By: Lorrie Ward | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: June 2014
Ron Burrows hopes to become the next Rogers County Commissioner for District 3.
Most people have heard the words “county commissioner,” having seen them on political and public announcement signs, in newspaper articles, and on voting ballots. But there are many people who don’t really understand what a county commissioner actually does. A large portion of the public knows that the office oversees the construction of roads and bridges, but Ron Burrows, who is running for the Republican ticket spot for District 3 Rogers County Commissioner, has researched the position he is seeking thoroughly. He wants to educate people on what it actually takes to be a successful commissioner so that they can make an intelligent and informed decision in the voting booth.
The County Training Program website of Agricultural Economics Extension: Oklahoma Cooperative County Training Program describes the job thusly: “The members of the Board of County Commissioners are the principal administrators and business managers of the county.” It goes on to point out that most people associate the job with county road construction and bridges, but in reality, there is much more responsibility with the position. “As members of the Board of County Commissioners, they also have the power to make orders and authorizations, to inspect and approve county programs and facilities, to supervise the financial affairs of the county, to develop personnel policies, to investigate the performance of other county officers, to make agreements affecting the welfare of the citizens of the county, and much, much more,” the site continues. As if this isn’t enough, there is even more: “As the chief fiscal entity of the county (except in Budget Board Counties), the Board of County Commissioners is in charge of receiving and expending funds and, therefore, must make major financial decisions and transactions, prepare budgets, award contracts, and act on claims.”
Ron Burrows was undaunted by this list of responsibilities, as he feels his work experience in road construction, employee and budget management, and public service have prepared him for the position. He began his career in road construction and after working there for 11 years, he entered the retail sector, and worked for 18 years in management for Kmart and Lowes. It was during this time that he learned to work with large budgets. These stores could generate income ranging from $15 million annually in the smallest to $60 million in the largest store. In addition, he managed between 75 and 200 employees at various stores, depending on each individual store’s sales volume. For the past five years, Burrows has served as the general manager of Claremore Expo Center, which has seen much growth and improvements under his leadership.
“I feel I can facilitate and be part of good communication and conversation with a multitude of groups to accomplish a goal,” Burrows states. But he feels that the job of County Commissioner is complicated enough that potential commissioners should have to pass a certification test, and standing commissioners should have to test to demonstrate they are worthy of retention. In the Oklahoma House of Representative’s current session, Legislator Marty Quinn proposed a bill that would have set such requirements, but the bill was killed by lobbyists before it could be presented. Burrows was disappointed that it did not pass because he says, “The job of commissioner has gotten complicated enough that it requires some kind of qualification. When entities are handling millions of dollars, they need proper training and testing to demonstrate they can do it.” Even with Burrows’ years of experience in managing large groups of employees, devising and executing complicated budgets, and overseeing large projects, he would not seek to exclude himself from such requirements. “This is about demonstrating to the citizens of Rogers County that I am committed if elected to take all training available as well as the certification exam to ensure I’m prepared to fulfill the role of County Commissioner for District 3,” he says.
For more information, contact