PRINCIPLES for Independent Voters of Brown County IN include the following: Transparency, Fiscal Management, Planning, Assessment, Continuous Learning, and Collaboration.

1.0 TRANSPARENCY. Transparency is the government’s obligation to share information with citizens that is needed to make informed decisions and hold officials accountable for the conduct of the people’s business.

1.1 Will or has the candidate demonstrated support for transparency? If so, how?

Let the people know the facts and the country will be safe. – Abraham Lincoln.

Radical Transparency: “Whether you like it or not, radical transparency and algorithmic decision-making is coming at you fast, and it’s going to change your life.” Ray Dalio – one of the most successful businessmen in the world.

A Start: Update the county website to identify the responsibilities of Boards and Commissions.  Also include the names of the individuals appointed, the office or organization making the appointments and the length of the appointment.

2.0 FISCAL MANAGEMENT. Elected, appointed and management officials must be able to plan the work-units budget and manage income and expenditure, through the responsible implementation of policies, practices, and decisions to achieve unit objectives effectively and efficiently. This includes access to financial information to be available via the county website that would include all budgets, current and historical, and graphs showing spending and revenue over time.

2.1 Will or has the candidate demonstrated support for fiscal management? If so, how?

To preserve our independence, we must not let our rulers load us with perpetual debt. We must make our election between economy and liberty, or profusion and servitude. -- Thomas Jefferson  
  • Continue to publish  a Five Year Financial Plan and update at last semi-annually.  
  • Publish a 5-10 year plan and budget for Roads and Bridges.
  • At a  minimum, develop a five year Capital Improvement Plan and Budget.
  • Post an annual review of internal controls.
  • Develop a performance plan and report on results annually

3.0 PLANNING BEFORE DOING. The development and maintenance of a County Comprehensive Plan, County Economic Development Strategic Plan and County Strategic Plan  is critical to clearly identify what Brown Countians want, do not want, and will support regarding tourism, community, and economic development. A County Strategic Plan includes vision, goals, objectives, milestones, priorities, and resources.

A “plan” is a written account of the intended future course of action (scheme) aimed at achieving the specific goal (s) or objective (s) within a specific timeframe. It explains in detail what needs to be done, when, how, and by whom.

3.1 Will or has the candidate demonstrated support for planning and assessing results? If so, how?

'If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!' - Benjamin Franklin

Plans are worthless, but planning is everything. Dwight D. Eisenhower

A Start:

  • Review the 2019  County Economic Development Strategic Plan and determine next steps. Follow-on actions  would include making improvements or  confirming it was a less than successful.
  • Review the Regional Affordable Housing Study to include how this could  be aligned with the comprehensive, financial, and economic strategies.
  • Update the 2012 County Comprehensive Plan
  • Publish the plan and budget for maintaining roads and bridges.

  An annual State of the County Assessment and Report would include the following: Strengths (accomplishments), Weaknesses (areas that need improvement), Opportunities (goals and objectives) and Threats (challenges).

It would also include support for similar assessments conducted by all interested stakeholder groups within Brown County that want to share their vision, accomplishments, stories, challenges, and needs. Information learned from these assessments would then be used to update the county strategic plan.

The Indiana Nonprofit database identifies over 284 organizations in Brown County – many of which are dedicated to improving the quality of life within the county.  (For more information on the concept, See Connecting the Community.

4.1 Will or has the candidate demonstrated support for an annual state of the county assessment? If so, how?

The U.S. State of the Union address is an annual speech presented by the President of the United States that fulfills rules in Article II, Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution. The address provides an assessment on the condition of the nation and allows an opportunity for the President to identify priorities and actions by identifying a legislative agenda (for which he needs the cooperation of Congress).  

5.0 CONTINUAL LEARNING. Continual  learning refers to the ability to continually develop and improve skills and knowledge to perform effectively and adapt to change. This includes adopting evidence (facts and data) based approaches to help determine when a change (such as new and revised policies, projects and ordinances) results in improvement. It also includes building on lessons learned from the annual State of the County assessments.  

5.1 Will or has the candidate demonstrated support for continuous learning? If so, how?

Successes and Failures - Abraham Lincoln

A Start:  Identify the outline of what should be included in an annual State of the County assessment.  

6.0 COLLABORATION.  A collaborative approach to problem-solving and decision making involves all affected stakeholder in working together in problem resolution and decision making.

6.1 Will or has the candidate demonstrated support for collaboration? If so, how?

“Creativity, collaboration and compromise were necessary in political life in order to achieve such great things,” --- Gerard Gawalt, guest curator of “Creating the United States,” a new exhibition at the Library of Congress.

Brown County was selected in 2017 to participate in the Hometown Collaborative Initiative (HCI).  HCI supports communities that are committed to building on their existing assets by applying a collaborative approach to problem-solving and decision making.  The outcome was the development of the Brown County Leader Network.


The Baldrige Performance Excellence Framework has been proven to drive performance excellence in companies and organizations. It has been adapted to achieve performance excellence in communities. 

The framework identifies objective criteria that can be applied for assessing the quality of community and economic development within the County.  The framework includes an assessment that can be scored on a zero to 1,000 point scale.

A community or an organization for that matter, that concludes that things are “good enough” would likely score in the 150-250 point range. A community that shares a common vision and a collaborative approach to problem-solving and decision making would likely score over 600 points.  This level of performance would take several years to achieve.

Communities of Excellence 2026 – Strategy