Commission Seat A: Eardley seeks to retain spot for continuity, help new commissioner

WASHINGTON COUNTY — When incumbent Washington County Commissioner James “Jim” Eardley found out that his fellow commissioner Denny Drake would be bowing out in June, Eardley changed his plan not to seek re-election and decided to run one more time for continuity’s sake. Knowing that the other commissioner Alan Gardner would be finishing his term in two years, Eardley thought it would be a disadvantage to the County if all three of the long-time commissioners retired within a two year span.

“I don’t mean that in the way I’m indispensible, I don’t think I’m indispensible,” Eardley said.

In fact, he’s come to the conclusion that his multiple terms have become an issue, he said. That’s one of the reasons he was planning on ending his term this year.  However, after many people told him that he had a responsibility to the county – for continuity’s sake – to hang around a bit longer, Eardley decided to run one more time.

Eardley hopes that with he and Gardner around for a few more years, they can help the new commissioner filling Drake’s seat make vital community relationships, connections with other elected officials, and gain experience on the complexities of the position.

Commissioners spend a lot of time fostering relationships and lobbying with legislatures, Eardley said. “We have to work together on issues that are mutually beneficial…I feel like that I have those associations and that working experience with those individuals that can be very helpful as we deal with the variety of issues around the county.”

Eardley, who’s served on the commission for over 15 years is known politically as being super frugal with the county budget, while tenaciously doing everything in his power to keep property taxes low and also lobbying hard for the states rights.

Budget

He is about as tight with money as anybody I’ve ever known,” Commissioner Gardner said of Eardley.

He has been curcial in keeping the county’s budget in check through the ups and downs of the economy the last 15 years, Commissioner Denny Drake said. “He’s very astute when it comes to business acumen … he’s a real thinker. He looks at the options studies them out…and then makes good choices.”

“Frankly that’s been my charge since I’ve been on the commission,” Eardley said. “To keep things running on the business end of the county.”

Eardley said he spends a lot of time looking at county revenues, and trying to keep taxes down. “We’re one of the lowest taxed counties in the state and we intend to stay there.”

Federal government

Besides being a fiscal conservative, Eardley believes the federal government should have less power across the board. “Frankly, get the federal government out of the way a bit, I think they’re becoming more and more of a problem and the commission has, I think, done some good work. We’re in the process of doing a number of things to try to make that a better situation for everyone.”

Some of the things that Eardley said he hopes for in the future is keeping road access open to our lands, the possibility of having some mineral development in the future  and continuing to keep county taxes low.

I think we need to be able to choose our own destinies, and live our own lives,” he said.

“I love my county and the people in it, “ Eardley said. “I just want to continue to do what I consider a good job. If the folks don’t agree with that, why then I’ll do something else, if they do then I’m pleased and happy and delighted to serve.”

Eardley said this would be his last time running for county commission.

Republican delegates and party members can learn more about each of the candidates by attending the Washington County Republican Convention on Saturday, at the Gardner Center Ballroom at Dixie State University,  225 South 700 East, in St. George. Registration and electioneering begin at 7 a.m., with the convention officially starting at 8 a.m.

Commission race

Candidates for Commission Seat A

Candidates for Commission Seat B

Resources

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4 Comments

  • Rainbowruth April 10, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    Change requires change!

    • Aaron Eardley April 11, 2014 at 2:07 pm

      I’ll start out by disclosing that Jim Eardley is my father. That being the case I surely hold a bias, but I also know a lot about the man that most people don’t. He is a man of honesty and integrity even when it comes at a significant financial or other costs.

      So tell me then what change are looking for exactly? Is it the tight budget and low taxes you want to fix? Is it the practice of making everyone in the county account for and justify every tax payer penny they want to spend? Is it the countless hours he and the other commissioners spent trying to find ways of not increasing taxes when tax revenues were plummeting during the great recession of 2008?

      Frankly I asked him not to run again, and he wasn’t going to until he found out the other 2 commissioners were leaving office. I would rather have him be able to spend more time me and my kids. The job of County commissioner is a largely thankless one, but an important one for the county to run well. My dad is a great manager and a staunch defender of the rights of the people of Washington County. Really we are lucky to have him.

      I agree that a lot of things need to change in government at nearly all levels, but lets not get rid of one of the few truly great public servants in the process of throwing the rats out. I don’t agree with him on everything, and he isn’t perfect but you won’t find a better public servant.

  • Fairfax56 April 11, 2014 at 7:48 am

    Time to oust the good ole boys!

    • Aaron Eardley April 11, 2014 at 2:19 pm

      If that’s the case you better keep Jim Eardley around for a while longer. There has been more than one occasion where wealthy and influential people in the county have come looking for special treatment or a sweetheart deal from the county. In these cases he explained to them that it wasn’t going to happen. Sometimes these were people he knew well or considered friends. As you might expect they were not happy. He is a man that’s not afraid to make enemies if its the right thing to do.

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