I have been asked many times who I feel is the best candidate running for the office of Shelby County judge-executive. Having worked with Judge Dan Ison as Magistrate of District 2 and having worked with Mr. Rob Rothenburger regarding problems the with Shelby County Animal Shelter, I feel I have an idea as to how both men work as judge-executive of Shelby County.
During Mr. Rothenburger’s last three to four years of serving as county judge, our animal shelter was a mess. Overcrowding, sick animals, poor environment for the rescue animals as well as for the people who worked there and the lack of support for those who worked there were just a few of the problems he was faced with.
Instead of listening to those in our community who offered help, Mr. Rothenburger decided to attack rather than correct. Instead of listening to the public, he decided no one was allowed to speak in front of fiscal court. The ability to be able to address all the magistrates was taken away from me and our citizens during the final two-plus years that Mr. Rothenburger served as county judge.
Because of the many problems with the Shelby County Animal Shelter, one of our citizens, Vickie Moore, asked Mr.Rothenburger for videos that were taken by the shelter’s security system. This citizen had that right guaranteed because of the Open Records Act. Nonetheless, the videos were not provided, and Ms.Moore and her lawyer had to ask the court to order the shelter to turn over the videos.
The court gave Mr. Rothenburger 90 days to turn the video over to Vickie Moore and her lawyer. During this time, any attempts by Vickie Moore to view the video were denied. However, on day 90, someone in county government finally gave permission for the videos to be downloaded. When Ms. Moore and her lawyer sat down to download the videos showing how the shelter was being run, they found that all videos in the shelter’s security system had been erased. It was later revealed that the videos were erased by someone just nine hours earlier, at about 1:45 am. Vickie Moore died before she could follow through with her lawsuit.
When Judge Ison took office, he made the shelter a priority. He wanted to clean up the mess the shelter was in. It took some time, but now the shelter is well run and much different than it was seven years ago. Judge Ison feels that a problem solved is much better than a problem ignored. Judge Ison tries to address problems as soon as possible. You may not get the answer you want, but you will not be ignored.
The first thing Judge Ison did when he addressed fiscal court for the first time was to rescind Mr. Rothenburger’s order banning citizen speakers and allow freedom of speech to come back to fiscal court. Judge Ison said that he would once again give citizens the right to address the whole court.
Judge Ison may not agree with your concerns, but he will never deny your First Admendment right to speak freely to the entire courtroom. This was not the case with Mr. Rothenburger and his interpretation of our First Admendment. If he stopped our freedom of speech once, he can do it again.
In conclusion, if you want an animal shelter that works for the people and strives to have the best environment for the animals and our citizens, you will vote for Judge Dan Ison. Shelby County will operate much better if Judge Ison continues to serve Shelby County as judge-executive and Mr. Rothenburger continues employment as the Shelbyville Fire Department chief.