Your vote counts: City of Nevada Special Election Sept. 8

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Six candidates are vying for two seats on the Nevada City Council, and the field will be narrowed to a total of four candidates in a primary slated for Tuesday, Sept. 8. The Weekend Herald-Tribune asked each candidate identical questions. Following are their responses. Some are edited for length as candidates were asked to limit answers to a total of 300 words; all candidates' responses, when necessary, were edited to come within 75 words of that limit. Candidates going on to the November election will have another opportunity to state their positions.

Amyl Bishop

The experiences that make me the best person to elect to the Nevada City Council include, but are not limited to: My current position on parks and recreation board; Position as a ninth grade English teacher and swim team coach in the Nevada R-5 School District; Senior management human resources position in my previous career; and work experience with the city of Nevada as the Walton Pool manager during my college years have provided me with a variety of life experiences.

I was born and raised in Nevada, and obtained my Bachelor of Science in Education from the University of Arkansas. I pursued a career with Abercrombie and Fitch and worked several years as a senior recruiter for various territories across the United States and Canada. In 2008, I accepted a position at Nevada High School, and currently reside in the community that I love.

My goals, if elected to the city council, are simply to be the voice of my students and to set a good example for the children I impact each day. While serving on the parks and recreation board during the 2008-2009 school year, I encouraged my students to offer their opinions, needs, and wants regarding the new community center. I compiled their thoughts and ideas, and was the spokesperson for those children at the town meeting held late last spring. When my students realized that their ideas were taken into consideration and many of them used in the planning of the new community center, they were ecstatic! The opportunity to run for Nevada City Council offers me the chance to possibly become the voice of my students on an even broader scale.

If elected to the council, I will strive to represent the City of Nevada in the most fair and judicial manner possible, and do my best to keep Nevada, a place that others want to call home.

Rick David

(I was) raised here by my late father and mother Homer (Ed) David and Martha (Jeans) David; a manager for Skills Unlimited, Inc. since 2005.

My wife of 28 years, Diana, has worked for Dr. Gary Kurtz since 2002.

Prior to that both of us worked at the Honeywell Plant for 25 and 24 years, respectively, before the Nevada plant that had employed up to 150 local people moved production to Canada.

I am not going to say I am the best person but I believe concerned citizens like me, no matter their "social status", should work for a better community, and there is no better way that one can do this than by being part of the council.

I graduated from Crowder College and Missouri Southern, and I believe I also have common sense. I will bring a fresh approach and new voice, for all, to the council.

I believe that our fine community has been in a stagnated stage for years now, as there are not many quality jobs for kids graduating or that have graduated from college and what to come back to their home town to work. We need someone working on this daily.

Look back to how our largest manufacturing plant 3M came to be here in Nevada, if it were not for extra efforts of citizens, they may never have decided to build here. We need to get more of our fine young professional people more involved to work with the city to help attract new businesses.

You have to listen to the citizens to understand concerns. Then to see where that fits in with city's long term goals. This has been a "Great" place to raise my family. I would like to see the city grow so other families can have that same chance. and experience a fine small town atmosphere.

(I want to) make sure that the city leaders will keep listening to all of its citizens and going in the right direction, which will hopefully create more jobs that will help maintain a solid tax base, and increase our population so more young people get a chance to stay and raise their families here.

David's comments exceeded the limit and were edited from his original submission of more than 550 words.

Joe Kraft

I am fully qualified for the responsibility council members bear. I am retired, so I have time to devote.

I am very familiar with the City Charter and the form of government. I was co-chairman of the Charter Commission. I have no personal agenda and represent no special interest. My only interest is working for all the citizens and improving the quality of life. I have served as mayor and council member for seven years. Times change; but certain principles of government remain the same, like honesty, common sense, and the willingness to work with others toward the common good.

Our primary goal is to hire a permanent city manager and to show that the city council is serious about promoting Nevada.

My goal is to cooperate with the council and city manager by working systematically to restore Nevada's reputation.

People are frustrated. The perception is that the council is not really interested in their opinions. Perception or reality, it has to change.

I have studied a comparison of the first six months' expenditures and revenues of 2008 and 2009. The general fund balance has declined. A new city manager and the council must make tough financial decisions.

When we voted the 1/2 cent parks sales tax we voted for capital improvements only. We voted for the "goodies" but provided no money to maintain them. We all know the parks department does not produce enough revenue to cover its operating costs, which are subsidized by the general fund..

I am not against the parks department, but the more we build the more we have to maintain. One challenge is maintaining park facilities so they don't deteriorate while funding the police and fire departments.

Another frequent complaint is that the appearance of Nevada is deteriorating. This devalues the property of others who have rights, too, which should not be ignored.The city council has to instruct the city manager to enforce city codes fairly.

Nevada has to grow, and the city council has to be the leader. There is no reason to have meetings with citizens, form committees and talk it to death. We are great for paying outsiders for studies and so forth, and then ignoring them. The city council should lead and get things done.

Kraft's response was edited from his original submission of more than 900 words.

Brian Leonard

A teacher and golf coach at Nevada High School, I have previous experience serving on the city council. If elected this would allow me to "hit the ground running" since I am familiar with the procedures and practices of the city council. In addition, my job as a teacher requires innovative thinking which has given me opportunities to develop, organize, and implement creative strategies in many areas.

I would like to see Nevada progress in regards to economic development. If I am elected to the city council I will represent the citizens of Nevada to the best of my ability.

I am proud to be a life-long resident of Nevada. I want to take an active role in the community I have grown up in. To me, the best way to do that is to be willing to serve and to represent the citizens of Nevada.

Sherry Steward

I worked for 12 years in administration for the city of Nevada.

During my employment, I served as the city's liaison for the planning commission, airport board and infrastructure committee. I was involved in writing city ordinances and assisting the city clerk with council meetings and personnel duties. I also worked for the city engineer where I was responsible for assisting with writing engineering and construction contracts, including assisting with preparation of project costs, inspection of construction contract work, verifying quantities of work completed and reviewing submitted bills and accompanying documentation related to the projects. While serving as the city's project director, I wrote and administered the city's grant projects and other public works projects, reviewed bills submitted for payment and reviewed project payrolls to ensure compliance with state prevailing wage laws. I was also responsible for approving payment for the projects based on proper completion of the work and submission of all required documentation. My duties also included writing procurement requests for equipment, construction projects and professional services and reviewing the proposals received in response to the procurement requests and making recommendations to various city boards and the city council. During my employment in the capacity of project director, I also served on a committee that was comprised of members of Missouri state government and employees of the Federal Highway Administration and was responsible for reviewing the Federal Highway grant program to local communities.

My former employment in city administration makes me uniquely qualified to understand the policies, procedures and unique challenges associated with municipal government.

My goal is to assist the city in economic growth and in attracting business to the City. We have an awesome community but are struggling to provide quality jobs for our residents. I also believe it is important for the City Council to remember the hardworking, talented and dedicated employees that keep the city running efficiently. Every company's greatest resource is its employees. It is a sound business practice for a company to recruit and retain quality employees.

Sonya Tumm

As a mother of three children, who have all graduated from NHS, and are currently in college classes. In balancing a career I believe this certainly benefits me in time management, in which most parents in this type of situation can agree.

The city should operate in the same manner, setting priorities and following through.

First, form a council-citizen group to evaluate and hire a city manager. I feel we have the talent in our community to make this decision without the help of consultants.

Third, reinstate the raises for public safety, and other city employees. We need to offer better recruitment and retention plans, to provide our community a safe and enjoyable place to live.

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