Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

November 3, 2012

Glasgow City Council Candidates Respond

Special report
Glasgow Daily Times

GLASGOW — The Glasgow Daily Times recently posed questions to the 15 candidates running for 12 seats on the Glasgow City Council. The candidates’ answers appear in alphabetical order based on last name:

Candidate:

Harold “M.D.” Armstrong

Incumbent

Q: In your opinion, what are the critical issues facing Glasgow over the next two years?

A: The most critical issue is budget restraints. However we have been addressing this issue for the last six years, in that we have managed to streamline our city government with diminishing income to that city. We have been able to operate without raising taxes or cutting city service. Also we need to continue to expand current businesses and entice new businesses to Glasgow, on order to reduce our unemployment rate.

Q: If elected, what are the measures you will propose in order to address these issues?

A: I will continue to work with department heads in order to reduce spending, but provide good service to the citizens as well as promote Glasgow to attract new businesses. I will work with our current local businesses to help them be successful and provide new jobs.

Q: If elected, would you be more in favor of budget cuts or tax increases in order to balance the budget?

A: I would be in favor of a budget cut over a tax increase. However, there are very few areas in the budget that could be cut, therefore I would look for ways, as I have done in the past, to produce income to the city, such as: selling any surplus property or items not used by the city and that only take up storage space, and that are forgotten about over the years.

Q: If cuts are needed to balance the budget, are there specific departments in which you feel cuts could be made?

 A: I don’t think there are any specific departments that could be cut without having some sort of layoffs or some loss of city service.

Q: What do you believe is the public’s role in city government and city council?

A: I think the public’s role is important in city government. The public should be active with the city council and the mayor, and serve on various boards, as well as offer suggestions, in that fresh ideas are always an asset to city government.

Q: Do you think there should be an increase or decrease in the public’s role in government?

A: I think there should be an increase in the public’s role in city government, in that they should voice their opinions and offer suggestions. The city council can then research their ideas and see if it would be effective and efficient to put in place.

Q: Would you be in favor of reducing the number of council members? If so, would you favor a seven or nine-member council?

A: Four years ago I was against reducing city council, because I felt the newly elected councilmen should have a chance to contribute. Therefore in order to save money we reduced our income package. However, I am now in favor of reducing the council number to nine. Currently, you have ¾ of the council members that appears to do 95 percent of the work. Therefore it would appear that nine council members can do the work, so I would be in favor of reducing the number, especially if those nine would participate and do the necessary work.

Q: Would you be in favor of splitting the city into districts from which each city council member would be elected?

A: No, I do not believe in a town the size of Glasgow districting would be good for the city in that now you have 12 councilmen that you can address issues to. If it was in districts the the stronger councilman, those that work daily and attend committee meetings, would have their districts at an advantage over a popular councilman who was elected to a district but did not participate in daily work and committee meetings.

Q: What is the role of a city council member in conducting city business?

A: Our role is to address the concerns of the citizens, to research their issues, and discuss those issues before the council. To use their expertise in any given area to enlighten the other council members not familiar with the issues. To work with the mayor to make decisions that would make Glasgow a better place to live and work.

Q: Are the actions of committees more/less important than the actions of city council as a whole?

A: I think committees are very important, in that there are a lot of hours served in order to make recommendations to the mayor and the city council on concerns and issues so that the council can pass the ordinances that allow the city to function in a manner that is advantageous to have good city government.

Q: Should committee minutes and actions be posted on the city’s website?

A: I don’t think committee minutes and actions would be of any advantage to be posted on the website. Minutes and actions are available to the public and the media, as well as any concerned citizen. The public is invited to committee meetings and their suggestions are addressed and used in a lot of cases. I have served on almost every committee if not all, over my 16 years as councilmen. Over the last four or five years we have spent a minimum of three times the amount of time spent in previous years, but this has been good for the citizens in that we are now in hard times and a lot of these committee meetings have made a difference in our efficient, current operating procedures.

Q: Should city department heads be required to give in-person quarterly reports to a full council?

A: I think that semi-annual or annually would be sufficient, in that if you are an active councilman you are already aware of how the department is running and the hurdles that have to be addressed. The department head understands that issues on a daily basis and addresses those issues.

Candidate:

Brad Groce

Incumbent

Q: In your opinion, what are the critical issues facing Glasgow over the next two years?

A: The most important issue facing Glasgow is the same issue facing all of America, the economy and financial stability.

Q: If elected, what are the measures you will propose in order to address these issues?

A: As an elected official I will strive to make sound decisions to insure the stability and growth of our city.

Q: If elected, would you be more in favor of budget cuts or tax increases in order to balance the budget?

A: Nobody wants tax increases or budget cuts that reduces services or puts more burden on our citizens.

Q: If cuts are needed to balance the budget, are there specific departments in which you feel cuts could be made?

A: As stated before I strive to make decisions that are for the greater good of Glasgow.

Q: What do you believe is the public’s role in city government and city council?

A: The public should always be involved and have a role in government.

Q: Do you think there should be an increase or decrease in the public’s role in government?

A: The public should always be involved and have a role in government. Government should be for the people and by the people. It’s the way our country was meant to be when it was established.

Q: Would you be in favor of reducing the number of council members? If so, would you favor a seven or nine-member council?

A: Reducing the council is something that could be looked at, but the present council is a very diverse group representing a large cross section of the community. The only problem I see in a small number of council members is a few members could exercise power and control decision making, especially controversial issues.

Q: Would you be in favor of splitting the city into districts from which each city council member would be elected?

A: Districts is something that could be looked also. There is not a problem now but one could have several from one street or neighborhood being on the council the way it is now.

Q: What is the role of a city council member in conducting city business?

A: The role of a council member is to represent the citizens that elect them.

Q: Are the actions of committees more/less important than the actions of city council as a whole?

A: The actions of committees are important because everything that needs to be done cannot be done only at the council meetings.

Q: Should committee minutes and actions be posted on the city’s website?

A: All committee meeting minutes and actions are public record and anyone can see them when desired.

Q: Should city department heads be required to give in-person quarterly reports to a full council?

A: Candidate gave no response.

Candidate:

Stacy Hammer

Incumbent

Q: In your opinion, what are the critical issues facing Glasgow over the next two years?

A: The most critical issue facing Glasgow, in my opinion, is solving economic problems. These issues not only affect Glasgow, but the entire country.

Q: If elected, what are the measures you will propose in order to address these issues?

A: I would propose concentrating our efforts on creating new jobs. Attracting new industries is important, and also helping our existing businesses to expand is crucial. The council could cooperate with our Governor, State Representative, County Judge Executive, Mayor and private sectors to accomplish this goal. We could work on securing loans or grants for new businesses and to assist those that are here to remain in Glasgow. We, as a city, would need to steadfast in creating and maintain jobs. Glasgow is very fortunate to have several factories that we wouldn’t want to lose.

Q: If elected, would you be more in favor of budget cuts or tax increases in order to balance the budget?

A: I would be in favor of budget cuts.

Q: If cuts are needed to balance the budget, are there specific departments in which you feel cuts could be made?

A: If elected, my goal would be for our Mayor, finance committee, and individual department heads to look over their budget. They could then focus on any unnecessary expenses.

Q: What do you believe is the public’s role in city government and city council?

A: The public should remember that YOU, the citizens are our voice. I would strive to listen to the citizens of Glasgow and forward their concerns to the council. The council is elected to represent the public and they should be held accountable for their actions.  This includes all branches and levels of our government.

Q: Do you think there should be an increase or decrease in the public’s role in government?

A: There should definitely be an increase. The public could be more involved in the city council meetings. Glasgow citizens may be informed by going to www.cityofglasgow.org. The Mayor, city council and especially citizen of Glasgow have a vested interest in keeping our city the best possible place to live. We can come together and work toward that goal.

Q: Would you be in favor of reducing the number of council members? If so, would you favor a seven or nine-member council?

A: As I stated in 2010, I am not in favor of reducing the number of council members. But if that issue arises I would like to have the citizen’s best interest regarding this important issue.

Q: Would you be in favor of splitting the city into districts from which each city council member would be elected?

A: I am not in favor in splitting the city into districts and electing people to the council in this manner.

The elective choices of the citizens of Glasgow should not be limited by geographic, economic or social concerns. We should be free to elect the most qualified candidates in any and all elective positions.

Q: What is the role of a city council member in conducting city business?

A: The role of the city council is to serve the community of Glasgow. We should listen to and speak the citizen’s concerns. As a council member we need to know your concerns in order to address them.

Q: Are the actions of committees more/less important than the actions of city council as a whole?

A: All committee meetings are important and there are always items to be addressed, but the resolutions are presented to the council to be voted on.

Q: Should committee minutes and actions be posted on the city’s website?

A: I do not believe that committee minutes should be posted. These are meetings with department heads to keep us informed on daily issues or consider issues for future plans.

Q: Should city department heads be required to give in-person quarterly reports to a full council?

A: I do believe department heads should prepare quarterly reports and present these to the full council. This may prove to be more beneficial to our citizens.

Candidate:

Earl Hammons

Non incumbent

Q: In your opinion, what are the critical issues facing Glasgow over the next two years?

A: Budget Management (declining state and federal funds)

EPA mandated storm water management

Grow the Glasgow Economic Loan Fund (business expansion/recruitment)

Additional sources of revenue (other than increased taxation)

Q: If elected what are the measures you will propose in order to address these issues?

A: Seek Mayoral appointment to committees dealing with issues of question #1

Lobby for adequate project funding

Support department heads to ensure project completion

Q: If elected would you more in favor of budget cuts or tax increases to balance the budget?

A: Both are necessary tools to balance a budget

Tax increases should be an option of last resort

Q: If cuts are needed to balance the budget, are there specific departments in which you feel cuts could be made?

A: I generally favor across the board cuts to balance a budget

Q: What do you believe is the public’s role in city government and city council?

A: Tax paying citizens should exercise their right to speak before city officials and the council, regarding issues of concern. The level of interaction with city government is up to each person. As a council member I want to respond to citizen’s concerns.

Q: Do you think there should be an increase or decrease in the public role in government?

A: I favor increased public participation; “For the people; By the people.”

Q: Would you be in favor of reducing the number of council members? If so, do you favor a seven or nine member council?

A: Yes, I favor reducing the council to 7 members

Q: Would you be in favor of splitting the city into districts from which each council member would be elected?

A: No; I believe the popular vote represents the desire of the voting public. Decisions made by the council affect people of all city districts

Q: What is the role of a city council member in conducting city business?

A: Assist the Mayor and department heads with city planning

Develop policies that respond to the operation and services of city government

Q: Are the actions of committees more/less important than the actions of city council as a whole?

A: Neither. The actions of the committees are in response to the direction of the mayor and city council.

Q: Should committee minutes and actions be posted on the city’s website?                

A: I am in favor of transparency, however; if someone wants to view the minutes and actions of specific committee meetings, they are available by contacting the city clerk.

Q: Should city department heads be required to give in person quarterly reports to a full council?

A: No. It is the Mayor’s job to supervise and manage the department heads, however; I am not against them giving a report to the council at the mayor’s pleasure.

Candidate:

Wendell Honeycutt

Incumbent

Q: In your opinion, what are the critical issues facing Glasgow over the next two years?

A: I see money as the greatest challenge we are facing today and for the next two years. Unfunded mandates from Washington along with falling taxes due to decreased payrolls and property values have created a situation where money collected has not equaled money spent. When my Dad was Mayor, the City Council and he were able to put aside funds for a rainy day. During this depression, the City has spent most of these funds. We are now going to be faced with how to cut back on what we spend with the least amount of impact on our citizens. I am proud that we have not raised taxes and firmly believe this is not the answer. Instead, we need to make some budget cuts, reallocate some spending, plus attract more businesses and jobs into Glasgow to increase the tax base which will enable us to collect additional taxes from the new payroll and new buildings and equipment.

Q: If elected, what are the measures you will propose in order to address these issues?

A: We need to ensure we are maintaining the fire and police departments at acceptable levels. We need to continue to provide for those in need. Where appropriate, we should look at reducing payroll costs through not hiring replacements when retirements occur. We also need to look at our agreements with other agencies and governmental units to ensure everyone is paying their fair share and they are spending our money wisely. I have already requested that all organizations that receive funds from the City present to the Council or the Finance Committee how they are spending those funds and the results achieved. As a member of the Finance Committee, I have met with all City department heads and listened to their budget requests. I firmly believe the Mayor, department heads, and Council are all working together in a very positive manner to cut spending and reallocate funds to where the greatest needs are.

Q: If elected, would you be more in favor of budget cuts or tax increases in order to balance the budget?

A: Increasing taxes is never the answer during hard economic times. We will need to curtail some nonessential services over the next two years. We also need to continue our efforts to attract new businesses and jobs plus maintain and increase the ones already here. This will increase our tax base and allow the City to collect more taxes from the larger tax base without raising the tax rates for anyone.

Q: If cuts are needed to balance the budget, are there specific departments in which you feel cuts could be made?

A: We need to ensure the public safety. Some departments will probably have personnel numbers reduced by not hiring replacements for some retirees. Honestly, a probable budget cut would be in the recreation department. The City pool could be open fewer days per week and fewer hours per day.  The Lera B. Mitchell Club House and The Museum of the Barrens could be closed an extra day each week. These are all unpleasant ways to cut the budget, but would be very effective and would not significantly impact our quality of life within the City.

Q: What do you believe is the public’s role in city government and city council?

A: The City strives to be very transparent and open to all citizens. Everyone who is interested has the opportunity to attend the City Council meetings and the committee meetings. The minutes from the City Council meetings are published on the City’s web page. Anyone who wants to voice an opinion or address the Council has the opportunity to do so. The more the public lets the City and City Council know what they would like to have done, or of their opinions on the issues we are addressing, the better we will be able to serve them. The City Council is composed of citizens who are willing to give of their time to serve. The Council positions are definitely not full time jobs, but do require a lot of work. Most of the work is done in committee meetings. That is why everything appears to go so smoothly and quickly at the Council meetings.

Q: Do you think there should be an increase or decrease in the public’s role in government?

A: The more the public is involved in government, the better the government will be. An example would be the Greenways Committee I am on. We are developing long-term plans for walking and biking trails and paths to connect various parts of Glasgow with each other and possibly to Mammoth Cave. Many great ideas have come from the audience attending the public hearings we have held. The final plans will be better because of this public involvement. Letting Council Members know your ideas and opinions on issues or coming to the meetings and voicing them in person will help guide the future of Glasgow.

Q: Would you be in favor of reducing the number of council members? If so, would you favor a seven or nine-member council?

A: If so, would you favor a seven or nine member council? I would not be in favor of reducing the number of Council members. Most of the Council’s activities occur in committee meetings. I work full time and have to leave work to attend most of these meetings. While the Walberts have always been very gracious and allowed me to leave work and then return after the meetings are over, I believe if the number of Council members were to be reduced and the number of committees each remaining Council member is on be increased, then only retired people would be able to invest the time required to serve on the City Council. I would hate to see everyone with a full time job be eliminated from serving on the Council.

Q: Would you be in favor of splitting the city into districts from which each city council member would be elected?

A: No. Every Council Member represents every citizen of Glasgow. We all strive to achieve what is best for the entire City. Why would anyone want to give up the right to elect all twelve members of the Council and instead only elect one? If elected by district, each member would primarily serve the people of that district. Look at how the Barren County Fiscal Court meetings are and contrast them to the Glasgow City Council meetings. Look at how the Magistrates interact and then look at the Council members. How could anyone possibly think districts are better?

Q: What is the role of a city council member in conducting city business?

A: Council members serve on committees that direct and oversee the operation of the City departments and various agencies. The Council passes the budget and passes laws to govern the City. In my opinion, the first responsibility of the Council is to ensure the public safety. After that, to ensure the City’s resources and the taxes collected are used wisely to provide for and to improve the quality of life for our citizens.

Q: Are the actions of committees more/less important than the actions of city council as a whole?

A: The Mayor and City Council have the final approval of actions taken by committees. The committees are where most of the work is done. Ideas are born, plans are made, and differences resolved prior to the committee bringing their recommendations before the entire Council. Both are important, but the City Council does have the final vote to approve or disapprove.

Q: Should committee minutes and actions be posted on the city’s website?

A: While I am for an open and transparent City government, I am not in favor of publishing committee minutes. In committee meetings we discuss future plans and strategies. If some of this information were published before plans are finalized, the City’s business could be adversely affected. The committee meetings are open to the public and the meeting schedules are posted on the City web page and any special meetings are advertised. The public may always attend.

Q: Should city department heads be required to give in-person quarterly reports to a full council?

A: No. The department heads meet regularly with Council committees. This arrangement provides greater opportunity for interaction with department heads and allows for more detailed reporting by them. Any recommended action is then brought to the attention of the Mayor and the entire Council.

Candidate:

Jim Marion

Incumbent

Q: In your opinion, what are the critical issues facing Glasgow over the next two years?

A: Fiscal challenges. This probably can be said by “Any Town” USA. We have done and will continue to do the things necessary for the city to grow and prosper.

Q: If elected, what are the measures you will propose in order to address these issues?

A: As chairman of the finance committee we will scrutinize all necessary expenses and attempt to prioritize for the importance to the city.

Q: If elected, would you be more in favor of budget cuts or tax increases in order to balance the budget?

A: Certainly budget cuts make more sense in difficult times.

Q: If cuts are needed to balance the budget, are there specific departments in which you feel cuts could be made?

A: Not necessarily. I don’t like to look at departments to determine their “least” importance, but more so, the most vitality to the city.

Q: What do you believe is the public’s role in city government and city council?

A: The public has the duty to elect persons they feel are the most qualified and responsible to lead and carry on the business of the city. Also to serve in difference capacities if called on by the city.

Q: Do you think there should be an increase or decrease in the public’s role in government?

A: I think the present role by the public is adequate.

Q: Would you be in favor of reducing the number of council members? If so, would you favor a seven or nine-member council?

A: Possibly – but I am not totally convinced that it is advantageous to the city. If reduced, seven members would suffice.

Q: Would you be in favor of splitting the city into districts from which each city council member would be elected?

A: I am not in favor of districting. That leads to unfair representation in many cases.

Q: What is the role of a city council member in conducting city business?

A: The roles vary depending on committees served on, but all should be aware of all aspects of the city’s business.

Q: Are the actions of committees more/less important than the actions of city council as a whole?

A: They should be equal. If one does his or her job on a committee it should then progress to the body as a whole.

Q: Should committee minutes and actions be posted on the city’s website?

A: Committee minutes are now available to those interested. There would be no harm in placing them on the website as long as it doesn’t qualify as closed session material.

Q: Should city department heads be required to give in-person quarterly reports to a full council?

A: At this point, they are giving annual reports which seem adequate unless things arise that need to be reported to the council sooner.

Candidate:

James Neal

Incumbent

Q: In your opinion, what are the critical issues facing Glasgow over the next two years?

A: Getting more industry to come to Glasgow is one of the most important issues facing Glasgow and Barren County over the next several years. Instead of industry leaving, we need to focus on solutions on how we can keep the current industries here and how to attract new industries to this area. New industries will create more good paying jobs for area workers and the result will have a trickle down effect for the community.

Q: If elected, what are the measures you will propose in order to address these issues?

A: Continue the current path we have been on this year with the IDEA Board and to address any areas of improvement that is identified by this group.

Q: If elected, would you be more in favor of budget cuts or tax increases in order to balance the budget?

A: No one wants to make cuts to any programs if at all possible. However, if cuts need to be made, each individual program in question needs to be looked at carefully and make sure that as few people as possible are affected by the cuts.

Q: If cuts are needed to balance the budget, are there specific departments in which you feel cuts could be made?

A: We have to be willing to freeze spending or cut spending, but at the same time realize what our high priorities are. For example, fire safety and high water quality. Our first concern is for the safety and well being of these we serve. It’s not about any one group or one program, it’s about every single person who call Glasgow home.

Q: What do you believe is the public’s role in city government and city council?

A: The council monitors the operation and performance of city agencies, makes land use decisions and has sole responsibility for approving the city’s budget. The public makes recommendations to council members and monitors improvements in the proposed areas. Without public input, the integrity of the city government and the city council would be compromised. The council members are held accountable by the public.

Q: Do you think there should be an increase or decrease in the public’s role in government?

A: I feel that the public’s role should be increased through better two-way communication to insure involvement by the public.

Q: Would you be in favor of reducing the number of council members? If so, would you favor a seven or nine-member council?

A: No I am not in favor of reducing the number of council members due to the fact that it would give council members more power in city government.

Q: Would you be in favor of splitting the city into districts from which each city council member would be elected?

A: No, I think the way it is currently being done gives everyone equal playing fields for election.

Q: What is the role of a city council member in conducting city business?

A: To represent the public and to consider the well-being and interests of the city. Develop and evaluate the policies and programs of the city, to maintain the financial integrity of the city.

Q: Are the actions of committees more/less important than the actions of city council as a whole?

A: In making decisions, the council considers the recommendations of the committee’s and vote on those as a whole. The city council expects to receive recommendations from committees that reflects the individual and collective knowledge and thinking of the committee, particularly from a citizen perspective.

Q: Should committee minutes and actions be posted on the city’s website?

A: I feel that the current process of communicating council actions is effective for public interest.

Q: Should city department heads be required to give in-person quarterly reports to a full council?

A: Yes, I think it’s a good idea that department heads give updates quarterly to full council. That way the council and public will know what’s going on with each department.

Candidate:

Freddie Norris

Incumbent

Q: In your opinion, what are the critical issues facing Glasgow over the next two years?

A: The critical issues of our area reflect to a large degree what is going on in the United States, a need for growth in the job arena. Specifically, more opportunity for the people to find work to support their families. Managing the city budget is a close partner with the critical issue you ask about.

Q: If elected, what are the measures you will propose in order to address these issues?

A: We will cooperate with the mayor and other individuals who are vigorously working on finding companies to locate here and continue to help those businesses that seek to expand and add jobs.

Q: If elected, would you be more in favor of budget cuts or tax increases in order to balance the budget?

A: Yes

Q: If cuts are needed to balance the budget, are there specific departments in which you feel cuts could be made?

A: I would be open to suggestions from the mayor and the Finance Committee about cutting the budget. I could vote for budget cuts and have in the past supported the Mayor in those decisions.

Q: What do you believe is the public’s role in city government and city council?

A: The public is welcome to attend council meetings and to participate in the meetings.

Q: Do you think there should be an increase or decrease in the public’s role in government?

A: If the question is about size of the council, I have voted in the past to reduce the number. I believe the citizens have an obligation to participate in the role of government. Vote. Volunteer. Run for office. Increasing the participation gives more voice for the people.

Q: Would you be in favor of reducing the number of council members? If so, would you favor a seven or nine-member council?

A: See previous answer.

Q: Would you be in favor of splitting the city into districts from which each city council member would be elected?

A: I would like some input from the public on this issue. Right now, I believe I would favor districting.

Q: What is the role of a city council member in conducting city business?

A: The role of the city council is setting legislative policy of government. Not in supervisory capacity over the city employees.

Q: Are the actions of committees more/less important than the actions of city council as a whole?

A: A lot of issues are handled at the committee level. Final decisions are made by the full council.

Q: Should committee minutes and actions be posted on the city’s website?

A: If time and personnel allow that might be possible. Council minutes are available to the public. Anyone can stop by the city building.

Q: Should city department heads be required to give in-person quarterly reports to a full council?

A: City department heads are giving frequent reports to the full council and to the public.

Candidate:

Karalee Oldenkamp

Non-Incumbent

Q: In your opinion, what are the critical issues facing Glasgow over the next two years?

A: The most critical issue presently facing Glasgow is the availability of jobs. Without an increase in jobs, Glasgow cannot support a growing community.

Q: If elected, what are the measures you will propose in order to address these issues?

A: In order to increase jobs, I would propose continued support for the IDEA Board and that city council work with the Chamber of Commerce to promote and support small business. I would also propose we partner with KCTCS and WKU Glasgow campus to ensure a viable workforce. Once all of these avenues are being utilized, we can push forward with strong positive public relations and marketing to attract new industry. Through a combination of efforts, we can work together synergistically to promote healthy, balanced growth of Glasgow.

Q: If elected, would you be more in favor of budget cuts or tax increases in order to balance the budget?

A: I strongly feel that with persistence in attempting to recruit new industry and stimulate jobs and business in Glasgow, the city will be able to increase revenue.  This increase in revenue will lessen the need for cuts or taxes, making it a very important area to focus our efforts.  If cuts or taxes are still required to balance the budget, I would look to first make cuts.  At this economic time, it would not be in the best interest of the people of Glasgow to increase taxes. Many are already making cuts in their own budget to make ends meet. Further reducing their take home pay would only make matters worse. I am sure that the City of Glasgow could make reasonable cuts across the budget as a more amiable solution.

Q: If cuts are needed to balance the budget, are there specific departments in which you feel cuts could be made?

A: Having not previously served on City Council, I have not yet reviewed each city department in detail. There are likely cost saving measures which could be taken throughout the city. I look forward to being a new set of eyes on the budget.  I have significant experience with preparing budgets and feel very comfortable reviewing them in detail.

Q: What do you believe is the public’s role in city government and city council?

A: I feel it is the public’s role to stay aware of how the city is growing, progressing and being run.  It is then their responsibility to voice their concerns in a respectful, responsible manner and to make suggestions for remedy. If elected I will be available to the citizens of Glasgow to listen to concerns, ideas and possible solutions.

Q: Do you think there should be an increase or decrease in the public’s role in government?

A: I would like to see an increase in the public’s role in government. Only a small percentage of the community serves in a government position, but the decisions which are made effect us all. Although we currently hold public hearings regarding specific issues, I would like to see annual town hall meetings where the public is encouraged to come and voice their concerns and ideas for Glasgow. We have many progressive, visionary thinkers within our city who could lend ideas and suggestions to those of us in the position to make things happen. An increase in the public’s role would allow for heightened awareness and intuition of the city’s leaders.

Q: Would you be in favor of reducing the number of council members? If so, would you favor a seven or nine-member council?

A: I would be in favor of reducing the number of city council members.  In comparison with cities our size, our council is typically larger. It would be prudent when balancing the budget necessitates further cuts, to reduce the number of council members. It would be wise to first reduce the number to nine. In addition to council meetings, council members serve on numerous boards and committees throughout the city. Compacting this large responsibility down to a significantly fewer number of council members all at once could be detrimental to the functioning and productivity of many of those boards.

Q: Would you be in favor of splitting the city into districts from which each city council member would be elected?

A: I would not be in favor of splitting our city into districts from which each council member would be elected. I feel we have a small enough city that each citizen is impacted to some extent by all changes within the city. Each council member is concerned with every decision made, and since they are elected by the entire city, the happiness of all citizens of Glasgow plays a role in the decision-making process. Also, I feel it may be limiting to require council members to come from certain districts. During any given election, there may not be an interested or qualified person from one of the set districts. By forcing the seat to be filled by someone in that district, another enthusiastic, willing person may be prevented from serving on the council. This would only weaken our city government.

Q: What is the role of a city council member in conducting city business?

A: Ultimately, the role of a city council member is to diligently review information presented to us and act on it in the best interest of the public. More specifically, it is a city council member’s role to be an ear to the public, serve on committees, be active, involved and make thoroughly contemplated decisions for the betterment and future prosperity of Glasgow.

Q: Are the actions of committees more/less important than the actions of city council as a whole?

A: There is a wonderful check and balance system between the committees and the whole council. While committees work on hashing out the details and make the majority of the decisions, the whole council must vote to pass anything the committees propose. This is a wonderful system since each council member could not possibly serve on every committee. That would make for a burdensome time commitment and be ineffective time management. Instead, council members can serve on the handful of committees in which they have a working knowledge or interest. They make the most of their talents for the benefit of the city. Then, as each committee makes proposals, every council member has the ability to review the proposal, ask questions and make suggestions for clarification. The two go hand in hand to create a win-win process.

Q: Should committee minutes and actions be posted on the city’s website?

A: I do think it would be a great idea to have committee minutes and actions posted on the city’s website. I am in favor of transparency and feel that we, as citizens of Glasgow, have a right to know the business of the city and how it is being conducted. Having this information posted will create more knowledgeable citizens who can then be more active with feedback. This will sharpen the entire government system of Glasgow.

Q: Should city department heads be required to give in-person quarterly reports to a full council?

A: I think having department heads give in-person quarterly reports would be an ideal situation. This would allow the entire council to stay abreast with the changes, new programs and current functions of each department, making budgeting more tangible. These reports should be staggered and not all presented at the same meeting of the quarter. If the department head could not be present, the report should be presented by someone from the department who would be able to answer any questions rising from the report.

Candidate:

Sheila Oliver

Non-Incumbent

Q: In your opinion, what are the critical issues facing Glasgow over the next two years?

A: When someone needs a job and can’t find one, I feel that’s a critical issue. The government keeps telling us that the unemployment rate is down but I don’t think it’s as low as they say. While out campaigning in the community I’ve heard from far too many qualified citizens that they are without a job. Their unemployment benefits ran out a long time ago and they’re not counted on any “unemployment” list. Glasgow needs more jobs. Also, if city revenues don’t start increasing, the budget will soon be a critical issue.

Q: If elected, what are the measures you will propose in order to address these issues?

A: For growth of jobs, we should continue in the direction we’ve been moving.  I do feel, however, that we need to start funding the Economic Loan Fund again. When the withholding tax rate was increased from 1% to 1.5%, a few years ago, that one-half percent was designated for an economic loan fund.  Once the loan fund got to a million dollars those extra tax dollars were then diverted to other city funds. We continue to use the economic loan fund; however, at present we’re not putting new money back into it. In the past, loans were re-paid and interest earned.  Now, the process of acquiring most new business is a forgivable loan once job number requirements are met. If we don’t start funding it again in future budgets, the loan fund will eventually run out of money. It is so important that we always be ready to offer loan money and/or land to stay in the playing field when new business comes to Kentucky looking for new locations.  Sometimes, we also need that fund to re-invest in existing businesses for the jobs already here. That fund is our economic growth tool.  My second measure for jobs would be to find how the city can help more in working with W.K.U. in their re-training programs. This is a major asset that new businesses look for and Glasgow can offer the right people for those job requirements, if they are properly trained. For future budgets, I would propose council not pass a budget that’s revenues do not afford the expenditures.  The city needs to focus on funding the budget without additional taxing of our citizens while at the same time maintaining a healthy carryover.  The city departments have faced cuts for the past four years but until the economy is back on track, they need to continue looking for more ways to save as a whole.  Also, city revenue continues to drop in their investments income. I would like to see if there are permitted avenues allowed for cities where more interest on city money could be earned.

Q: If elected, would you be more in favor of budget cuts or tax increases in order to balance the budget?

A: I think you always look at trimming the budget before increasing taxes. I’m sure there are more items in the budget that can be cut and leave us with no lay-offs and allow the departments to continue operating.  All departments have enjoyed the gravy years of the past, but now in these challenging times it comes down to the bottom line when they have to ask themselves, is it really needed or do they just want it?  With any new jobs the withholding tax revenue will increase, which is the city’s largest general fund revenue. This increase combined with budget cuts should allow the city some breathing room without adding any new taxes.

Q: If cuts are needed to balance the budget, are there specific departments in which you feel cuts could be made?

A: No, I don’t think any specific department expenditure would solve a major budget issue. Departments have already been trimming their budgets, however, they’re going to have to dig a little deeper and learn to save even more.  Until this economy gets back on track, we’re going to have to focus only on what is needed.  With our existing businesses that have stayed through the hard times, the new business and jobs that IDEA has been bringing to Glasgow, and future ones they’re working on right now, we can only hope the coming year will be brighter for everyone.

Q: What do you believe is the public’s role in city government and city council?

A: I think the public’s role is to watch, listen and be aware of what’s going on around them.  If the public sees a problem, they need to bring it to the attention of their elected officials. That’s why the community elected them.  If their elected officials are passing an ordinance they don’t agree with, they should let them know their thoughts or even appear before Council and voice their opinion as it happens.  Too many citizens wait until a law is in place before speaking out. The public should take responsibility for life going on around them and always voice their concerns as it happens.

Q: Do you think there should be an increase or decrease in the public’s role in government?

A: The public’s role in government is to first elect their representative. Voter numbers continue to decline with each election so the public should increase their role by first going to vote. If those they have elected aren’t doing their job, they should speak up and elect someone new at the next election opportunity. If the public has an opinion on a certain law, they should express that to their council representative or appear at the meetings and speak before the entire council. The city always needs citizens to serve on their boards and committees and there is also a need for volunteers for those departments or facilities that by law can use them.

Q: Would you be in favor of reducing the number of council members? If so, would you favor a seven or nine-member council?

A: Yes, seven.

Q: Would you be in favor of splitting the city into districts from which each city council member would be elected?

A: No. The city was divided into wards years ago and it didn’t offer the representation that the citizens now have with city-at-large.

Q: What is the role of a city council member in conducting city business?

A: A council member is responsible for adopting ordinances that govern the operations and finances of the city. The council passes ordinances that protect the welfare and safety of the community. Council members should understand the importance of all ordinances brought to them. Before passing these ordinances into law, they must know that the right decision has been made as it affects the everyday lives of all its citizens and shapes our city for years to come. Council members should each year pass a responsible budget which reflects revenues that meet the needed expenditures, while leaving a healthy carryover for the future.  A council member is the voice of those by whom they were elected.

Q: Are the actions of committees more/less important than the actions of city council as a whole?

A: Committees are divided into smaller numbers and assigned to work with different city departments or on special projects. Committees meet to review, study, investigate and then report to the Mayor and Council as a whole so that good decisions can be made by all.  The City Council passes ordinances that govern the city which is the final step of the process.  Since the City Council ultimately has the final decision, I feel Council as a whole is more important. However, it is important to note that committees serve a paramount purpose in the process. Without them and their hard work, the Council would have no research by which to pass these ordinances.

Q: Should committee minutes and actions be posted on the city’s website?

A: Yes.

Q: Should city department heads be required to give in-person quarterly reports to a full council?

A: I think department heads should be at every council meeting so that if questions arise, they are available to answer them.  I also think that printed monthly financial reports should be given to each council member, not an oral quarterly report. Three months can sometimes make a big difference in a budget.  With a monthly printed report you can watch the dollars as they are being spent and know what each department has left and whether there should be concern. If concern arises or information is needed then ask the Mayor to request a report from the department at that time.

Candidate:

Fred Shirley

Non-Incumbent

Q: In your opinion, what are the critical issues facing Glasgow over the next two years?

A: Jobs for our citizens and incoming revenue. If we work to get new jobs in our area, revenue will follow.

Q: If elected, what are the measures you will propose in order to address these issues?

A: Work with the IDEA Board as well as the Economic Division Cabinet in Frankfort to bring in these new jobs by offering incentives in exchange for these jobs.

Q: If elected, would you be more in favor of budget cuts or tax increases in order to balance the budget?

A: I feel that I need to get acquainted with the pros and cons of the budget before I can make this kind of decision. Then the council will need to make a united decision on which way to go that would be best for the city.

Q: If cuts are needed to balance the budget, are there specific departments in which you feel cuts could be made?

A: All departments should be closely examined before any cuts are made but I do feel that all department pertaining to public safety should be the last to suffer cuts.

Q: What do you believe is the public’s role in city government and city council?

A: To make the council and city government aware of the needs of the city so that the council and city government can have the opportunity to take care of these issues.

Q: Do you think there should be an increase or decrease in the public’s role in government?

A: Increase because the more the citizens of Glasgow make the council aware of issues, the better opportunity these issues will have to be taken care of.

Q: Would you be in favor of reducing the number of council members? If so, would you favor a seven or nine-member council?

A: Since I have never served as a member of the city council, I feel that I need some experience in this area before I would be qualified to say if we could do an efficient job with less members.

Q: Would you be in favor of splitting the city into districts from which each city council member would be elected?

A: Yes, because then each member could specialize in certain areas and could give their district undivided attention which would result in more action taken to solve any issues presented to the council.

Q: What is the role of a city council member in conducting city business?

A: To serve on a committee or committees that have been appointed to me for the benefit of the city and its citizens. Also, to pass or reject legislative ordinance that come before the council.

Q: Are the actions of committees more/less important than the actions of city council as a whole?

A: I feel that each are equally important. As a council member, you are made aware of any issues that need attention. As a committee member, you are given the opportunity to specialize in solving these issues.

Q: Should committee minutes and actions be posted on the city’s website?

A: I do not think this is necessary since people are notified in advance of the meetings and have an opportunity to attend in person.

Q: Should city department heads be required to give in-person quarterly reports to a full council?

A: I think not because the department heads report to their own superior if need be the superior may report to the city council if they feel this is necessary.

Candidate:

Joe Trigg

Non incumbent

Q. In your opinion, what are the critical issues facing Glasgow over the next two years?

A. I think the main two issues Glasgow will be facing over the coming years is the potential lack of funding for the city's aging infrastructure and our ability to provide local jobs for our residents. With less money coming from federal and state level and the stagnant housing market generating less tax revenue our city is expected to do more with less. Our residents want and need job opportunities within Glasgow.

Q. If elected, what are the measures you will propose in order to address these issues?

A. Firstly, I would assess the current funding to see where the money the city operates on comes from. Secondly, I would research additional funding opportunities, such as grants and partnerships; specifically those that address sewer, water, parks and roads. We also need to place more emphasis on the concept “Buy Local”. Encouraging our residents to support our local businesses not only increases revenue that would stay within the city, but would potentially provide more local jobs for Glasgow residents.

Q. If elected would you be more in favor of budget cuts or tax increases in order to balance the budget?

A. I don't think there should be any tax increases without a detailed and transparent review of the current departmental budgets. We need to ensure each department be responsible stewards of taxpayers money, emphasizing that accountability comes with responsibility. I would challenge those in charge to produce a responsible budget which they can stay within while providing the necessary services to meet the needs of our residents. In addition everyone should continue to look at ways to become more efficient.

Q. If cuts are needed to balance the budget are these specific departments in which you feel cuts could be made?

A. Only after a detailed review of current spending should any decision of this nature, be made. I am sure that all of our departments need more money, not less, to continue to provide the necessary public services required to keep the city moving forward. That being said, sacrifices may be necessary if the money is just not available.

Q. What do you believe it the public's role in city government and city council?

A. Our government is a democracy based on the concept of rule of the people by the people. Elected officials are there to represent those that voted them into office, therefore the public's role is one of great importance. The City Council needs to encourage local residents to become active stake-holders in the governing process.

Q. Do you think there should be an increase or decrease in the public's role in government?

A. I believe there should be an increase in the public's role in government. One possible way to do this is by offering quarterly town hall meetings and giving our residents a chance to put forth ideas and concepts to improve the city. This would be a win-win for all involved. Glasgow, like most towns in America, can benefit from local government being more open, transparent and willing to listen to residents needs.

Q. Would you be in favor or reducing the number of council members? If so, would you favor a seven or nine member council?

A. I think the current number of council members is appropriate, however it needs to better represent the city's demographics. Over the past twenty years three things have happened. One, the population of Glasgow has increased; two, the city limits have expanded and population dispersed; and three, the infrastructure has aged. These factors require more attention in order to continue to keep the city moving forward in a positive manner.

Q. Would you be in favor of splitting the city into district from which each city council member would be elected?

A. Yes. I think by splitting the city into districts better represents the needs of the residents within each district. It would allow each council member to become more accessible to the residents he or she represents.

Q. What is the role of a city council member in conducting city business?

A. I think the primary role of the city council should be to ensure that the citizens of Glasgow's needs are met at a local level. Council members should be fiscally responsible stewards of taxpayer's money. They should be able to work not only together, but also with the mayor's office in order to ensure the city is functioning properly and has the potential for growth.

Q. Are the actions of committees more/less important than the actions of city council as a whole?

A. I think local committees complement the city council with the end goal of meeting the needs of the city. Committee actions can provide the city council with invaluable supplemental information necessary for council members to make educated decisions that impact our community.

Q. Should committee minutes and actions be posted on the city's website?

A. Yes, I believe by making minutes and actions readily available to the public creates transparency and allows for a more informed community and better decision making process.

Q. Should city department heads be required to give in-person quarterly reports to a full council?

A. Yes, for three main reasons: One; quarterly reports keep everyone informed and hopefully on track, minor issues can be identified before they become major ones. Two; all departments represent the city and its citizens, if there is an issue either good or bad, the department head should be the one standing in front of the council either addressing the concern or taking the praise. Three; it provides a two-way open line of communication. If help is needed within a department it can be requested and also gives council members an opportunity to learn more about each department.

 

Candidate:

Marlon Witcher

Incumbent

Q: In your opinion, what are the critical issues facing Glasgow over the next two years?

A: The economy is the biggest issue facing all cities. When the economy gets better there is more tax money to do more and do better things. Also, there is a major drug problem. That has to be addressed.

Q: If elected, what are the measures you will propose in order to address these issues?

A: We already have an IDEA director who is working hard to find industry for our city.

Q: If elected, would you be more in favor of budget cuts or tax increases in order to balance the budget?

A: Budget cuts to the bare bone. No tax increases only as a last resort.

Q: If cuts are needed to balance the budget, are there specific departments in which you feel cuts could be made?

A: All departments would be looked at.

Q: What do you believe is the public’s role in city government and city council?

A: The city council represents the public. I work for the taxpayers.

Q: Do you think there should be an increase or decrease in the public’s role in government?

A: As a city council member, I’m always open for suggestions.

Q: Would you be in favor of reducing the number of council members? If so, would you favor a seven or nine-member council?

A: No – 7 members is too few, four members could control the council and mayor, nine members could do the same except 5 would control 12 seems to be a good representation.

Q: Would you be in favor of splitting the city into districts from which each city council member would be elected?

A: Districts or wards would give the city an overall representation.

Q: What is the role of a city council member in conducting city business?

A: All council members are on committees. Committees 1 or 2 times per month. Meeting with or talking to citizens about problems they might have.

Q: Are the actions of committees more/less important than the actions of city council as a whole?

A: They are very important. I guess you could say the committees do the leg work.

Q: Should committee minutes and actions be posted on the city’s website?

A: Committee meeting are subject to open record law.

Q: Should city department heads be required to give in-person quarterly reports to a full council?

A: Department heads give reports now when it is necessary.

Candidate:

Patrick Klapheke

Non-Incumbent

Q: In your opinion, what are the critical issues facing Glasgow over the next two years?

A: One of the critical issues facing Glasgow and it’s city council is creating an environment that encourages the growth and development of the community in order to retain and recruit businesses and opportunities to keep our best and brightest in Glasgow. When I moved back to Glasgow 2 years ago, I knew I wanted to get involved in making my hometown a better place. That opportunity presented itself quickly when I was approached by several people in the community about running for city council. I hope to build on the success of past councils in making Glasgow a community that grows and develops and continues to thrive.

Q: If elected, what are the measures you will propose in order to address these issues?

A: I would propose that the council work with the Chamber, Fiscal Court and state-elected officials to create incentives which will draw businesses and industries to the area.  Furthermore, maintaining the already-great programs such as the parks, the library, and arts community so that we retain the businesses that we have while enhancing our image to those who may want to relocate here.

Q: If elected, would you be more in favor of budget cuts or tax increases in order to balance the city’s budget?

A: Certainly in these trying economic times no one favors increasing taxes. Conversely, programs cannot continue to grow without increases in revenue. Eliminating waste, streamlining effective programs, and tightening belts will all be needed as our economy, and therefore tax revenues, begin and continue to rebound.

Q: If cuts are needed to balance the budget, are there specific departments in which you feel cuts could be made?

A: While it’s difficult to pinpoint programs that would be cut, programs that could not be cut are those which provide the basic foundation for the life that we enjoy in Glasgow. Police, fire, and sanitation must all be allowed to grow if we are going to continue to grow as a community. Certainly as the economy starts to improve, things should start to become easier, but without a doubt, tight budgets are a big problem for municipalities everywhere.

Q: What do you believe is the public’s role in city government and city council?

A: We are elected to represent the citizens of Glasgow. Open communication and access to the Council is imperative for the electorate to have their views expressed.

Q: Do you think there should be an increase or decrease in the public’s role in government?

A: Anytime the public does not take an active role in it’s government, the community as a whole suffers.

Q: Would you be in favor of reducing the number of council members? If so, would you favor a seven or nine-member council? 

A: I think the Council is where it needs to be right now. But it is certainly something I would take into consideration if elected.

Q: Would you be in favor of splitting the city into districts from which each city council member would be elected?

A: I would advocate that if the decision were made to split the city into districts, there would need to be a couple of at-large members to try to prevent competition and division about already limited resources. I think one unified council elected from members at large have served the city well for many years and should continue to do so.

Q: What is the role of a city council member in conducting city business?

A: The council’s members are representatives of the people who elected them, the city of Glasgow. It is their job to get out and listen to their electorate, and represent them when setting policy for the city. While not expected to be a puppet of the mayor, or vice versa, they should be expected to create a positive working environment and one of cooperation to promote the common good of the citizens of Glasgow.

Q: Are the actions of committees more/less important than the actions of city council as a whole?

A: I don’t see committees as being more OR less important than the actions of the council as a whole. The committees report to the council, but the council acts on committees recommendations. In that sense, neither can be viewed as more or less important than the other as they are both dependent on each other.

Q: Should committee minutes and actions be posted on the city website?

A: There are no absolutes in life, except that there are no absolutes. in other words, it would be foolish to say that all committee meetings and actions be public postings. There are, in every level of government, activities and actions that may need to be held in closer confidence than the internet offers as releasing the information may lead to a disadvantage in reaching a greater goal.

Q: Should city department heads be required to give in-person quarterly reports to a full council?

A: I feel it is reasonable to expect a department head to be held accountable for the actions of their employees. Whether this is quarterly, semi-annually, or annually is something I would need to study more to say definitively.