Please provide a biographical narrative.
Clearfield County Commissioner Candidate Tim J. Winters currently serves as councilman of the Third Ward in the Borough of Clearfield. He previously served as a member of the Clearfield Borough Recreation Board.
A life-long resident of Clearfield, Winters is a graduate of the Clearfield Area High School and studied public service at The Pennsylvania State University.
He is self-employed as owner of Winters Enterprises, a service-oriented company providing commercial signage, vehicle lettering and professional installation solutions throughout central and western Pennsylvania as its primary mission.
Additional services include public address system design, sound equipment rental and installation and seasonal commercial property maintenance.
Winters was previously employed by W&L Sales Co. of Harrisburg in corporate sales.
He also serves as a campaign staff member for U.S. Congressman Glenn “GT” Thompson.
What motivated your interest in running for Clearfield County Commissioner?
Having spent most of my life involved in some form of public service (serving on multiple boards and committees as well as being an elected member of the Clearfield Borough Council), representing the residents of the county will be both a challenge and a rewarding experience.
Because of my life-long interest in the political process and my business, I have been privileged to interact with thousands of people throughout the county and central Pennsylvania. I believe that I can represent Clearfield County residents well.
What qualifications do you possess that would benefit the Clearfield County Commissioners’ Office?
My experience in both the public and private sectors gives me a unique perspective that will translate well to county government. A large number of my customers are in the energy industry. Working with them has given me insight into what is a very important part of our county’s economy and job base.
Energy and natural resources have been a large part of our county for generations, and properly managed will be for many more. On the public sector front, I have participated in all facets of municipal government including day-to-day operations and the budgetary process.
Of particular interest to me have been contract negotiations. I have played a significant role in these negotiations through my service on Clearfield Borough’s Personnel Committee. As a result, our collective bargaining agreements with both the Teamsters and American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees have been amicably settled in-house without arbitration or outside legal expense.
Government transparency has been a buzzword in politics for the past few years. Do you feel that the county is transparent enough? If not, what needs to change?
Transparency in government is often thought of as merely being open. While this is correct, transparency also involves maintaining communication with constituents and being accountable to them.
Over the years, the Clearfield County Commissioners have removed themselves from interacting with the residents of the county. I will change this.
Some simple alterations including: evening office hours, a dedicated presence in the DuBois area (in conjunction with DuBois City or Sandy Township meetings), and outreach hours throughout the county will make the commissioners’ office much more accessible and responsive to county residents.
I have traveled the county and central Pennsylvania extensively in my campaign. I have also traveled with our state representatives who serve Clearfield County and with U.S. Congressman Glenn “GT” Thompson.
Clearfield County residents want their concerns to be heard and addressed. I will do this from day one.
If elected, how would you reach out and form relationships with citizens of Clearfield County? How would you reach out to those citizens in the outlying areas of the county?
One of the best ways to build and maintain relationships throughout the county is attending the meetings of local municipalities. I have attended countless township supervisor and borough council meetings during the past year, and as commissioner will continue to do so.
Clearfield County is quite large and very diverse. Whether it be Karthaus, Irvona, Burnside or DuBois City, each area has its issues. The best way to understand and respond to these issues is to actually be there.
If elected, what measures would you take to ensure the efficient operation of Clearfield County?
With more than 200 employees, as well as multiple offices and agencies, there are some inherent inefficiencies in Clearfield County. I will work to resolve these.
A couple of specific examples include examining: combining the purchasing process across offices and agencies and analyzing the use of the county vehicle fleet.
What is your opinion on regionalization of government positions, police forces, etc. within Clearfield County?
While regionalization has its merits, I believe that consolidation makes more sense, where applicable.
The redundancy of multiple municipalities offering the same services in overlapping areas – and with limited resources – needs to be addressed. Clearfield Borough and Lawrence Township are currently exploring the feasibility of consolidation, and the issue has been ongoing in the DuBois City, Sandy Township and Treasure Lake area.
A good example of consolidation being done correctly in our area is that of St. Marys and Bennzinger Township in Elk County. After a long and well thought-out process, the municipalities combined to create a larger City of St. Marys. The change has served them well.
People are often reluctant to accept change, but with the proper forethought, the outcome can be beneficial to all.
If elected, what measures would you take to generate economic development opportunities for Clearfield County?
Quite simply, I will use all means available to foster economic growth in the county. The Clearfield County Economic Development Corp. has proven itself to be able to attract new business and facilitate real estate and logistics for existing business. I will support them in all their efforts.
I have been involved from the start with the rail project proposed by R.J. Corman Inc. and now being pursued by the North Central Planning Commission. This project has the potential to open up markets currently unavailable to area businesses and provide a better transportation climate for the entire region.
We must think outside the box and utilize our location and abundant resources to our advantage. The current business climate is highly competitive, and we must be aggressive in marketing our county.
If elected, what would be your top priority as Clearfield County Commissioner?
As commissioner, my top priority will be the efficient and responsible operation of the government of Clearfield County. Currently, there is an adversarial relationship between our commissioners and the row offices and agencies within the county. This must be changed.
If our area is to move forward and prosper, working together toward common goals and positive outcomes must be the rule rather than the exception.
What are the greatest challenges facing Clearfield County? If elected, what measures would you propose to resolve them?
Our county faces many challenges, be it reduced funding from outside sources or the loss of one of our major economic drivers in the coal-fired Shawville Generating Station.
With the proper guidance and mindset, these challenges can be opportunities. We have abundant resources, a great geographic location and people willing to work. As commissioner, I will dedicate myself to the future of Clearfield County.