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City Council president

October 29, 2011
The Marietta Times

Questions:

1. What role should the council president have within council and in what ways should he work with the city's administration?

2. What part do you think you can play in helping to balance Marietta's budget? What abilities or ideas would you contribute?

3. The renovation of the armory continues to be a divisive issue in the city. How would you like to see the project move forward and what should your role be?

Walt Brothers

Age:?72

Address: 608 Fifth St.

Party:?Democrat

Occupation: Retired.

Offices held:?No previous government offices

1. Our city government is characterized as the "weak mayor strong council" model with the council taking the leading role and city hall being the executive agent to the council's direction. In this relationship the President of Council has a powerful role to play in the city's affairs both within the council and between the council and the administration. My management style is collaborative; I work with people to get the job done. In my careers in the military, in business and in industry, working with people as a team has proven to be the most productive approach to solving problems. If elected I will be a proactive President of Council working with all parties to resolve the city's three largest problems: shoring up our finances, creating a better managed city administration and being more responsive to our citizens concerns.

2. Robust finances are the cornerstone to everything the city can and will have to do. I have both the background and interest to solve the city's budget problems. I have an extensive background in budget management and administration. For more than 20 years I worked on budgets ranging in size from a few hundred thousand dollars to tens of billions of dollars. I worked for several years in a "think tank" that specialized in aiding executive decisions and optimizing budgets. I will put this unique knowledge to work as President of Council.

3. One of Marietta's greatest assets is its historic buildings. We must preserve and renovate them to retain the charm and quality of life that characterizes our city. Unfortunately the most recent plans for the Armory were dead on arrival: the renovation plan was short one third of its funding goals and the business plan's projected revenues could only meet about one half of the estimated operating costs. Hopefully more accurate renovation estimates and a revised business plan will correct these deficiencies. Ultimately the armory project must stand on its own financial feet, as a business venture and not a government program. As Council President I will advocate this approach.

Josh Schlicher

Age:?34

Address:?909 Lancaster St., Marietta

Party:?Republican

Occupation:?President of Schlicher Construction and Development, LLC, Co-owner of Schlicher Rental Properties

Offices held:?Currently City Councilman at-large, city traffic commission member from 2005 to 2011.

1. The president of council is the administrative head of city council and is the immediate supervisor of the clerk of council and shall preside at all regular and special council meetings and shall only vote in case of a tie.

The president of council shall appoint all established standing committees with three members of council, as well as assign all legislative subject matter not pertaining to a specific standing committee to any committee or a special committee to be named by the president.

The president of council is responsible for and holds the records of council.

The Ohio Revised Code section 733.07 provides for when the mayor is absent from the city or is unable to perform his duties, the president of council serves as acting mayor.

The president of council must work together with the mayor and administration. As an at-large member of council I have worked with the city departments to gain the working knowledge of the city. I will as president of council continue to work

with the department leaders as well as our city employees to gain the information and knowledge of proposed legislation and present the information to council in committee meetings. I will be a liaison between council members, the administration and department leaders.

Although council members are all independently elected officials that represent a ward or the entire city and answer to their constituents I believe teamwork is essential and I will make sure teamwork is a core value. All members must work for the best interest of the city and the citizens. I believe the council president should attend city commission and board meetings and represent council; the president should work closely with the day-to-day city business. As president of council I will continue what I have established as a councilman and build upon my reputation of excellence to the citizens.

Council needs major upgrades. I will work to make these needed changes a reality. Changes such as needed records retention and permanent records storage, delivering council business more efficiently to the public as well as other city departments. One item that is sorely needed is a "playbook" to guide new members of council through the various processes encountered as a city councilman. I intend to author this manual by the end of my term on council this year. I am dedicated to serving the citizens of Marietta.

2. The city budget process is complex and a collaboration of many factors and individuals. There is a set process that involves defining time lines and areas of responsibility. Most of the responsibility is upon the mayor's office, which entails input from the director and assistant director of public safety and service, the department heads as well as the auditor's office. City Council gets involved towards the end and the finance committee of council does two reviews, one for minor funds and one for major funds. Council then does their final budget approval. The overall process has been structured to provide adequate time to survey past spending levels, to examine and itemize current budget needs, a period to communicate requested default budget adjustments, a period for adjustment of preliminary requests, a first pass review by the finance committee, a period for a second pass adjustment basis finance committee findings, and a final council approval of the plan. The budget phase consists of wage and salary profiles, employee benefits, payroll taxes, overtime requirements, major and minor revenue line items, forecast and carry forward balances, water and wastewater rates, etc. Also employee retirements must be a factor in the budget templates that are due to the administration. A total of 25 individuals work on the budget and many have been involved in the budget process for years and many budget cycles. Since I am a councilman at-large I have the ability to participate in the reviews and ultimately be a vote in the adoption of the budget. This year several significant changes were implemented. One is all department heads received a worksheet template with historical spend profiles; this is intended to save time and money by reducing the volumes of paper devoted to the budget process. Second, the guidelines for 2012 will set the total spend that can be made over the course of 2012. This constraint has been added as a result of the forecasted short term financial outlook in which the city will operate in fiscal year 2012. We have a five-year forecast so this constraint will also insure that operating plans conform to the major premises that were employed in the recent five-year projections. As the employee relations chairman I have implemented several cost reductions. I have reduced salaries for elected officials to 2010 levels for the next term. I have eliminated several unused positions and I have consolidated several positions into better management positions to meet certain mandates. I have supported several temporary seasonal positions to assist our regular employees in getting special projects completed. I have been working with the administration on labor negotiations with the FOP, IAFF and Teamsters. I have sponsored several reductions in motor vehicles and purchase of more efficient equipment. As a member of the water and wastewater committee I have been out in the field working to see we can get the maximum return on our infrastructure investments by doing repair and replacement of sewer lines by our own personnel, saving the taxpayers around 50 percent. As a member of the police and fire committee, I have worked on several cost saving programs for the safety of our citizens. I spent three months working with the chiefs of both departments as well as the administration and business leaders to identify ways to improve our services. Everything we can do that is positive adds up and all of this is achieved by excellent teamwork. No one alone will solve the problems the city faces in the future.

3. When I came on council I took a tour of the armory. I was troubled to find the building in such disrepair. I have since studied the plans for the renovation and the business plan that was prepared. There are also cash flow projections and income statements. This project has been going on for many years and it now has a chance to be released to potential bidders to get a cost for the renovations. The city has on the board the Convention and Visitors bureau as an anchor. The funding is in place in part due to the Ray and Emma Gutberlet estate. This money has been used for the armory as per the wish of Mr. and Mrs. Gutberlet. Also several grants were received for various components of the project. My involvement in the armory project will be limited to voting on legislation to authorize the bidding of the renovation. I have been involved with discussions on the future operations, management as well as maintenance. The bid is for informational purposes only and the next council will authorize a contract in the future. As president of council I will see this project through and make sure all members of council receive factual information on the project to aid in their deliberations and decisions.

 
 
 

 

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