Richard J. Beebe, 50, a Sebring Republican, grew up in Binghamton, upstate New York. He graduated from Syracuse University with a bachelor's in business management and economics, with a minor in accounting. He has certificates in paralegal and pharmacy. He has lived in Florida for 10 years and Highlands County for seven years.
His qualifications also include 27 years in business management, where he was responsible for a $50 million budget. He was the community leader for all four Walgreens in Highlands County. He is running for the District 5 seat on the Highlands County Commission.
You'll hire the next county administrator. What will you look for?
Honesty, integrity, credentials and background check. Is the candidate the best fit for the county? Will the candidate work well with commissioners, department heads and employees?
What should be a commissioner's priorities in cutting the budget?
Look line by line at all departments in the county to find every penny that can be saved. Have all department heads disclose where the cuts could be made.
Is Highlands an urban county or a rural county?
Rural county. But we are growing and need comprehensive land plans for the next 5, 10 and 20 years.
What is the most important issue affecting Highlands County?
The economy, jobs, creation of new jobs, comprehensive planned growth, new business markets.
Which decision of the commission would you have made differently?
The asphalt plant. Too many restrictions from the grant received make too much user restrictions.
DCA defines Blue Head and Lake Placid North and South as sprawl. What's your opinion?
You can not stop Highlands County from growing, but you need long term comprehensive planning now.
The commissioners were criticized for the way they fired Mike Wright. What should they have done?
I will not Monday morning quarterback the commissioner's decision, but the next contract should be more in favor of the county. Formal written performance reviews at three months, six months and a year for the first year or two. Then yearly reviews.
Highlands County owns an asphalt plant. What should be done with it?
If we are not making a profit or reducing our own expenses by owning our own asphalt plant then we need to get out of the business.
The library loans DVDs, CDs, popular novels and shows movies. Which services should libraries provide?
The libraries should supply books, DVDs and CDs that are for research, education purposes and public reading.