Incumbent Miami County commissioner John “Bud” O’Brien faces a challenge from Greg Simmons, former director of the West Central Juvenile Detention Center, in the May 6 Republican primary.

The winner will face Democrat Dave Fisher, county Democratic Party chair, in November.

O’Brien, who is county Republican chairman, is from Monroe Township while Simmons lives in Troy.

John "Bud" O'Brien
Greg Simmons

A graduate of Milton Union High School with a bachelor’s degree in business administration, O’Brien was county recorder from 1996 to 2006. He has been a commissioner since 2007 and seeking his third term.

Age 51, he and his wife, Kim, a teacher in the Tipp City Schools, have three adult children, John, Melanie and Joey.

Simmons is a graduate of Piqua High School, has an associate’s degree from Edison Community College, a bachelor of arts in education and a master’s degree in Christian education. He is a retired pastor and detention center director and previously worked as a police officer and as an administrator in probation and children’s services.

Simmons lives in Troy with his wife, Patty, and stepson. He has four adult children, seven grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

O’Brien said he is the best choice for the job because of a proven record of leadership. “I work every day to make Miami County a great place to live, play and work.  No one will work harder and ask more questions for the citizens of this county then I have or will in the future,” he said.

He said he’s shown that leadership when as county recorder he introduced the first computer indexing and imaging system in Miami County’s government.

“As commissioner I showed leadership by applying steady leadership when the economy dipped into recession in 2008/2009.  With the cooperation of the other elected officials we developed a plan to make budget cuts that resulted in balanced budgets and additions to our cash reserves,” O’Brien said.

“More recently as commissioner I’ve shown my leadership by leading the planning of the county’s investment in upgraded technology to improve our delivery of services to our citizens.  There’s more to do in Miami County government and now is not the time to change direction,” he said.

Simmons said that although Miami County is one of the best counties in Ohio, there are specific areas that need improved.

“I am concerned about the wasteful spending of tax dollars and the non-competitive bidding process that has been used as a detrimental factor affecting the county’s fiscal health and how much faith the residents have in their elected leaders,” Simmons said.

He said he could “best represent the residents of Miami County by demonstrating leadership that displays accountability, integrity and transparency.”

Simmons said his years of experience as a county employee and administrator prove his competency and, he believes, makes him the most qualified candidate. He sought appointment to the commission following the death of Commissioner John Dugan a decade ago. Jack Evans, a current commissioner, was appointed.

Although  retired, he continues to support the lead pastor and church body and serves as chaplain for the Miami County Fraternal Order of Police. “All that I do reflect that I am genuine when I say I am the right choice for this position of service in leading our community,” Simmons said.

Among other questions the candidates were asked to answer were:

What are the top issues this office faces? Please list at least three.
How would you address these issues?


-  “Job creation and retention: Over the last couple years we’ve brought our economic development efforts into the 21st Century.  We made our Economic Development Director the department head of our newly formed Department of Development. This has allowed a unified department working together on all development issues.   We must work with our economic development partners in the region to promote Miami County and the Miami Valley to bring good paying jobs to our area.  We can do this by working with all parts of the public and private sector in Miami County and our neighboring counties. I believe this can be done while keeping our county’s rural and agricultural heritage. “

- “Fiscal management:  Through hard work and determination we have balanced the county’s budgets and added to our cash reserves.  It is paramount that we continue this practice to ensure our good standing with the banking and financial markets.  With the opening of two pods at the incarceration facility the county general fund budget is tighter than ever.  Add to this equation the explosion of females who are being incarcerated and our jailing needs are changing rapidly.  Therefore we must study our overall jail needs carefully.  We need to determine the best course of action using a ‘best practices’ approach that makes our county safe without jeopardizing balanced operating budget.  This can be done through consistent conservative leadership.”

- “Making County Government more efficient and user friendly through the use of upgraded technology: My background in the computer industry has allowed me to focus on improving Miami County’s technology usage.  Our technology at the county was woefully behind the times when I took office.  This caused internal inefficiency and delays in service to our citizens.  It desperately needed improved and was unacceptable.  Through an earmark of the 2% sales tax revenues we are investing in technologies, which have allowed Miami County government to vastly improve its technological infrastructure.  This has allowed us to improve our delivery of services to our citizens and improve productivity among our departments.”

How address: “Miami County is fortunate to have county elected officials who work as a team.  We must continue this type of inclusive management style.  Every issue shall be evaluated using a ‘best practices’ approach.  Once the issue is studied thoroughly a decision can be made on the best course of action for the county and the taxpayers.  This is how I have acted as commissioner and will act in the next term.  Doing what is best financially for the long term will always be paramount when deciding on the issues,” O’Brien said.


- “Administrative Budget Accountability: Incorporate successful strategies taken from past administrative positions which would target a positive direction for county funds to return to true fiscal conservative principles to Miami County’s budget.  Enact procurement policies that are in accordance with Ohio’s competitive bid laws.  I would not circumvent the bidding process and would highly consider quality proven local bidders. According to public investigative reports, $500,000was lost in the current bidding system by not rendering fair acceptance of local bidders.”

- “Leadership with Administrative Integrity: Establish true collaboration with county officials and employees with all Townships, Cities and Village officials by attending meetings and making myself-approachable and provide reasonable availability.  Effectively sharing resources among Miami County Townships, Cities, and Villages and save taxpayers money.”
“Not put a “Band-Aid” on the downtown jail, or continue to put thousands of dollars into a jail that could possibly be condemned at any time.  My support would go towards a Maximum Security addition to the newer jail on 25A that would be more conducive to the county needs and save hundreds of thousands of dollars in staffing.”

- “Transparency with Administrative Procurement of Funding and Decision-making: Keep residents of Miami County informed of what is going on within their county government, by providing access through possible resources such as a quarterly newsletter, newspaper or website,” Simmons said.

What else would you like voters to know about you?

O’Brien: “As an Eagle Scout I am a big supporter of the Boy Scout of America. We are members of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Tipp City.  I enjoy spending time with my family and I am an avid Cincinnati Reds and Bengals fan.”

Simmons: “I am very proud of the job I have done as a county employee.  My fiscal responsibility at West Central led to paying off the building debt service and when I retired, I left approximately $1,000,000 in unencumbered money. I strongly believe in accountability, integrity and transparency. I know together, our local government can operate in true collaboration with all parties and not an autocratic form of leadership.  I want the county government to know that they work for the benefit of the people; the people do not work for the benefit of elected officers.  It is important that the citizens of Miami County consider the relevance of electing someone who is committed and dedicated to the people and issues of Miami County.

If voters want more information about you, where can they obtain this information?

Simmons: Contact me in writing to P.O. Box 378, Tipp City, 45371 or by visiting Facebook at Simmons4Commissioner