This is the last of our series to get to know the candidates running for local offices in Marietta. The Marietta/Washington County League of Women Voters asked the two candidates for president of city council, Josh Schlicher, Republican candidate, and Walt Brothers, Democratic candidate, to respond to questions. Here are their responses.
Question: Share a short biography and what you see to be your role as council president.
Walt Brothers - My education was in political science and management. I retired from the Air Force after more than 20 years of service, where I was an instructor and intelligence officer. Following my military service, I worked at Rockwell International as the director of business development. Since coming to Marietta I have served on boards and held offices in Kiwanis, O'Neill Center, YMCA, St. Luke's Church and the Washington County Ohio Horseman's Council.
The council president has three primary responsibilities: Chair the council meetings, appoint committee chairs, be acting mayor when the mayor is absent. Traditionally the council president has served as parliamentarian during council meetings. We need something more - a council president who is a catalyst, a moderator, and a conciliator that can develop sound decisions both within the council and between the council and the rest of city hall. I will govern in this expanded role.
Josh Schlicher - I was born in Marietta and am the owner of Schlicher Construction and Development, LLC and co-owner of Schlicher Rental Properties. I serve as the Cambridge district commander of the Ohio State Highway Patrol Auxiliary, am a board member of the Marietta Civitan Club and a volunteer member of the Marietta Traffic Commission. I am currently an at-large councilman, chairman of the employee relations committee and chairman of the Information Technology Advisory Board.
My role as president of council will be to carry out the required duties of the office, work with the mayor and administration and all department heads and be a liaison to council. I will also represent the citizens and be accessible and responsive to their needs and concerns. I will attend committee, city commission and public meetings. I will streamline council chambers and update records retention and public records policy and make council business more accessible to the public using electronic means. I will also prioritize goals for the committees to work on.
League of Women Voters
The mission of the League of Women Voters is to "encourage informed and active participation in government, work to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influence public policy through education and advocacy." To achieve our mission, the Marietta/Washington County League of Women Voters is planning a column periodically to educate voters as they prepare to vote on November 8. The information will be nonpartisan and cover a variety of topics.
Please remember that the League of Women Voters is open to both men and women so if you are interested in joining call Caroline Putnam at 373-4510.
Q.: How will you get council members from different parties working together to tackle the problems Marietta will face in the next few years?
Josh Schlicher - I will continue to work with both parties as I currently do as a councilman. I feel council must work together in the best interest of the city and citizens. All members have different points of view and input on certain matters, but the best outcome usually prevails for most legislation that is voted on by council.
Walt Brothers - As president of city council I will get people from different parties, viewpoints, and agendas to work together. First I will develop an environment of mutual respect among the members. Second I will emphasize that all on council have valuable contributions to make. Third, I will keep everybody focused - we are working for the common good. Fourth, I will maintain a sense of humor and encourage others to do the same.
Q.: As council president will you urge council to develop a five or 10-year plan for Marietta? If so, what is one important component you feel needs to be addressed to move Marietta forward?
Walt Brothers - I believe: "The future belongs to those who plan for it." There should be two major plans for Marietta: the first creates a better, more cost-effective city government. The second plan enlists government, civic leaders, business and interested citizens, and creates a long-term blueprint driving the city toward the future we all want.
Josh Schlicher - I am already involved with a five-year plan as an at-large councilman. I have collected data from city departments on what the city needs to just maintain and improve our core city services. My focus and one component to move Marietta forward is maintaining, improving and delivering core city services to our citizens. This plan will need updated constantly and will remain on the forefront of my agenda as president of council.
Q.: Share a bill or project you would encourage and support during your term as council president and why.
Josh Schlicher - I would encourage the next council to look at consolidating our city buildings and departments to streamline city government and be as efficient as possible, deliver city services quicker, conserve resources by eliminating outdated buildings, be ADA compliant and save the taxpayers money.
Walt Brothers - At the beginning of 2012 I would like to have all elements of Marietta city government conduct a short, in-house review of their current activities to determine: What do we do? Is there a better way to do it? Do we have the resources to do the job? Do our revenues support our activities?
You have heard from both candidates for president of city council.
You must decide, on Election Day, Nov. 8, who is the best choice to move Marietta forward in these tough economic times. Don't forget you can still early vote and avoid the lines!
Article submitted by Betsy Cook, a member of the Marietta/Washington County League of Women Voters.