Thursday, December 02, 1999

Boone Co. commissioner to commute out of state for job

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        BURLINGTON — After weeks of rumors about a job change, Boone County Commissioner Rob Arnold will soon announce that he will commute out of state a few days a week for his job.

        He started working in Fredericksburg, Va., as a sales manager for Prime-Source on Nov. 29. He hasn't changed companies; his responsibilities changed.

        “I can still fulfill my obligations as a commissioner and be responsible to my constituents by e-mail, faxes and phone calls,” Mr. Arnold said Wednesday from his new office, adding that his family will still live in Union and keep their business in Fort Wright, but that he will have an apartment in Virginia.

        Boone County Judge-Executive Gary Moore said two fiscal court meetings in December have been changed to Mondays because of conflicting schedules, including Mr. Arnold's. They have not decided whether other meeting times will change.

        “Rob is an elected official just like I am,” Mr. Moore said. “I don't see it's my position to question personal decisions he's making as far as his career goes as long as it doesn't affect the fiscal court and county government.”

        Kristi Nelson, chairwoman of the Boone County Democratic Party, said when an official spends a substantial amount of time outside the county, it's a cause for concern. It also calls into question whether he is in strict compliance with residency requirements, she said. During the 1998 election, there were rumors that Democratic judge-executive candidate Jim Collins, then county administrator, did not live in the county. It was never proven.

        “As a party, they (Republicans) have chosen to exploit that in the past,” Ms. Nelson said. “They should at least be mindful of holding to the standards they hold so high. The Republican Party is ever-conscious of the fact that if someone were to vacate their position, Gov. (Paul) Patton, who is a Democrat, would have the opportunity to appoint a replacement.”

        That would jeopardize the all-Republican fiscal court.

        Mr. Arnold said he understands the uneasiness.

        “If in any way I feel that I am not serving my constituents in a manner they elected me to serve them, I would be the first to say so,” he said.


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