VOTERS GUIDE: Candidates for Boone County Commission

Friday, August 3, 2012 | 3:05 p.m. CDT; updated 8:42 p.m. CDT, Friday, August 3, 2012

WHAT'S THE JOB? The Boone County Commission is an elected three-member governing body with a Southern District, a Northern District and a presiding commissioner. The commission establishes county policies, approves an annual county budget and supervises the operations of all county departments and divisions, including Public Works, Planning and Zoning, Building Codes, Human Resources, Purchasing, Information Technology, and Facilities and Grounds Maintenance. Commissioners also act as liaisons to dozens of county boards, commissions and other government entities. Commissioners serve four-year terms. The presiding commissioner is paid $85,654 per year, while district commissioners are paid $83,657 per year.

Northern District Commissioner candidates

Brian Dollar (D), Boone County

Personal: Age 53. He is divorced and has one daughter.

Education: Associate of science in land surveying, University of Arkansas, 1983; bachelor of arts in English, Ottawa University, 2012.

Occupation: Land surveyor. Former elected county surveyor from 1988 to 1991.

Background: Member of the Boone County Planning and Zoning Commission. Served on Boone County Democratic Central Committee from 2004 to 2008. Licensed commercial pilot and flight instructor.

Campaign website: None


  • Tax incentives: Although Dollar thinks they often benefit the wealthy, he wants more information about specific proposals before taking a definitive position.
  • Growth planning: Dollar said the policy of the urban fringe being absorbed by cities is a good one. He said that though regulations are intended to target big developers, they often end up catching farmers. He wants to change planning and zoning regulations to cut down on those sorts of unintended consequences.
  • Home rule: While he said he thinks home rule is a great idea, he doesn’t see it being successful because of its unpopularity.

Darin Fugit (D), Columbia

Personal: Age 47. He has twin sons. His wife, Jan Fugit, died in February 2011. She was Boone County treasurer.

Education: Bachelor of science in agriculture mechanization, MU, 1988.

Occupation: Worked at Women and Children’s Hospital before leaving to campaign full time. He was deputy clerk for Boone County Clerk Wendy Noren for 15 years. 

Background: Former vice-chairman of the Boone County Planning and Zoning Commission; served as treasurer on the board of directors for the Columbia Municipal Employees Credit Union; served as a committeeman from Columbia Township for Boone County Democratic Central Committee; member of the Boone County Muleskinners; attends Parkade Baptist Church.

Campaign website:


  • Tax incentives: Fugit said he’s not totally opposed to tax incentives but wants more evidence about the impact they have on school revenue. He said he wants to be the "ambassador of jobs" for Boone County and put together a high-tech packet to attract businesses.
  • Growth planning: Fugit said the current process works but that planning and zoning regulations could be tweaked if necessary. 
  • Home rule: Fugit supports home rule and wants to take another look at a charter government for Boone County. He would leave the current structure of county government in place, however.
  • Fairgrounds: He has said the fairgrounds should turn a profit and suggests looking into installing a professional stage as a source of revenue. 

O.J. Stone (D), Columbia

Personal: Age 60. He is married to Pat Stone. They have three children.

Education: Studied music education at MU before and after his time in the military; bachelor of arts in administration of criminal justice, Columbia College, 1990.

Occupation: Worked as a specialist with the Missouri Office of Homeland Security before resigning to campaign. Formerly worked at the Boone County Sheriff’s Department for 27 years, ending as chief deputy.

Background: Past president and board member of the Missouri Deputy Sheriff’s Association; former baseball coach and board member with the Columbia Diamond Council; member of the American Bladesmith Association.

Campaign website:


  • Tax incentives: Stone said that while he thinks these could be part of a larger effort to encourage economic development, they can also be overused.
  • Growth planning: Stone wants to focus on long-term planning and said the commission should focus on future road and bridge needs and how to save money for those.
  • Home rule: Stone said he doesn’t see home rule as a priority and is wary of changing the structure of county government.
  • Public safety: Stone has emphasized public safety in Boone County, which he said extends beyond law enforcement and fire safety to areas such as schools, roads, bridges and clean water.

Janet Thompson (D), Boone County

Personal: Age 54. Single. Lives on a farm in northern Boone County.

Education: Law degree, MU School of Law, 1984; master of laws degree in alternative dispute resolution, MU, 2002.

Occupation: Attorney, Office of the State Public Defender.

Background: President of the Missouri Horse Shows Association; attends Calvary Episcopal Church in Columbia; served on the Diocesan Council and the Standing Committee for the Episcopal Diocese of Missouri.


  • Tax incentives: Thompson said she has to be convinced that any tax-incentive program will bring more to Boone County than has to be given up and that all the affected taxing entities agree.
  • Growth planning: She said she wants to make sure the various lifestyles in Boone County – in small towns and on farms – are protected as the county grows. She said the best way to create a plan would be to have a retreat including county officials and representatives from all of the cities.
  • Home rule: Thompson said that unless there is an upwelling of voter support, she would not pursue home rule.
  • Collaboration: Thompson has emphasized collaboration with stakeholders on issues such as growth planning and tax incentives. She said having everyone at the table is key to moving forward.

Campaign website:

Don Bormann (R), Centralia

Personal: Age 61. He is married to Linda Bormann. They have two children and two grandchildren.

Education: Bachelor of science degrees in agriculture and engineering, MU, 1978.

Occupation: Land surveyor, owner of Bormann Surveying and Centralia alderman.

Background: Serves on the Boone County Board of Equalization and the Centralia planning and zoning commission; former member of the Centralia Library Board and the Centralia Chamber of Commerce board; member of Centralia Kiwanis; and former member of Friends of the Park.

Campaign website:


  • Tax incentives: While he doesn’t like using incentives, Bormann said that’s the only way to compete with other locations for companies. He voted to approve an enhanced enterprise zone in Centralia and said he probably would vote for one in Columbia and Boone County.
  • Growth planning: Bormann said that it’s hard to predict where growth is going to happen and that though the current system is messy, it also gives people the most freedom to do what they want with their land.
  • Home rule: Although he voted against the two previous charters, Bormann said home rule generally is a good idea and he'd be willing to support it depending on the charter.

Lance Robbins (R), Hallsville

Personal: Age 43. He is married to Lori Robbins. They have four children.

Education: Bachelor of science degree in criminal justice, Northeastern University, 1992; master of science degree in criminology and social research, Northeastern University Graduate School, 1993.

Occupation: Sergeant at the Boone County Sheriff’s Department.

Background: Active in the Boy Scouts of America, currently scoutmaster for Troop 13 in Hallsville; member of the National Rifle Association; attends Hallsville United Methodist Church and is a member of the men’s group; president and a founding member of the Central Missouri Tactical Officer’s Association.

Campaign website:


  • Tax incentives: Robbins supports the use of enhanced enterprise zones to attract businesses. He said jobs are the most important issue for many people in Boone County. While he generally does not support the use of tax-increment financing, or TIF, he said a TIF district in the Battle High School area could be used to finance road construction there because it is an "emergency situation."
  • Growth planning: Robbins said protecting residential areas and guiding growth in places where it is wanted makes sense. Communication with stakeholders in the area is key.
  • Home rule: Although Robbins said he would support a charter that leaves the current structure of county government in place, he does not plan to push for it immediately if elected.

Southern District Commissioner candidates

James Pounds (R), Boone County

Personal: Age 46. He is married to Martina Pounds. They have two children.

Education: Associate’s degree in aircraft machinery, Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne, Wyo., 1992.

Occupation: Owns and operates James Pounds Construction, a residential housing construction company.

Background: Pounds has been on the Boone County Building Codes Commission for three years and served in the Navy for three years.

Campaign website: None


  • Tax incentives: He opposes the use of tax incentives, saying they distort the free market. Instead, he said the county commission should try to attract businesses without offering tax incentives.
  • Growth planning: Although Pounds said he thinks the county needs to plan better for growth, it will not continue to grow because of the costly regulations builders have to deal with.
  • Home rule: Pounds said he supports putting the question of home rule to voters.
  • Budget: Pounds said his top priority is to review the county budget to find ways to save taxpayer money so that property taxes don't have to be raised as much as they have been in the past.

Karen Miller (D), Columbia

Personal: Age 59. Lives with her partner, David Brown.

Education: Bachelor of science in business administration, Stephens College, 2006.

Occupation: Southern District Commissioner since 1993.

Background: President of the National Association of Counties, 2003–04; serves on the board of directors of the Missouri Association of Counties and the County Commissioners Association; member of the Women’s Network Budget and Finance Committee, the Government Affairs Committee of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce, the Muleskinners and the Southern Boone County Chamber of Commerce; named distinguished Debin Benish Outstanding Business Woman from the Columbia Chamber of Commerce in 2010 and received the Athena Award in 2011.

Campaign website:


  • Tax incentives: Miller said she prefers Chapter 100 bonds to other tax-incentive programs because the affected taxing entities have more input. Since an enhanced enterprise zone has not come before the commission yet, she said she has not decided whether she would support one.
  • Growth planning: Miller pointed to the joint planning work done by the city and the county with the East Area Plan and Northeast Columbia Area Plan. She said that was a good model to plan for growth that brought everyone in.
  • Home rule: Until more people in the county come forward to support home rule, Miller said she does not want to put it on the ballot.
  • Stormwater: Miller said she is focused on working with the EPA and Missouri Department of Natural Resources to manage stormwater. She said if it's done correctly, "we can be a leader in the country and do things in a cost effective way."

Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.

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