Over the last two years, Marietta City Council has accomplished a variety of things while moving past the gridlock that has hamstrung councils in the past.
As city voters head to the polls to consider their at-large representatives, we suggest the city would be best served by keeping the current city-wide council members in office.
Councilman Andy Thompson went from being the new kid on the block to a council veteran in 2007 and has emerged as a leader on council after two terms. Thompson remains committed to eliminating potential roadblocks to development in the city and creating a more "business-friendly" atmosphere. He brings small business experience to council, but has demonstrated his knowledge and concern for topics beyond that realm as well, such as pushing for efficiency in city departments even if that means enlisting the aid of outside agencies.
Involved in various community groups as a businessman and volunteer even before his election, Councilman Harley Noland was very active in his first term on council. His restaurant served as a meeting place for committees discussing topics such as residential permitting and green space ordinances. In these and other endeavors, Noland has shown a willingness to work with fellow council members. His desire to focus on filling the vacant spaces on the second and third floors of downtown buildings in a second term demonstrates he won't be resting on his laurels.
Councilwoman Kathy Shively has served a total of 16 years on council, 12 as an at-large representative and four as council president. We think Shively has continued to play a valuable role on a council that changed dramatically two years ago. She sometimes finds herself in the minority, but Shively takes pride in not being a rubber stamp. Disagreement and discussion are important parts of the democratic process, and Shively fulfills those needs, in addition to bringing a wealth of institutional knowledge to the position.
While we endorse the three incumbents, we appreciate the interest and effort of first-time candidates Josh Schlicher and Debbie Scott.
Schlicher has demonstrated a sincere interest in learning more about city government and serving the public. We encourage him to stay involved, as he has as a member of the city traffic commission since 2005.
Scott's run seems spurred, at least in part, by her frustration with council and the planning commission over specific issues; however, she has also shown her interests aren't limited to just those topics. Citizen involvement is important in municipal government as well, and, like Schlicher, we hope Scott will continue to participate.
We endorse Thompson, Noland and Shively for re-election to Marietta City Council.