NAPLES — Dwight Brock has some competition.
Naples resident John Barlow, 68, announced Thursday he plans to run for the Collier County Clerk of Circuit Court job currently held by Brock.
"I think there has been far too much bickering going on," Barlow said, alluding to Brock's demeanor in office. "That needs to be replaced with some cooperation."
Barlow was employed at Western Auto from 1977 to 1991. While serving as the president and CEO of the company's stores division, Barlow said he revived "the lagging company into an auto parts superstore that created more than 4,000 jobs."
Barlow also served as president and CEO of Safelite Glass Corp., where he played a role in "doubling revenue and establishing Safelite as a leading auto glass retailer."
Barlow said he later led a reorganization effort to reduce debt at the company.
"I really want to transfer the experiences I had in the private sector into government," he said. "I think we can ... increase customer services and renew some trust."
The clerk's office is the records custodian for the court system and also is the designated bill-payer for Collier County government.
Barlow made headlines in recent weeks when he expressed concern about how much the clerk's office is charging for public records. Barlow said if he is elected he plans to institute a three-day deadline to comply with public records requests and reduce the cost of copies to 15 cents a page.
Barlow said he also plans to commission an independent audit to identify waste and fraud, and build a budget that starts at zero to ensure responsibilities are met without wasting tax dollars.
"The county clerk needs to be honest, responsible and accountable to the citizens and taxpayers," Barlow said in a statement. "I've spent my entire career making sure budgets are balanced and customers are happy with the top-notch service they deserve. That's the type of culture change the Clerk's Office needs and I'm ready to get results."
Brock, a former state prosecutor, ousted then- Clerk of Courts Jim Giles in 1992. Brock had a challenger — then- Collier County Department of Revenue Director John Yonkosky — in 1996, but has run unopposed in every election since, said Dave Carpenter, a Collier County Supervisor of Elections qualifying officer.
Brock, who is currently serving his fifth term in office, already announced he is running again for another four-year term. He couldn't be reached for comment Thursday.
Both are Republicans and their contest would be on the August primary ballot.