Democrats offer campaign pledge

FONDA – Montgomery County’s Democratic candidates have put together a pledge to taxpayers regarding the goals and resolutions they plan to accomplish if they are elected to be part of the county’s new form of government in January.

“Ben Franklin once said, and I’m paraphrasing here, ‘If you get up tomorrow and do the same thing that you did today, then tomorrow will be today,’ Democrat Roy Dimond, the District 3 county legislator candidate, said Thursday. “Jan. 1, we won’t be doing the same things that we did today; Jan.1 will be a new day.”

In February, the Board of Supervisors approved a change in the county’s government for 2014. The county will be led by a legislative form of government with a county executive instead of a board of supervisors.

On Thursday, Democratic candidates pledged five promises and the five resolutions.

“The candidates put forth a kind of a comprehensive strategy to let the taxpayers know what we would do as a team in January,” said Bethany Schumann-McGhee, chairwoman for the county’s Democratic Committee.

Tom Quackenbush, the District 2 candidate, said the first promise of the pledge is to “work with any elected officials of any party for the betterment of the county, without partisanship.”

Dimond said the second promise is to hold regular meetings within legislative districts so constituents are informed.

Jeffrey Stark, the District 7 candidate, said the third promise states contracts and appointments will be made “based on value and qualifications.”

“It’s time to end cronyism, it’s time to get the best value for our money on appointments and contracts, and that’s our pledge,” Stark said.

Dominick Stagliano, the Democratic candidate for county executive, said the fourth promise is to “strengthen existing relationships and develop partnerships with state officials who play a vital role in successful economic development.”

District 9 candidate Robert Purtell said the final promise is the candidates “will aggressively support county and regional economic development efforts through involvement with and oversight of the Montgomery County Business Development Center.”

The resolutions the candidates plan to pass within the first 100 days in office include a full accounting of public money and the hiring of an independent auditing firm to perform a comprehensive audit of all county departments. The candidates say they would release the audit to the public.

The candidates want to pass a local law to expand and strengthen the county’s ethic statute. They want to give the county ethics board the power to require the disclosure of sources of income of more than $2,500 and mandate that ethics disclosures be published online.

Democrats want to promote strategic planning in county government by having department heads submit three-year, five-year and 10-year strategic plans for their departments.

They want to increase the public’s access to government by streaming all board meetings, committee meetings and public hearings live on the Internet.

They want to appoint a Master Plan Committee, which would develop a countywide comprehensive master plan.