Candidate Interview, August 6, 2002 Primary
Presiding Commissioner - Glenn Hite (Republican)
For Warrensburg Free Press July 18 issue
Glenn Hite, of rural Holden, is a candidate for the Republican nomination for Presiding Commissioner. He is a Johnson County native who served 7 years in the U.S. Army and is a decorated disabled veteran. Hite worked 7 years for Agribusiness giant ConAgra as chief plant engineer for several plants, managing a staff of over 100 people with a multi-million dollar budget. He has also owned a sporting goods store in Holden. Hite has held a police commission in Holden since 1983 and served as a Johnson County Deputy Sheriff from 1993 until last September, when he initiated a detective unit for Holden. In addition to law enforcement positions, Hite participates in family farming activities northwest of Holden where he raises Limousin cattle.
Hite states that his political philosophy is basically conservative applied in a realistic way. He believes that the job of the County Commission is to accomplish the tasks that the people want done. He believes that roads are the biggest concern within the specific responsibility of the Commission. While he approves of the approach to the paving plan established by the current Commission, he believes that it could be implemented more aggressively. Traffic studies should be updated to determine which roads get the most use as new growth in the county changes usage patterns, especially in the northwestern area. He points out that excessive dust on many of these roads causes health concerns for residents along the roads, and would like to see more chip and seal work followed by upgraded paving when warranted. He believes that existing roads should be taken care of before the county takes responsibility for roads in subdivisions, and these roads should meet county standards before being accepted.
Hite believes that growth is another major concern for the county. While not opposed to zoning per se, he believes that the most critical concerns can be addressed by the county using ordinances. Sewage issues, such as inspection of septic tanks and lagoons, would be more easily enforceable if local rules applied since local rather than state authorities could file charges. Hite thinks that the county should have enough money to manage a sewer ordinance once the courthouse expansion is done. He also favors a nuisance ordinance to cover such things as dumping, odors and abandoned car junkyards. He also thinks that some sort of building code and inspection should be adopted. He does not believe the state should mandate zoning or codes, but that they should be voted on by all county residents.
Hite would like to see the county encourage industrial growth by such actions as tax breaks. He notes that most of the newer residents of the fast-growing northwest area of the county shop in Jackson County; he would like to see jobs developed in Johnson County.
Hite thinks that county income will likely be adequate for its needs. He believes that a new jail is needed since the current one is past its useful life and expensive to maintain. He states that “each community that receives law enforcement tax money should do its part to help finance a new jail.” He does not believe that the private jail near Holden is the answer needed. He supports reallocation of law enforcement tax based on changes in the relative population of cities and rural areas.
Hite believes that county employee salaries are fair, since the system has gotten better due to the use of comparative wage surveys. He says that law enforcement salaries are now competitive with other nearby agencies. He believes there is a significant and under-reported drug problem in the county but that any additional drug suppression funds should be provided by the state.
Hite states that it is time for a presiding commissioner from the western part of the county to be elected, since none have come from that area in recent memory. He states that “with growth, the western part of the county needs more representation.” He states that he is “a people oriented person who will listen to peoples' needs and talk about solutions.” He would be the “voice of the people, representing the citizens as a whole."