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Committed to Duties of Mayor, But NOT For Padding the Pension and Pay

The mayor's focus needs to be on managing the business of the city and the commitment that is required. I pledge my commitment to the job, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. However, there is more to being mayor than walking around city hall or cutting ribbons. It means developing and maintaining relationships with the people of the city- all of the city. I would suggest that my door-to-door campaigning in every part of the city demonstrates the type of people-oriented, hands-on mayor that I will be.

I would suggest that my door-to-door campaigning in every part of the city demonstrates the type of people-oriented, hands-on mayor that I will be.

If in fact the interim mayor's job is all he suggests it is, then I wonder, why do we have a financial director, who is operating as the city's chief administrative officer? Why are we paying that person $95,000, plus another $35,000 or so in benefits, if the mayor is actually doing that person's job?

This situation is symbolic of what the real issues in the campaign for mayor should be about -- what are the city's priorities and who gets to determines what they are? An all-powerful mayor who operates with enormous powers or a mayor who understands that the power rests with the people who pay the bills.

City residents certainly know what it costs them personally to operate the city -- they find that out when their tax bills arrive. But where is the money going? The recently completed city audit says that the mayor is required to present the proposed budget to the Council by October 15. So where is that budget? What's in it? When will the people who pay the bills get a peak at it?

The world these days operates in many different ways. Face-to-face discussions -- as I know from my door-to-door campaigning -- are always the best. But there is the internet, emails, texts -- lots of different forms of communications.

There is no reason for the mayor’s position to be a way of padding pensions and increasing pay for political appointments. In the past each council person was paid $2,000 a year and the mayor $8,000. Currently, city council members are paid $8,000 and the mayor receives $43, 800, plus 15% of that toward a pension, plus $23, 000 in health insurance totaling around $72,000 with benefits- 9 times the pay it used to be when you include all of the benefits. If we don’t have the confidence in our well paid city department heads and financial director with the professional experience they have, then shouldn’t something be eliminated to save tax payers money? The redundancy of two city managers costing the city over $200,000 seems to be wasteful and taking advantage of the tax payers.

A strong mayoral form of local government is vulnerable to politicization of decision making, which leads to negative consequences like financial receivership. Hiring and firing can be politically based, instead of competency based. Professional city managers work at the pleasure of the council and can be fired based on incompetence much quicker than waiting for the next election. We need to be reducing the influence of politicians and allow the paid professionals do their jobs without worrying about political backlash. We must end the friends and family policy.

I will be continuing with the idea of reducing the influence of politicians by not only allowing the public greater voice, but also allowing our department heads to run their departments according to their educational and experiential qualifications. Our workers need to have a voice, as well. Our workers need to have a voice- they are citizens and tax-payers who want to improve their community. They have inside knowledge of our infrastructure, best practices for delivering city services. We need to incorporate their input into the decisions that impact our residents. Our small businesses are leaving. They feel as though they aren’t being heard in city hall, either. I plan to have open dialogue with small businesses to develop plans that will allow them to continue to build up our city, provide jobs, and open opportunities.

I have a vision for our community’s future that embraces collaboration. Lockport has an abundance of talented people that believe in our community willing to help build a prosperous and sustainable future for every resident. Having these diverse community members from every ward on committees and boards will develop ideas and policies that will benefit our city and represent a far broader spectrum of the population-providing a voice for everyone. As mayor, I will work with others to create and execute ideas and policies that will benefit our entire region and enable our city to thrive. I will always communicate the decision-making process that leads to all decisions. I have a vision of a Lockport that reflects the diverse and dynamic relationships that makeup our city.

I am running for mayor, because we need to have the voices of residents from every ward heard at city hall. Our kids and elderly walk down unsafe streets due to dead and dying trees, numerous potholes, and too many vacant properties. Instead of being gathering places for friends and family, our parks sit empty due to neglect. And many decisions are made without valuable input from residents. Instead of spending hundreds of thousands of dollars fighting against workers, or spending tens of thousands on paying for an illegal search for an out of state police chief, or 10s of thousands paying for redundant jobs, we will work together to put that money towards what Lockport really needs: Clean, safe streets and parks, healthy trees, and sound water and sewer infrastructure.

I believe that I have the right attitude and qualifications for mayor. I have a fresh voice that our city needs. If you want your next mayor to be a proponent for rationality, critical thinking, and reduced government, then I am the candidate for you. I look forward in the coming months to continue meeting the residents of the entire city, and hearing your concerns and suggestions for city government. Together we can change the status quo.

As I walk door to door I hear your concerns and accept the challenge to finally address these issues and more. I will be a strong, positive voice for you. I am committed to being the mayor 24/7, but not at the expense of tax payers. You can count on me to work with the residents to expand your voice and empower you in the decision making process. It is time that the mayor’s priorities are your priorities. That is why I am asking for your vote. Vote Michelle Roman for mayor on November 6th. Thank you.

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