Our county elected officials seldom deal with theory, but always deal with real local problems and opportunities. When they vote to repair roads and bridges, they are maintaining the county's infrastructure. When they authorize the purchase of emergency equipment for the Sheriff's department, they are providing public safety. When they grant tax abatement to entice a company to locate or stay in our county, they are increasing the tax base into the future.

Often their most important decisions involve saving money by trimming unnecessary expenses. Those may be little decisions such as changing the company that provides Highway Department uniforms, or they may be big decisions with enormous long-term impact such as creating an employee health clinic.

Jim Fulwider was the county's representative on a team that created an employee health clinic. In addition to Fulwider, the team included leadership from the city and three school corporations. By researching clinics in other counties, they found that many are saving thousands of dollars each year in insurance costs, and are improving the over-all health of employees. The three governmental units, collectively the largest employer in the county, achieve the necessary economy of scale to support a clinic. By engaging insurance experts and insurance providers, they negotiated the best terms.

Fulwider is known as the county government number-cruncher. He knows the cost of insurance premiums and the cost of claims for employee medical care before the clinic. He will be the first to know and report on whether the investment is paying dividends when the clinic celebrates its first anniversary in January 2015.

Jim Fulwider is a leader who solves real local problems and seeks real local opportunities. Let's keep him working.

Deanna Durrett