets and bridges.”
The three-person panel took a vote and York County Attorney Olson announced Ott was chosen as the next commissioner. He also thanked all the candidates for their willingness to serve and encouraged them to stay engaged with county business.