Picerno, Marcus face off for Commissioner
By JOHN LENTZ
Incumbent Nick Picerno will face challenger Ellen Marcus for the District 2 seat of the Moore County Board of Commissioners.
The District 5 position on the board is also open this year, but Republican Randy Saunders is running unopposed. Current Commissioner Tim Lea is not seeking re-election.
Picerno, a Republican first elected in November 2008, is a member of the board of health, the Local Emergency Planning Committee, the Emergency Services Advisory Committee, and the Workforce Development board.
A Moore County native, Picerno serves on the Department of Social Services' board of directors and the Pleasant Living Healthcare board of directors. Picerno has served two terms as commissioners chairman, in 2008 and 2011.
Picerno said his most important role as a county commissioner is to be an advocate for citizens.
"My role is to provide the services that are necessary for citizens to pursue 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,'" he said. "This begins by understanding what those services are and how they are to be paid for. Upon my election in 2008, our economy was melting down, and sources of revenue were decreasing at all levels of government. Our federal government decided to borrow money to fund its services, while we (in Moore County) chose to cut spending to balance our budget."
Picerno said those cuts were done with the "least effect" on citizens and employees.
"Most cannot even name where they occurred, yet in addition to cutting the cost, we reduced their property taxes to help everyone in balancing their own fin-ances. Responsible, efficient government can be done if the elected people are willing to do the work."
Picerno said he will address pending issues that he believes are "crucial to providing the continued lifestyle we enjoy, especially for our kids and grandkids."
"By reducing the amount of money that government takes, it allows our citizens to make the personal choices as to where they spend their hard-earned dollars," Picerno said. "Therefore, keeping a lean budget is a top priority (and) within that budget, we must have priorities. These include our share of funding for the education of our kids, providing law enforcement the tools they need to keep us safe, and holding those accountable that don't play by the rules. It includes protecting and expanding our water and sewer capacity which, in turn, make economic growth possible."
Picerno said that hiring a new county manager is also a high priority.
"Treating people fairly by reducing unnecessary and outdated ordinances that don't pass the 'common sense' test, looking after the employees of the county so they can serve the public efficiently and providing for their families, and continuing to develop economic opportunities here so people work, play and then retire here" are additional priorities that Picerno said he would address.
Picerno also said he had "many reasons" to run for reelection.
"It begins with my love of my home," he said. "I was born and raised here, attended Moore County schools, and founded a business that makes its home here in our county. We must continue to redefine and reinvent our government in order to provide those necessary services, but (must also) 'get out of the way' when government becomes the problem."
Marcus, a Democrat, said that addressing the increase in the Moore County poverty rate will be one of her priorities as a county commissioner.
"From 2008 to 2011 the poverty rate in Moore County increased from 8 to 19 percent, one of the highest increases in America," she said. "It is time to be proactive in checking and reversing the problem. We first need to fully understand the underlying problems and then we can address this challenge with assertive efforts that will improve quality of life."
Marcus said she will bring "positive change" as a new member of the board.
"One of the first changes I will bring to the Moore County commissioners is that I offer perspectives and a background that are not adequately represented on the board. However, I will not push for change just for the sake of change - there should be a thoughtful process to solve problems.
"Our current board has sometimes become bogged down, pushing national and state political agendas in Moore County. My focus will be at the local level. I will work hard improving job growth, decreasing the poverty rate and protecting and conserving our resources."
Marcus said the first step in positive change is education.
"This responsibility should not fall solely on our education system," she said. "We need to work at the individual, family, community and county levels to instill in our youth a sense of civic pride with the expectation of community service."
Marcus, who planned to complete a weekend walking tour across the county today as part of her campaign, said she is seeking the position of county commissioner based on her "convictions."
"My daddy was a smart, quiet, honest and hardworking man," she said. "He seldom complained, and his attitude was 'actions speak louder than words.' I am running for office because I am acting on my convictions. I will leave self-interest at the door and focus on the issues that are important to the whole county.
"I am not a politician," she said. "What I lack in experience I will make up for in common sense, energy, intelligence, creativity, fairness and being a good listener. I have no interest in moving on to Raleigh or running for other offices. If elected, my goal is to listen to my fellow citizens, be hands-on, and act in fairness."
Contact John Lentz at (910) 693-2479 or jlentz@thepilot. com.
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