Candidate questionnaire: Reid Eikner

info@islandpacket.comOctober 22, 2012 

Name: Reid Eikner

Age: 69

Office: Beaufort County Board of Education, District 11

Number of years living in the area you seek to represent: 8 years full-time, and part-time non-resident property owner in Sea Pines for 20 years prior

Family: Wife, Diane, and two grown daughters

Education: Bachelor of Science in civil engineering from University of Virginia; master's in business administration from the University of Pittsburgh; law degree from University of Maryland

Current occupation/employer: Retired. Most recently part-time adjunct professor at the University of Virginia School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, teaching a business course to senior engineering students in 2005-2006 and 2009-2012.

Employment, military and volunteer history: 35-year business career much of it in corporate finance and venture capital opportunities and in executive management positions such as CEO, CFO and general counsel. Business experience includes manufacturing (Procter & Gamble), corporate finance (Mercantile Safe Deposit & Trust Company) startup companies (CRI and Katalistiks International), turnaround situations (Bestway Distributing Company and USVision) and rapid growth (Cowan Systems.) I was a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on active duty from 1968 to 1970, including service in Vietnam. Volunteer activities include 25 years of service to the Maryland Chapter of UVA Alumni Association -- serving as president in 1989 -- working or chairing various committees for several professional golf tournaments held in the Baltimore area and choral singer for over 40 years in various churches, including First Presbyterian Church, Hilton Head Island for the last eight years.

Please list all public offices to which you've been elected, when and where: Board of Education, 2006-2008, to fill the unexpired term of Stu Rodman, who had been elected to County Council.

Please list any unsuccessful candidates for public office and when: None

Other prior political and government experience: No response given.

Key endorsements you've received: No response given.

Contributions: No campaign contributions or expenditures reported as of Oct. 12.

Expenditures: No campaign contributions or expenditures reported as of Oct. 12.

Highest contributor: No campaign contributions or expenditures reported as of Oct. 12.

Why should people vote for you? What separates you from your opponent? Be specific.

  • Specifically, I have prior Board of Education experience in collaborating with other school board and council members, all with diverse backgrounds, on cost-effective and academically sound solutions to educational issues. I also have experience in hiring a new superintendent which will be one of the most important decisions made by the Board of Education in 2013.

  • Financial and analytical skills: I have both engineering analytical and problem-solving skills and business financial skills. In my prior tenure on the Board of Education, I was called upon many times to assist the board's understanding of complex budget, financial and taxation questions.

  • What are the three most important issues you would address if elected?

  • Hiring a new superintendent: Finding and hiring the right person for superintendent who has the personal drive and energy, has demonstrated prior academic performance improvement success in diverse student populations, possesses management vision and leadership for the current staff and business acumen will be crucial for the Beaufort County School District to complete its turnaround in academic performance across all schools begun under the leadership of Valerie Truesdale.

  • Financial analysis and planning for the impending property reassessment in 2013: The next countywide property reassessment will have a major negative impact on revenues for the school district and the county. Finding a solution which balances current spending needs while minimizing any tax increase will require extraordinary patience, financial skills and collaboration between the school board and county council.

  • Maintaining the strategic governance model and resisting micromanaging the school district from the Board of Education level. During my prior tenure on the school board, the board moved from site-based management of the schools to a more efficient and cost effective strategic governance model for Board of Education actions. The board has one employee, namely the superintendent, and needs to resist the temptation to try to manage more than just the superintendent.

  • What other issues do you see as important?

    Integrating a large number of new board members (at least five and maybe as many as seven) into a respectful board environment whereby all members are fully participating and partnering as a team for the improvement of the Beaufort County School District.

    What specific steps will you take to make government more open and accessible to the public?

  • I believe the public's business should be done in public, so I will resist the use of executive sessions except for the express legal reasons of personnel privacy, contract matters and legal advice.

  • Encourage the board to hold more public meetings at sites around the county in addition to the council chambers in Beaufort, provided live TV coverage can be arranged at other sites on Hilton Head Island and in Bluffton.

  • As I did in my previous Board of Education tenure, I will continue to hold public meetings from time to time in District 11 to explain educational issues, get feedback from the public and to discuss ideas for improving education in Beaufort County.

  • Have you ever been convicted of a crime (felony), been disciplined by a professional licensing board or organization or had an ethics violation filed against you? If so, please give the details.

    No

    Have you ever filed for bankruptcy, been delinquent on your federal, state or local taxes? If so, please give the details.

    No

    Are there any personal details about yourself that voters would be interested in knowing? No response given.

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