Schlegel undecided on re-election bid

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In an interview Oct. 30 with the Elbert County News, District 2 County Commissioner Kurt Schlegel said he has yet to decide whether to seek re-election in 2014.

“I'm sitting on the fence right now,” Schlegel said. “I'll probably make the decision sometime after the first of the year.”

During his nearly three years in office, Schlegel has not shied away from controversy. The blunt-spoken, retired Marine has been the target of lawsuits and a short-lived recall effort in 2012.

Interviewed recently in his office, Schlegel said he continues to spend more time than he would like “reacting” to accusations and criticism from constituents.

“Going into this, I knew what I was taking on and that it was going to be a difficult job,” Schlegel said. “But I've never shied away from challenges.”

Schlegel, who worked as a firefighter for much of his career — and was one of the earliest and most vocal proponents of the Tea Party in Elbert County — lives in Elkhorn Ranch, in the northwest corner of the county.

In addition to the $49,600-a-year salary he's paid as a commissioner, he also owns and operates his own public-safety consulting firm and travels frequently around the country advising public officials and private companies.

“These last few years while I've worked for the county, I've taken a little hit in my bank account,” he said, hinting that the loss of potential income from the consulting business could be a factor in his decision whether to run for a second term.

“I've only got so many good working years ahead of me,” said Schlegel, who is 56 years old.

Acknowledging that the current BOCC faces a variety of challenges in terms of replacing outdated infrastructure and stabilizing the county's financial condition, Schlegel refused to blame previous administrations for the county's current woes.

“I didn't inherit any of the county issues,” he said. “I chose to take them on.”

Schlegel said that in order for the county to pull itself out of its current financial hole, “we've got to put all of that old history behind us and start pulling together.”

Explaining that the BOCC had been “exploring during recent strategy sessions” a number of ways to stabilize the county's finances, Schlegel also said he did not think it was the county's role to “act as a profit center.”