April 28, 2013
The municipal election is in 14-days. (Candidates share views before early voting starts, Killeen Daily Herald, April 28.) The Voters’ Guide on pages A6 and A7 was space constrained but allowed candidates to state their qualifications and opine on issues. The online version allowed candidates to expand on their answers and address additional questions but neither provides the Paul Harvey. Permit me to expand on one of the Harker Heights races.
First, what makes a candidate best qualified to serve on a city council? The answer is a heavy dose of relevant experience with boards or commissions appointed by the council as augmented by personal character, life lessons, professional experience and expertise, and civic involvement.
After 7+ years of volunteer service, I’m now the candidate with the most relevant experience with city governance and therefore the best qualified for Place 1 on the city council. I was invited to and participated in three candidate forums - Harker Heights Chamber of Commerce, NAACP and LULAC, and Kiwanis. A fourth is tomorrow - Exchange Club - and I’ll again highlight my experience and contrast it with the other two candidates for Place 1.
I served on the Harker Heights Planning & Zoning Commission from 2005 to 2012. I was elected Vice Chairman in 2007 and Chairman four times from 2008 to 2012. I served on the Infrastructure Committee of Exploring New Heights in 2008. I participated in joint workshops with the Council and staff in 2008 and 2011 that refined the city’s strategic priorities. During this 7-year period, I worked closely with the City Manager, four Planning Directors, and the city staff. I also became familiar with the Texas Local Government Code and the Harker Heights Comprehensive Plan, Code of Ordinances, Exploring New Heights, and Land Use and Thoroughfare Plans. Neither of the other candidates can match this record of relevant, successful experience.
It should be noted that military careers leading Soldiers, business careers managing malls, and community involvement are commendable but equating them to city governance is a stretch. It’s a fact that candidates with recent, relevant experience in city governance have a flatter learning curve and that sets conditions for them to be more effective and sooner during a 3-year term. I’m that candidate for Harker Heights Place 1.
Second, what have candidates done recently to prepare to serve on the Council?
In addition to leading the P&Z for 5-years, I’ve attended 21 meetings and 9 workshops since February 2012, learned the issues, and distilled the city’s strategic needs and priorities. One candidate began attending city council meetings in January of this year only after being encouraged to do so. No one has seen the third candidate at any city council functions or candidate forums. Makes you wonder why he’s running……
Two additional comments.
I chose not to clutter the community with campaign signs. Personally, I think they’re obnoxious but I understand the role they play in “politics”. Still, minimize was in effect. So, I did what Soldiers do. I analyzed the avenues of approach (aka roads) and results of previous municipal elections; identified key terrain and voter concentrations; created a map overlay and identified six key locations; placed 4x8 foot signs at each; and distributed yard signs to cover the gaps. My friends just smile and shake their heads.
I also chose neither to seek public endorsements nor to solicit financial contributions. Family and community relationships put some people in uncomfortable positions when asked to publicly choose between friends. So I didn’t. I’ve been encouraged however by the response to my approach and am confident voters will choose wisely.
I’d now like to address some good news that a few are attempting – poorly, at that - to spin as an issue.
I was hired on April 11, 2013 to join Team Killeen as the Executive Director for Support Services. I’m now responsible for providing visionary, effective and efficient leadership to and operational management of the Fleet, Building, Custodial, and Printing services divisions and the Purchasing department. I’m leading a great team of 59 people and managing a department budget of $2.9 million.
I didn’t seek this job – it pursued me. I then had the option to wait until after the election to decide. Some encouraged me to do that but when God opens a door we have a choice to trust His timing, or not. The new team is forming and we’re committed to changing the culture in the motor pool, fixing systemic problems, and restoring confidence in Fleet Services.
Does this pose a conflict of interest? The answer is “No” – neither the city charters nor State statute prohibit serving in an elected position in one city and city staff in another. It would however provide a unique and timely opportunity to enhance local cooperation and synergy across the Greater Fort Hood community. Regional issues require team solutions and resource efficiencies; areas like public safety, water planning, and infrastructure construction. An example is the ongoing Rosewood extension at Hwy 190. The bottom line is this – leaders with integrity and experience are best equipped to team with others to resolve common issues and no daylight needs to exist between local communities in that process.
You can click-in to my Website to learn more - http://www.stu4council.org
. Elections are decided by votes; not campaign signs, newspaper ads, or flyers. Choosing those with relevant experience in city governance is wise because we deserve the government we elect.