John Hall has been working for Polk County government for 35 years. He was the director of three different county departments and now wants to be a county commissioner. The Republican is facing Democrat Ricky Shirah, who is making his fifth run at elected office in Polk County.
Hall started his career with Polk County digging ditches and worked his way to the top, serving in top managment positions for the past 24 years.
When it comes to his view of county government he has a very positive attitude, stating that the current county manager, Jim Freeman is doing and excellent job.
He does think he can help the county institute improvments when it comes to things like the time it takes to turn around a building permit or development order.
He is also a proponent of keeping the impact fee moratorium in place.
“Do I think it’s helped? Yes. Do I think we’ll get back to impact fees? Yes. But we need to be reasonable,” he said.
Hall’s intimate knowlege of the inner workings of county government would have to be an asset if he became a county commissioner.
Shirah ran for a seat on the commission in 2004 and 2008. He also ran two times for a seat on the Lakeland City Council.
He is a native of North Lakeland and says he truly enjoys campaigning.
“You have to work hard, you have to knock on doors, you’ve got to get out and make yourself available to the people,” he said.
He describes himself as a conservative Democrat. He worked for Publix for many years and became an independent business person when he purchased a towing service.
This is an interesting race. Both men are long-time Polk County residents and both are passionate about government affairs.
If elected, Shirah would be the lone Democrat on the board. If elected, Hall would join a board full of generally like-minded individuals.
If you would like to see the commission headed in pretty much the same direction it has for the past few years, then John Hall is probably your candidate.
If you would like there to be at least one person on the board who would be a contrarian and sometimes ask the board questions they might not otherwise here, then perhaps Shirah is you candidate.
We think, however that the county commission could use John Hall’s unique experience as a department head in three different departments. Even though Hall’s job will be to help develop policy and not manage the day-to-day affairs of government, it would be helpful to know how policy will affect those who actually do the work.
That’s why we recommend John Hall for a seat on the Polk County Commission.