first_imgMEET VANDERBURGH COUNTY COMMISSIONER BEN SHOULDERS The role of County Commissioner can be a challenging and sometimes an ardent task.  County Commissioners serve as both the Executive and Legislative branches of county government. This means the commissioner’s responsibilities include signing ordinances, awarding contracts, addressing personal matters, among many others.  When executive decisions are made that effect a county, many of its residents will look at the County Commissioners for explanations.Recently, CCO had a chance to interview Vanderburgh County Commissioner Ben Shoulders.Shoulders is a lifelong Evansville resident.   A graduate of Harrison High School and Indiana University where he earned a Bachelor of Arts, Shoulders is currently employed at Old National Bank where he serves as a corporate relationship manager.  He is currently serving in his first term as Vanderburgh County Commissioner – District One.While 2016 wasn’t a good election year for democrats locally, Shoulders was the one bright spot as he defeated his opponent Sean Selby by 1,600 votes.  “I was born and raised in Vanderburgh County,” Shoulders said.  “I strongly believe in servant leadership and I felt I had the confidence, passion, and skill set to serve our community in this capacity; and the experience to make Vanderburgh County a better place…..were my reasons for running,”  Shoulders went on to say.Shoulders certainly came from an upbringing that would make him suitable for the political arena.  His uncle, Pat Shoulders, is a prominent Evansville attorney who currently serves on the IU Board of Trustees and also had a local television show, Shively & Shoulders, where he would debate politics with co-host Les Shively and have political guests on the show as well.  Shoulders’ father, Michael, a local prominent architect, also influenced young Ben to give back his time, talent, and treasure to the community.  Shoulders’ political influences aren’t just limited to his father’s side of the family.  Shoulders’ grandfather, C. Bernard Noelting on his mother’s side, served as city controller during former Evansville Mayor Frank McDonald Sr. third term.Since being elected county commissioner, Shoulders and his fellow commissioners ran into some initial controversy.  Earlier this year, the commissioners voted to replace the manager of Burdette Park, Jacob Murphy, with Pat Tuley who worked on Shoulders’ campaign.  Shoulders, along with fellow commissioner Cheryl Musgrave, insisted that Murphy wasn’t fired but replaced; due to a cross opportunity.  Due to the political controversy, Tuley declined to take the position.  However, Shoulders says the decisions that were made have been beneficial to all involved.  Jacob Murphy has since accepted the manager position with the Weights & Measurements Department, which is a position Murphy is excelling in, according to Shoulders.  Shoulders has also said since the decision was made to replace the Burdette Park manager earlier this year (by naming longtime assistant manager, Jerry Grannon, the interim manager), attendance at the park has skyrocketed and he has the numbers to prove it.  The attendance this year at the park so far has been 7,535.  From the years 2013 to 2016, the attendance was 4,375 people per day (through first 10 days of park operations).So does Ben Shoulders have any aspirations for higher office?  Perhaps Mayor?  “I’m currently very happy with my professional career, blessed for the opportunity given to me by my employer, Old National Bank, and continuing to learn the role of County Commissioner.  My laser focus in my life continues to be on faith, family, work, and serving the people of our community.  My three goals as County Commissioner are infrastructure, economic development, and public safety.  We must continue to collaborate, engage and include everyone as a shared voice for the future and greater good of Vanderburgh County.” FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img read more