My proof? Scott Ott. He's sent out a mass email entitled, "All I Really Needed to Know About Being County Executive I Learned as a Bus Driver, Camp Director and People Greeter." In it, he explains that we all start out low and learn valuable lessons along the way.
The problem, for Ott, is that he seems to have stayed there.
His camp director job, for example, is a position he held just four years ago, in a failed campaign against then Executive Don Cunningham. I understand that his salary there depended on how many "prayer buddies" he could recruit. He was kinda' like an Amway for Christ.
One thing Ott fails to talk about is the still unopened Embassy Theatre in Lewistown. Just two years ago, he was taking credit for saving it. The truth is he left the place in shambles, and in a bad position financially.
Paul Fagley, President of Friends of the Embassy Theatre, tells me,
When I came on the board in the fall of 1992, Scott was already gone from the group, and things were falling apart. The original purchase deal with the local banks was that, although they had enough to purchase the theatre, they were given a 2-year demand mortgage of $35,000 to tie the group over (to pay the bills, so to speak) while it incorporated and raised funds to get the project moving. At the end of two years, the mortgage was to be paid off. However, there was no followup to the original appeal, and no significant funds had been raised. The new roof that was supposed to have been put on the building was only half completed, with only tarpaper on the other half, which caused more interior damage. When I took over as President in August of 1993, the ship was literally sinking. After rebuilding the board, and finishing the roof, it took a few years for the board to stabilize the finances of the project just to keep it afloat, then working with various agencies to do the necessary work to bring it back. We are now poised to begin the major work. The mortgage is still there, 20 years later, although we have paid it down to $25,000.So do you want an accomplished Executive who understands how government works? Or would you prefer a person who couldn't pout a roof on a theatre and then blew town, leaving it with an unpaid mortgage?