Candidate Profiles: Carlton County Board of Commissioners District 4 (special election to fill two-year term ending Dec. 31, 2014) Robert (Bob) Olean • Susan Zmyslony
Question 1: How does your past experience, job or education qualify you to serve on the County Board?
Question 2: What do you believe the county’s role should be in economic development?
Question 3: What is the best plan to keep property taxes in check but to continue to provide essential services that county residents want and need?
Robert (Bob) Olean
I served on active duty with the United States Marine Corps and was honorably discharged with rank of Sgt. E-5 Leadership and discipline were key to my success with the military. I was employed by I.S.D. #93, Carlton School for 34 years, retiring as head of transportation. Budgets, schedules, discipline, employee relations, mechanical repairs, drug and alcohol testing were everyday routine. I was a member of Teamsters Local 346 for over 33 years. I also have over 11 years of service with Twin Lakes Township as a supervisor where budgets, roads, personnel, and serving the public were daily tasks. I am a past president and trail coordinator of the Wood City Riders Snowmobile Club. I was also past president and continue to be an active member of the National Wild Turkey Federation Carlton County Cutters Chapter and have been a 20 year member of the Minnesota Deer Hunters Association. Past member of the Carlton Volunteer Fire Department and retired after 12 years as the 1st Assistatnt Fire Chief. In addition, having served two years as Carlton County Commissioner, I have dealt with budgets, personnel, policy
and procedures, and the everyday function of county
Carlton County has a very active Economic Development Authority and through this agency we create new business, and expand existing business that increases employees and a larger tax base. Economic Development is good business for the county and for the most part self-sustaining. A strong foundation creates future county stability.
The use of proper budgeting with good checks and balances, along with creation of new businesses and industry and with an increased work force will lead to new residential housing in a safe environment and gives more strength to our tax base and helps keep the county services at levels that are wanted and needed.
Through my varied experiences, which include the Barnum School Board, Epilepsy Foundation, Northern Lights Interagency Council, Carlton County Agriculture and Industry Association, Walmart and volunteer with the Barnum flood relief center, I understand working with people to fulfill expectations and goals. I will bring dedication, a strong commitment to the board and the people, and a promise to fulfill all terms and expectations required of the position of County Commissioner. I look forward to tackling the tough budgetary decisions that will be confronting us in the future.
The County’s role should be one as a leader in economic development. Continued support to Carlton County’s Economic Development Director is essential, as this position is instrumental in the pursuit of grants for growth and sustainability. We need to continue to engage the citizens of the county and invest our energy to ensure growth within the region. It is through growth we stabilize our property taxes and provide good jobs for the people of our county. Thoughtful, reflective decision-making processes need to occur to work towards a richer quality of life in our county.
The county needs to control escalating property taxes while continuing to provide effective, quality services. We need to work together to find a balanced solution to achieve deficit reduction in a thoughtful way that facilitates, not undermines, economic growth. We need to determine where the money is going, whether the money spent is worthwhile and what the return is on our investment. Fiscal responsibility and tough choices are required to achieve a balanced budget. Many counties are experiencing the same problems as Carlton County and therefore collaboration with cities, townships and other counties is essential to address the issues of economic growth. We need to move from challenges to solutions and become success stories in economic