Editor’s note: Ray County Presiding Commissioner Bob King is retiring from that post at the end of this term, and five candidates – three Democrats and two Republicans – are vying for their party’s nod to compete in the general election in November. This is the final in a series of stories introducing those candidates.
By Sara Seidel-Richmond News Staff
Gary Wilhite of Excelsior Springs is on the August ballot, seeking the Republican nomination for presiding commissioner.
Wilhite, who ran for western commissioner two years ago, says people asked him to run then and now. Although Western Commissioner Mike Twyman lives outside Orrick, people who live further west feel as though the commission doesn’t pay enough attention to them, Wilhite says.
“They’re ready for a change,” he said. “They would like to have somebody on the west side.”
If elected, Wilhite says his main priority would be adding deputies to the Ray County Sheriff Department’s staff.
“I would like to see in four years three more new deputy sheriffs so our deputy sheriffs will have less area to cover and better response time to get to an emergency or call,” Wilhite said, adding that by covering smaller areas, deputies could patrol specific areas more often.
He says funds to pay for additional deputies could be made available when the county makes its final payment on a note and deed of trust for the jail. He also thinks the commission could shift funds from other departments to the sheriff’s department if necessary.
“Our sheriff’s department needs more officers,” Wilhite said. “Through budgeting, we can make this happen.”
Wilhite also says the commissioners need to review the county budget monthly and insist that department heads correct any overspending.
The complete story is in the Thursday, July 10, 2014 Richmond News.