From the Douglas Neighbor…

Malanchuk will challenge for chairman

Wednesday, May 14, 2008 1:26 PM EDT

 

Douglas Neighbor Staff Writer

Igor Malanchuk, 43, of Winston has filed to challenge Tom Worthan in the July 15 Republican primary for chairmanship of the Douglas County Board of Commissioners.

The owner of Bargain Village furniture store on Highway 5, Malanchuk said he would run government like a small business.

He also does commercial lending, a line of work that is slumping right now. And almost a third of the furniture store’s customers who financed with the store are behind on their payments, he said.

Recently the home where he has lived for five years was advertised for foreclosure. But Malanchuk said his late mortgage payments had been caught up months before the ad ran, and there was no foreclosure.

“I preserved the business and let the house slide,” he explained.

Malanchuk said taxpayers have a gigantic burden to keep up with the growth of government.

“In tough economic times we must keep the tax burden as low as possible,” said Malanchuk. “I’m confident I can save at least 5 percent of the budget. I will run it like a small business, lean and mean, and have customer service.”

He would look for redundancies and opportunities to outsource or combine services, he said, citing the county and city governments each having their own cable television station, staff and equipment.

“It feels like the leadership here is a little like kings,” he said. “They feel like they’re beyond reproach.”

He told of an incident that led him to run for office.

 

“When a zoning officer comes into my business and says he doesn’t want you to do a certain thing ‘because the commissioner says so,’ that’s Soviet Union,” Malanchuk said. “I said, ‘Wait a minute. Are we in the United States? A commissioner says so?’ I thought this was a country of law. That’s a king-like behavior.

“Coming from the Soviet Union, that’s why I’m so sensitive,” he said. “I have seen the hell, I know how it smells, how it walks and how it talks and I will not tolerate it.”

He would hold county commission meetings and work sessions in the evening, “so more working folks can attend and participate in their government,” he said.

Malanchuk also has experience in facilitating group interactions and “conflict transformation.” As director of development and training for the Georgia Council for International Visitors in the 1990s, the Russian native managed U.S. State Department training programs for foreign leaders and business executives. He has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s in intercultural management and training. He runs a non-profit called Intercultural Services.

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