The Lima News will share the four Lima mayoral candidates’ answers to a different question each week through the May 4 primary.
Candidates were given up to 200 words to explain their answer, and they had four days to respond. Their answers appear as they submitted them, with minimal editing.
This week’s question: What about your experience makes you the best person to lead a city government with 400-plus employees and a budget of more than $38 million?
My work experience is unique amongst my fellow candidates, having worked a number of leadership positions with a Fortune 500 oil and gas company and business development in private sector companies. I have managed projects that include $7 million wells and been a team member for deepwater exploration wells with budgets over $300 million. Managing and coordinating people was a skill I used daily. When onsite, I executed real-time decisions affecting every worker.
Lima has a general fund budget of $34 million for 2021, adding utilities and special funds, it’s $119 million. We are also set to get $26 million in federal stimulus coming this summer. All totaled, Lima’s next mayor will manage approximately $145 million in spending her first year. I will work with council and other stakeholders to concentrate investment on my campaign’s three primary focus areas: safety, economy and the people.
With my supervisory experience, budgeting background and degree in mathematics, I am the candidate most capable of managing Lima’s budget and human resources while maximizing both to their fullest potential. My experience will also serve me well in our local economy where oil and gas have been so vital since the 1800s.
Hayes did not respond to the question.
My diversity of experience qualifies me to lead this city on day one. I’ve worked in the private sector managing people and administering global contracts; served as a member of the judiciary building relationships with law enforcement issuing warrants and setting bonds; and protected the rights of the accused as a public defender. As chief of staff, I’ve spent the last four years overseeing the budget, managing the workforce, and leading city government.
I’ve also brought fresh eyes, a new perspective, and change to city hall building consensus to get things done; leading a solutions driven community-wide conversation about the future of housing with the creation of the Lima Housing Task Force, collaborating with stakeholders to create an afterschool program for middle-school youth, and moving city operations into the 21st century by leveraging technology to improve service delivery. We’ve made $500K in improvements to our parks, invested $200K in youth programming; 400K in neighborhoods; $4M in community development; and reduced crime. There are $52M in planned investments in our downtown and 1800+ available jobs in the region. Lima needs the kind of dynamic leadership that I bring to harness this momentum and move us forward.
The city of Lima has been under the same management for nearly three decades. The opportunity to consider new ways of management, governance and policing that build on our collective experience is at hand. My belief is that we need more input from residents. The heart of our city is found not in the city hall or town square businesses, but in our neighborhoods. Every non-profit, for-profit and governmental organization draws its employees from where they live. I have a master’s degree in Public Administration, but more importantly, I have a deep understanding of how neighborhoods work, what they need and how we can integrate neighborhood association leaders into the process of creating policy. Establishing an office of neighborhood engagement and instituting community-oriented policing will provide prioritized feedback as we consider infrastructure and public safety expenditures. This two-way communication isn’t top-down dictation, but a more democratic process of project and expenditure decision making. These ideas draw on my experience in empowering neighbors and city employees to improve governance and build consensus. This is an election about ideas that improve inclusion and create a safer, more prosperous Lima. Fifteen years of building relationships with neighbors are among my proudest accomplishments.