Editor, Times-Union:
I have met Jon Fussle a number of times recently, most recently at his “Second Council” meeting on Tuesday, April 8. I like Jon, but will be voting to re-elect Bob Conley as county commissioner. Following are some of the reasons for this decision – which I have discussed with Jon.
He states he is running on a platform of communications and transparency, and yet he is unable to give any specificity to this and is unable to say how he would be different from Bob Conley in these areas. We all heard a lot about “Hope and Change” in 2008, and are suffering from not demanding greater details of what this meant. We can’t go down that road again.
He was elected to a four-year term on the county council starting in January 2013 and yet filed as a candidate for commissioner only 13 months later. I can’t accept this lack of commitment to the job at hand. Also, of the 13 council meetings held during that time, Jon was absent from five of them, an absentee rate of almost 40 percent. I attend most commissioner’s meetings and know that in the past four-plus years (from Jan. 1, 2010, to date) there have been 114 commissioner’s meetings and Bob Conley has only missed three. Bob Conley obviously has the greater commitment to his elected job.
At the March 25 “Meet the Candidates” night in Syracuse, Jon Fussle emphasized his expertise as an airplane pilot and instructor and his ownership of a flying club as the experiences that should be considered as the reasons he is qualified to be a county commissioner. At the April 8 meeting of the Warsaw Board of Aviation Commissioners Jon was declared in breach of his contractual commitments to begin repaying his significant fuel debt owed to the airport, had not paid his hangar land lease payment and had not provided any proof of him having needed insurance. Additionally, it was reported that two other Indiana airports had called the Warsaw airport asking that Warsaw pay the two fuel charges accrued by the “Warsaw City Flying Club.” It is believed that Jon implied that his “Warsaw Flying Club” was able to charge fuel back to the Warsaw airport, when in fact Jon is not able to even purchase fuel or get maintenance on his planes at the Warsaw airport, due to him being seriously delinquent in his payments for these services. While it has been reported Jon has now paid his Warsaw airport fuel bill, it has come only after legal action was initiated. This is not the type of fiscal irresponsibility that we need or want leading our county.
Finally, it was also reported that the FAA is investigating Jon for taking off on a closed runway at Warsaw, over a maintenance worker at his truck with emergency lights flashing, and that his plane has not been registered since last November. It has recently been reported by Jon that it was one of his students that took off illegally. If this is the case it indicates inadequate instruction. Whether it was Jon or one of his students, it is not the safe, responsible behavior I expect from a county executive.
Bob Conley has a proven record of high quality service and a dedicated commitment to the county through his years as a commissioner. I will be voting for Bob on May 6 and urge you to also do so.
Jim Newcombe
Leesburg, via e-mail