Fair would put business, education experience to work

By Kathy Helms-Hughes
STAR STAFF
khughes@starhq.com

   Carter County Executive candidate Dale Fair believes his 21 years in the banking profession coupled with two degrees in education and his experience as a classroom teacher and coach is a winning combination.
   Fair hopes to use his qualifications and his experience in dealing with people from all walks of life to help unify the county and build a solid financial foundation.
   As a native Carter Countian, Fair believes we have "one of the greatest places to live in the country," and he hopes to restore the public's confidence in that respect.
   "My biggest issues are, of course, the budget problems that are on the horizon, and the second one is the education process here. I want us to have a second-to-none education system." This can be achieved, he believes, by involving corporate citizens and co-oping with resources already available.
   The biggest challenge Fair foresees is the looming budget battle in Nashville. "The uncertainty of what's coming to or being taken away from our county is the biggest financial challenge we have, plus making the current process as efficient as possible and finding any way we can to reduce our expenses in order to minimize our chances of increasing our taxes. That's the bottom line," he said.
   Countywide zoning is an issue which Fair believes has both advantages and disadvantages. "As a county executive I would explore both sides of this issue. I think we should have an all-or-none system. Whatever we do should be for all Carter Countians," he said. "But I believe that without planning, any type of organization is doomed to fail.
   "Zoning is not a good word; planning is a good word," he said. "I call it planning for the future. The Army has a saying: 'Proper prior planning prevents poor performance.' That's the way I feel. What's good for one Carter Countian is good for all Carter Countians when it comes to planning."
   While much has been debated about the need for a new county jail, Fair said it is an issue he would have to investigate if given the opportunity. "If more office space is needed, then that would have to be explored. Of course the financial obligations involving that would have to be explored, too, at the same time. If it made sense on both sides, then that would be given consideration."
   Fair said he believes the most important quality a county executive should exhibit is the ability to use his or her qualifications and work with a multiplicity of people with different focuses to unite them. "If we're all looking at the common goal of making Carter County a better place, we ought to work on our individual focuses but at the same time keep our eye on the big ball, and that's the overall best scenario for the county," he said.
   "As county executive, my job would be to make all 24 commissioners aware of both sides of an issue, fully, so they can make an informed decision."
   Fair said he has read the 1981 act passed recently by the commission which calls for hiring a county finance director and he believes it has some very positive aspects. However, he said, "My interest in running for this position was my financial background.
   "I feel like I bring to the table a lot of qualifications so that this financial director might not be necessary, and in fact, not cost the taxpayers any more money to pay for that director. This is something that I would have to work with the commission on, if elected, because the act has been passed and we would have to proceed on," he said.
   "I can work with anyone they see fit to hire. That's one of my qualities is my ability to work with people. With my financial background and their financial background, the county should have a good future," he said.