Four candidates seek to fill Brian Crandall's seat on city commission

SANDUSKY One of four candidates will soon become a city commissioner. On Monday eveni
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

SANDUSKY

One of four candidates will soon become a city commissioner.

On Monday evening the six Sandusky City Commissioners interviewed the top four candidates selected from 11 who sought to replace former commissioner Brian Crandall, who resigned at the end of May.

Pervis Brown, John Jacobs, Bob Warner and the Rev. Paul Watson Sr. were the candidates selected for a second interview.

The commission will choose a new commissioner at its June 9 meeting.

During Monday's interview, the commission asked thecandidates 11 questions. These are their responses:

1. Please describe your view of the role of a city commissioner and tell us about your committeeinterests.

Brown -- It is the commission's duty to establish policy and direction in the best interest of all citizens.

Jacobs -- "The commissioner's role is to have a bird's-eye view of what's going on in the city."

Warner -- "The role of a city commissioner is to be a leader in the community and take an active approach in making the city better."

Watson -- "To be a role model, to be a leader, to be a planner."

2. The city commission is a legislative body and not an administrative body. Can you please explain what that means to you?

Brown -- The commission creates policy that the city manager will then execute.

Jacobs -- "The day-to-day operation of the city is up to the administration."

Warner -- "I believe a legislative body should order in and pass resolutions and ordinances that make our city safer and stronger while listening to the citizens it serves."

Watson -- Watson said the commission enacts laws and helps with development and the establishment of policy, not day-to-day operations.

3. Can you assure us you will work for the betterment of all residents and not just your, or a certain commissioner's goals? Is it appropriate for commissioners to have special causes to which they contribute greater amounts of their own time and effort?

Brown -- "The role of the city commission is to serve all ... The only way we can do that is to have a voice here for everyone."

Jacobs -- "I am only here to be an effective servant."

Warner -- "I would work for the betterment of all residents ... We as a commission need to put our personal agendas aside and think about what is good for everyone."

Watson -- "You're responsible for everyone in the city of Sandusky."

4. Does the city do enough to assist with business and manufacturing retention and expansion? What suggestions would you make?

Brown -- "Certainly more can be done." Brown suggested the city look into Gov. Strickland's economic stimulus plan to see what is applicable to the city's needs.

Jacobs -- Economic diversification is important to expand the community and eliminate the risk of being dependent on one industry.

Warner -- By the time the city learns a business is moving or closing it is often too late to do anything about it, Warner said. He suggested more personal contacts with businesses and regular meetings or check-ups.

Watson -- "Whatever we're doing, we can always improve."

5. What are your thoughts on development in general and the Marina District and Paper District in particular?

Brown -- "I think the Marina District was voted on by the people. The people have spoken, and we should fulfill those wishes."

Jacobs -- The Paper District seems stagnant. The Marina District may be a bit behind schedule now, but Jacobs is confident it will get back on track.

Warner -- "... I like development, but the city needs to make sure the developer and the city come out on top. We need to make the developer accountable when they renege or just plain can't do the job."

Watson -- Watson said the Paper District needs to be completed as the development agreement prescribed. "We've got to keep a tight handle on things and make sure people are accountable and do what they say they're gonna do."

6. What are your thoughts on the various projects the city has going on currently? Do you feel we need to narrow our scope and finish something, or continue to add new projects to the pipeline?

Brown -- Focus is important, but some opportunities are too good to pass up.

Jacobs -- "I believe we should more or less slow down, but not stop progress."

Warner -- "The city's got a lot on its plate at this time... I feel that we need to slow down a little bit and finish some things we have started."

Watson -- "We have to be careful that we don't overextend ourselves and overspend ourselves."

7. Do you think Sandusky should focus more on neighborhood development? If so, specifically what should be done?

Brown -- "The impact on future generations needs to be considered."

Jacobs -- Streets need to be repaired, and the city should encourage citizens to improve their individual properties.

Warner -- "I don't think that the average citizen or homeowner knows all that the city has to offer in the way of neighborhood development." Warner suggested something simple, like neighborhood block parties to introduce citizens to their police officers and economic development team.

Watson -- Watson said the city neighborhoods are a visitor's first impression of Sandusky and they need to be well kept.

8. What do you think about sustainability?

Brown -- "What we do today will affect tomorrow ... We've got to make decisions that will bring (our youth) back to Sandusky."

Jacobs -- "If that is going to improve, enhance or progress our vision, so to speak, then it would be good."

Warner -- "Sustainability is very important along with long-term development and jobs."

Watson -- "We must be environmentally friendly."

9. The city's general fund is roughly one-third police, one-third fire and EMS, and one-third all else... Costs are increasing, and revenues are declining. What specifically do you think the city should do to balance its budget in 2009?

Brown -- "A short-term solution to balance a budget is to reduce spending without compromising central services ... As we curtail and cut our expenditures at home, the same sort of thing we have to do in the city."

Jacobs -- One solution would be to hire more part-time employees to cut back on overtime costs. That savings should then be put toward economic development.

Warner -- "The residents and business owners are going to need to partner up so that not just one part of the community has to feel the pinch."

Watson -- Watson said that department heads should each find ways to cut costs in their department.

10. Regionalization can be a very controversial subject. Please explain your feelings on this topic and how you would work around "ego" and control issues. Please tell us one or two areas in which you feel we could regionalize or partner with others.

Brown -- "Regionalization. That is something that is going to happen."

Jacobs -- Cost-effectiveness, leadership and differences in culture should all be considered in regionalization efforts.

Warner -- "Some regionalization can help all of our neighboring communities, but they will need to be shown how this can occur. We were on the right track with our dispatch regionalization but then I think some egos got in the way."

Watson -- "Ego should be the first thing out the window." Watson said necessity has demanded regionalization.

11. If chosen to serve on the commission, would you run for re-election when your term expires in 18 months?

Brown -- "Will I run again? Sure." He pointed out he ran for the commission previously.

Jacobs -- "I'm committed to the city. I'm committed to the people. I would want to run for office again."

Warner -- "I would run for the next term."

Watson -- Watson said he hopes to serve the citizens well enough that they would want him to run again.