Lance Christie is one of two candidates vying for election to an open seat on the Nevada City Council in the Dec. 4 election. The seat was vacated by Sherry Steward, who moved out of the city.
Occupation: General Supervisor at 3M
Why do you want to be elected to the Nevada City Council and what would you like to achieve during a term on the council?
I see great potential in Nevada and I believe it can be realized. We must plan for success in order for it to happen, and as a community, we have. People in the community have worked on long-term planning; the Comprehensive Plan, the Five-year Capital Improvement Plan, and the Healthy Nevada Project with Cerner just to name a few. I don't think I should leave the responsibility to someone else and hope that it happens. I am willing and able, and I want to be part of leading Nevada through this exciting time. I have taken on challenging roles in the past and look forward to this opportunity.
I would like to help Nevada's business environment become more competitive. I believe we need to actively recruit manufacturing as well as other businesses to relocate to Nevada. The growth of Nevada needs to have a strong economic base to be sustainable.
What experience do you have that makes you the best person to elect to the city council?
I have a diverse background. I am a graduate of Nevada High School, Honorably served in the United States Marine Corps, have a bachelor of science with an emphasis in environmental chemistry and a master's with an emphasis in organic chemistry from Missouri State and have an MBA from the Olin School of Business at Washington University in St. Louis. I have worked in drug discovery for Pfizer Pharmaceuticals for more than nine years, and as an engineer and as a general supervisor at 3M in Nevada for the past five years. I also am an adjunct instructor at Crowder College, currently teaching macro and micro economics and have taught business statistics and introduction to business in the past. I also have been involved in community grass roots initiatives.
What motivates me is finding and implementing optimal solutions. I like to question the status quo and constantly look for ways to continuously improve. If we want to grow as a community, we must seek out and embrace change. Progress has never taken place without the implementation of change. I believe my disciplined background, work ethic, personal integrity and approach to problem solving are all excellent qualities for a city council representative.
What do you see as the most important issues facing the city over the next three years and five years and what, if anything, do you think the city council can do to address them?
Nevada is literally at a crossroad (pun intended). With the national economy barely growing, for Nevada to be successful, we need to ensure we are utilizing our current assets in the most productive way. We have been given an opportunity with the Healthy Nevada Project with Cerner to propel Nevada onto the national stage! That being said, for Nevada to grow we need to ensure we have the infrastructure in place to enable businesses along with new residents' easy access.
I believe the city council's role is to develop a vision for the city, with input from the city residents, with an action plan to ensure Nevada fulfills the vision. I believe the council is going down that path.
What can the city council do to improve the transparency of their actions?
I believe the city is fairly transparent in their actions. I think there is a perception of not being transparent. I say this because of my time on the parks board. I do not see very many people attending the board meetings. There are few people involved in the community and this leads to people not understanding why decisions are made.
To improve transparency, Nevadans' need to be more involved in their city government. I have always said "if you don't vote, don't complain," well, the same can be said about involvement. I challenge anyone who believes the city council is not transparent to get involved. You may not agree with the decisions made, but you will find the city council is transparent.
If you could instantly change any one thing about the Nevada city government, what would you change and why? How would that change affect the average resident?
If I could snap my fingers and the city government would be changed, I will instantly implement a Lean Six Sigma culture. Lean practices actively seek any waste and then reduce or eliminate it. This practice leads to optimized processes. Six Sigma is a process improvement set of tools and strategies that allows improvement of process outputs by identifying and removing the cause of errors and minimizing variation in business processes. The reason for this change would be to ensure the city is functioning optimally.
If magically snapping my fingers created a Lean Six Sigma culture within the Nevada city government, the residents of Nevada may see a couple of things change. For example, Nevadans may see a decrease in the time it takes to process a city transaction by reducing the physical/electronic hand-offs between city employees, delays between each step, or a reduction in duplicate decisions being made. Now, this is not guaranteed with Lean Six Sigma, but there are many successes in many different industries. I want Nevada to be one of the success stories.
According the 2010 Census, the population of Vernon County has grown, but at the same time the population of Nevada has decreased. What can or should the city do to encourage people to live inside the city limits?
Looking at the subdivisions outside the city limits, I would expect the driving factor is personal preference. If you look at the lot size and square footage of the homes outside Nevada, the lot sizes are bigger and the homes are larger. There are few homes in Nevada with a big house on a large lot. Most of the homes built in Nevada were built in 1959 or earlier.
In addition, the city must show there is a benefit to living in the city limits. The city can do this by ensuring they utilize the tax revenue in the most efficient manner. For example, according to the city budget of 2012, I pay 55 cents/day for my family's safety, (2012 Budget [100-General Fund Public Safety/Police Department Total Police]/Population/365), about 31 cents/day for fire protection. This is a price I am willing to pay. So show the benefit. Compare the response time of the Nevada fire department compared to rural fire departments, Nevada police response vs. Vernon County Sheriff, travel expense for your commute, trips to the store, etc. All of this adds up over a years' time, meaning living in the city could be economically beneficial, depending on the individual's location in the county. Please do not take my comparison to the county services as disparaging; the county is a much larger area.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I left Nevada in 1988 to join the service, thinking I would prefer living in a larger city. I have lived on the North Carolina coast, in San Diego, St. Louis and Springfield. I have lived in the suburbs, in the country and in Nevada. Each has its advantages and drawbacks. Having been in all of these places, I can honestly say, holistically, Nevada is my wife's and my preferred place to raise our three children. We have programs like a big city, but we don't have some of the issues of a big city.
Let me leave you with this. I am a motivated and energized person. I believe people can achieve more than they believe they can. I can see a vision of Nevada where great things are happening. I want to help Nevada grow and I ask for your vote to help Nevada continue to move forward. Thank you.