Fenton Regional Chamber of Commerce Candidate Questionnaire (2017)

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I’m excited to share that the Fenton Regional Chamber of Commerce has endorsed me again this election as a candidate for the Fenton City Council position.

In preparation for this year’s “Meet the Candidates” event held October 10th, the Chamber sent out a list of questions to all the candidates.  Below you’ll find my responses.  I’m the only candidate that has publicly shared their responses.

 

2017 Questionnaire for Mayoral & Council Candidates

1) What qualifications do you bring to the city council?

For a City Council to be effective, it should represent a cross-section of the community it serves. Elected officials should bring varied backgrounds – public service, private industry, and community organizations. My background includes all three.

Currently, I serve as a Fenton City Councilman, elected to my first term in 2013.  As part of this role, I also serve on the Parks & Recreation Board, the Industrial Facility Tax Credit Committee, and Southern Lakes Parks & Recreation Board of Commissioners. I have previously served on the Planning Commission and Zoning Board of Appeals.

I also bring over 20 years of experience in private industry, including the growth of multi-million dollar businesses, successfully rebuilding programs, managed highly productive teams, and leading the launch of global projects.

My experience with community organizations includes a variety of non-profit organizations and charitable foundations. This experience has given me hands-on development and leadership roles, as well as experience in executive/board positions. I currently serve on the Fenton Education Foundation and Fenton Tigers Travel Baseball boards.  For the last 6 years I have also run one of largest festivals in Genesee County, St. John’s Applefest, which brings close to 30,000 people to Fenton each September. I’ve previously volunteered with Cub Scouts, Fenton Little League, and Upward Basketball, and served on boards for the United Way of Greater Cleveland, the Cleveland International Program, Junior Achievement of Western New York, and Niagara County Community College.

2) Given the recent successes associated with the streetscape and beautification, what are your ideas to add to that?

As a Council Member, I’ve supported ideas that add to our community through the growth of local businesses, ongoing downtown improvements, and projects positively impacting our residential neighborhoods.

I like initiatives that bring new people to Fenton. As a member of the Industrial Facility Tax Credit Committee, I worked to provide a tax credit enabling a local business to expand downtown, keeping them in Fenton and adding 30+ new jobs.  As a Commissioner on Southern Lakes, I’ve supported their growth to manage events including Back to the Bricks, Farmers Market, and Thursdays in the Park.  As a Board Member for the Fenton Education Foundation, I’ve supported programs in our schools for music, athletics, robotics, and teacher grants. All of those things make Fenton a better place to live (and raise a family).

I believe that Fenton’s biggest success is that people want to visit and live here. The more people that spend time in Fenton, the more they support our local businesses.  When local businesses succeed, they are more generous in their support of our schools and community. Stronger schools and community organizations create a better quality of life.  A better quality of life makes more people want to be part of Fenton. It is all connected.
3) In what areas of the Fenton City Budget can savings be found? What areas are in need of additional funding?

Our current administration (City Manager and staff) work to ensure we are as prudent as possible with taxpayer money. As part of our annual budget process, we look at each department to review requested increases and potential decreases.

An area that needs significant, immediate investment is residential roads. Our neighborhood roads are experiencing a steep decline, and updating them will require a long-term financial commitment from our residents such as a multi-year road millage.

4) What business knowledge and experience do you bring to the council? How can these skills help our local business community?

I have over 20 years of business experience – managing operations (sales, recruitment, customer service), sustained long-term growth of several multi-million dollar businesses within a Fortune 500 company, strategic planning/organizational goal setting, and successfully rebuilding failing operations.  I have led highly successful teams, the launch of multi-million dollar global projects, and developed programs that help us focus on the interpersonal relationships that drive success. Currently, I manage a team that includes sales, training, and technology management within the global sales and account management organization of a Fortune 500 company.

5) Parking is an issue. What can be done to better direct the public to parking which is currently available?

Parking is a frequently discussed issue for City Council.  Over the last 18 months, we’ve seen it come up different ways – the impact of new buildings, residential downtown properties needing reserved spots, expansion of existing businesses with the hiring of more employees, opening new roadways, and the impact of large downtown events.

Parking is also an indicator of a successful downtown.  More people means less available parking.  If we continue to successfully grow, the availability of parking will eventually become a concern, but right now, the biggest issue is the location of parking.  A straightforward way to fix today’s problem is better signage indicating where the less obvious parking and municipal lots can be found.

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