At a party caucus last week, Jess A. Gwinn, of Newark in eastern Greene County, was selected to be the party's surveyor candidate for the upcoming General Election on Nov. 6.
Other candidates for the vacancy were Linton businesswoman Mary Barrient, who operates the Sportsman's Pub, and Steve Tipton.
Gwinn replaced Timothy Jones, of Linton, who passed away Aug. 6. The 53-year-old Jones was unopposed in the May Primary Election.
Gwinn, a state-licensed land surveyor, will face two-term incumbent Republican Ira "Butch" Wright, of Worthington, in the General Election.
Gwinn, a native of Indianapolis who has lived in Greene County since 1992, holds two bachelor degrees from Purdue University ---- an engineering degree attained in 1984 and a land surveying degree in 1987.
Gwinn operates his own land surveying business.
He is married to Maureen Forrest.
"There are some things that I think need to be taken care of," he said when asked what is the reason he decided to run for the office.
Gwinn hopes to be able to restore funding to enable the county surveyor's office to be open on a full-time basis.
Being a surveyor himself he commented that having an office open only part-time is "very annoying."
Until last week, the office was only open from 8 a.m. until noon, after funding cutbacks limited the amount of pay to hire a secretary. The current surveyor has employed a person to take care of the office during the afternoon hours as long as the extra hire funding holds out.
"One of the things I'd like to do is have someone there year-round, 40 hours a week when the courthouse is open just like the other offices. The assessor and the auditor, they've all got a full-time staff that work and I think we need to have the same in the surveyor's office," Gwinn told the Greene County Daily World.
Gwinn said he's qualified for the position.
"I've been surveying since 1984 and licensed since 1989. I've been working in this area quite a while. I've been in courthouses throughout the state in probably several dozen courthouses and seen how different county surveyors operate. I'd like to incorporate some of the things I've seen in some of the other offices into the Greene County office."
In addition, Gwinn says if he is elected he'd like to update the operation of the office and put some of the survey records online.
"It would be great to go online and go right to the map and go right to the corner and see what information there is rather than having to go to the surveyor's office and dig through books that are 150 years old and falling apart," he explained. "They are old and they are fragile and it would be nice to have them scanned and put in a format that they are available online. It would be nice to have something on a more permanent database. If something were to happen, a flood or a fire or who knows whatever, if those books are destroyed then those records are gone."