“Some are from within the county, some are from without,” Post 2 board member David Cox told attendees at the Floyd County Farm Bureau political forum Thursday.
Cox, a Republican, said his preference is to hire someone local, but he’ll back the person who can provide the strongest leadership for the school system.
Everett Ballard, his Democratic challenger, said there’s no reason the board should look outside the system to fill the top slot.
“We have people in our system who are qualified to do it,” Ballard said.
More than 50 people turned out for the Farm Bureau’s forum — the first in the general election season to invite all the candidates in locally contested races.
Republican Cary Cooper, a 20-year veteran of the Floyd County Police Department, is challenging two-term Democratic incumbent Tim Burkhalter for the Floyd sheriff’s office.
Cooper said he wants to bring a different way of thinking to the position, including a targeted war against methamphetamine and a line-item budget review.
Burkhalter, who has 27 years in the agency, touted his record of reducing the turnover rate, staying under budget, attaining national certification and establishing community programs.
In the two Floyd County Commission races, only the Republican incumbents, Garry Fricks and Irwin Bagwell, attended the forum.
Both pointed to their records of reducing spending rather than increasing the millage rate when the Great Recession hit. Both said they will start a zero-based budget line item review next month to further reduce spending for 2013.
Democrats Gary D. Harrell, who is challenging Fricks, and Richard Garrett, who is running against Bagwell, did not respond to their invitations, FCFB President Cecil Burk said.
Republican Mark McAllister, running for clerk of court, also was a no-show. Contacted later, McAllister said he meant to attend but got tied up campaigning elsewhere.
Clerk of court incumbent, Democrat Barbara Penson spoke of technological upgrades during her tenure and emphasized the job is nonpartisan.
“I’d like to ask Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Tea Partiers and everybody else to vote for me,” she said. “I am highly qualified, … and I think I’ve proven that over the last four years.”