Here’s two trivia questions for you.

Can you name the three county commissioners of Greene County?

Do you know what they do?

If you don’t know the answers, you aren’t alone. Very few people can answer the way they should.

On Monday, September 23rd, the Greene County CEO class set out to meet the three commissioners with little to no knowledge on how county-level government worked. They left with a wealth of information, and a newfound understanding and appreciation.

The three commissioners of Greene County are Rick Graves, Nathan Abrams, and Ed Micheal. They each come from a third of the county, as evenly divided as possible. If you’re from the Linton-Stockton area or another western township, Rick Graves is your commissioner. If you’re in Bloomfield, Nathan Abrams is there for you. This system of three equal districts per county is utilized to the best of its ability in every Indiana county. It was designed to fit the block-like nature of our midwestern plotting habits.

So, what do commissioners do? It’s much more than just taking care of roadwork. With the help (and monetary permission) of their council, they approve and control every bill and payroll for the inner workings of the county government. There are 42 boards in Greene County that take care of various things which the commissioners serve on and support. There are various positions around the county that they oversee.

Washington DC is a long way away, and it’s very clear to any American citizen that the divide between us and them is difficult to parse. The state government is better, but you are not going to run into your governor at McDonald’s. Do you know who you CAN meet when you’re out on the town? You can find your county commissioners, who go to the same places you do every day. They may not possess the power or wealth that higher establishments do, but there is a lot of power in talking to your local government regardless. The local government is just as present, and it wants to know your thoughts. The commissioners want your voice to be heard, they don’t get paid enough to be up there for any other reason than your benefit.

Did you know that on these 42 boards and in these minor elected positions the commissioners oversee, the spots can’t even be given away? Nobody cares about local government, and it shows. Can you imagine a county where everyone did care? Can you imagine a county where everyone contacted their local officials? Can you imagine a county where people fought for those positions, instead of people fighting to get out because nobody else will fill their shoes next?

As my fellow CEO classmate and good friend Jennifer said during this meeting, “All roads lead to somewhere.” This is even true of the dusty, vacant, corn-full roads of Greene County. Someone out there takes care of those roads, and you’d be surprised what you can do by talking to them.

-AJ Porter
Greene County CEO Student

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