Port Orange City Council Q&A
Published: Monday, August 18, 2014 at 10:04 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, August 18, 2014 at 10:04 a.m.
The candidates: The District 1 race features incumbent Bob Ford, a former Port Orange police chief who was elected in 2010; Sonya Laney, a CPA who serves on several city boards; and Jim Meadows, a businessman who served on the council from 1996 to 2000. The District 4 seat is up for grabs after Dennis Kennedy said he was taking a break from politics. The field includes four political newcomers: John Junco, owner of a construction company; Larry McKinney, the former president of the Daytona Regional Chamber of Commerce who now runs his own business consulting firm; retired Port Orange police Lt. Scott Stiltner; and Newton White, a Publix employee and citizen activist.
The races: All council seats are elected citywide and are nonpartisan. If no candidate receives a majority of votes, the two leaders will face off in the Nov. 4 general election. Council members serve four-year terms and are paid $13,600 annually.
Following the resignations of six department heads, including the city manager, what is needed to attract and keep quality leadership?
Ford: Recent resignations appear related directly (or indirectly) to recent failures in city fiscal controls. Hiring the right leadership will be the key to future success. Recruiting efforts should focus on finding a city manager and finance director with a proven track record demonstrating financial accountability.
Laney: Effective leadership is a top-down thing. Effective leaders not only set policy, they set tone. Effective leaders have high expectations matched by equally high levels of support for management. The City Council should perform as a board of directors and not interfere with management of the city.
Meadows: You need to have a good committee with diverse backgrounds to hire a good city manager. That gets you the leader who can then pull together a management team because they really have their finger on the pulse of the city. Department heads don’t need to be afraid to ask for money for projects that benefit the citizens.
Junco: The majority of these people left because of the disharmony between them and activists within our city. We need to maintain quality trained people within a positive working environment between our department heads and City Council. We need proper and continued training as well as trying to hire from within if they are qualified.
McKinney: Professionals, just like businesses, need stability and consistency in government in order to make the best decisions. Bad decisions have been compounded by secrecy, scapegoating and personal agendas of appointed and elected officials alike. In addition, the City of Port Orange has outgrown its systems and technical procedures and so we need the kind of employees with expertise to take us where we want to be, not where we are now.
Stiltner: The city must focus on hiring experienced leaders for vacant department head positions. We need leaders that will embrace a renewed focus on efficiency and accountability within their departments. All department heads within the city must have a commitment to providing a quality level of service for our residents while being conservative and responsible with the taxpayer dollars they are entrusted with.
White: I trust our dedicated and skilled staff is well capable of stepping up during our interim period. Moving forward, the city needs a dynamic manager that can build a team and make the changes to transition our administration and operations to modern efficient standards. The majority of council must stand to give clear direction rather than a discussion that is open to interpretation.
Should Riverwalk developers receive tax incentives to complete the development?
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