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Morning Sun
  • Candidate Questionnaires: Pittsburg City Commission

  • Candidates were asked to limit their responses to 125 words. Candidates were given one week to respond. Responses are run in the order in which they were received. Ralph McGeorge did not turn in a questionnaire.

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  • Candidates were asked to limit their responses to 125 words. Candidates were given one week to respond. Responses are run in the order in which they were received. Ralph McGeorge did not turn in a questionnaire.
    Cheryl Mayo
    Why are you running for office?
    I want to give back to the community that has given to me.  I want to be of service to the citizens and communicate both with and for them regarding city business.  I believe the city is moving forward and would like to be a part of the work that goes into continuing that forward momentum.
    What actions do you propose to take to improve the city's jobs and economic development outlook?
    Continuing what the city has city has already begun regarding Operation Clean Sweep and improving the Infrastructure will go a long way toward improving the jobs outlook.  Employers and employees have to want to come to Pittsburg.  Partnerships with various entities is also extremely important to get this work done.
    What is the biggest challenge facing the city and what would you do about it?
     Getting people back to work and improving the minimum wage are great challenges but are interrelated to other areas such as Infrastructure, Transportation, Education, Entertainment venues, etc.  I don't believe any of us can name a single biggest challenge; they must be taken together.  This must be addressed from an adaptive challenge perspective and that takes time, effort, communication and investment of all shareholders.  We must be willing to work together and find consensus and then communicate that to the citizens.
    What is the biggest area of growth facing the city, and how would you capitalize upon it?
    The City's agreement with PSU's event facility is a wonderful opportunity for growth.  The event facility has the potential of attracting venues we have not been able to attract in the past and this in turn will increase our revenue and basic interest in the city.  I see us working closely with the Convention and Visitor's Bureau staff in marketing Pittsburg to others and also with Hotel and Restaurant Personnel to increase their profitability.
    What sets you apart from your competition? In essence, why should voters choose you?
    I have experience working with teams.  I have had training through Leadership Crawford County, the Citizens Police Academy and Kansas Leadership Center and have been able to hone my skills through service on a number of boards and through various volunteer work.  I am able to LISTEN to all sides and can assist groups in coming to consensus and eventually making decisions.  Communicating truthful, factual information and listening to the other side are my strong suites.
    Page 2 of 8 - Chuck Munsell
    Why are you running for office?
    I am a life-long resident of Pittsburg. As a child I grew up in a family that hauled trash for a living. The values that I have today were instilled in me at an early age. Work hard, treat everyone with respect and you will earn their respect. I want everyone to have the same opportunities that I have had in life. I had a good job, worked hard and raised a family in a town that I am proud of. I worked for the citizens of Pittsburg for 25 years as a firefighter, if elected as a city commissioner I will continue to work for all citizens.
    What actions do you propose to take to improve the city's jobs and economic development outlook?
    One of my top priorities will be trying to get good paying jobs for the people of Pittsburg. I know what it is like to be out of work trying to raise a family. I worked for McNally’s for a number of years before they closed. We will have to stay aggressive and work together as a team in our pursuit to attract new companies to our city. Having talked to several small business owners in Pittsburg, I feel we can do a better job by listening to and working with them to remain stable or possibly helping to expand their business with our help. All the businesses that we have now are vital to economic development and need to be supported when we can.
    What is the biggest challenge facing the city and what would you do about it?
    The biggest challenge we face is funding. Thanks to the citizens of Pittsburg we have great facilities, police and fire stations, swimming pool, library, water and waste water treatment plant and street improvements. But we need more police officers, we need to replace 100-year-old water mains and equipment as it ages. At the state level, there are numerous bills proposed to cut spending to balance the state’s budget. Here are two examples: 1) a 4 percent cut across the board to higher education 2) divert $370 million over two years from highway projects. We need to prepare for less money coming for the state of Kanas. We need to spend where it is needed and tighten our belts when we can.
    What is the biggest area of growth facing the city, and how would you capitalize upon it?
    Right now the biggest areas of growth happening in Pittsburg are the Via Christ expansion, PSU projects, CDL moving into McNally’s and the Atkinson expansion. We need to work with other local businesses that are looking to expand. All these projects create construction jobs, and once completed jobs will be added to these companies. We need to market what we do in Pittsburg for our local companies, hospital and our university. Hopefully this would attract other job producing companies to Pittsburg.
    Page 3 of 8 - What sets you apart from your competition? In essence, why should voters choose you?
    I can relate to what a lot of people in our community are dealing with today. I grew up poor, worked hard, and had been unemployed with a family to support. I believe everyone should be treated equally no matter income level or social status. I believe everyone’s voice should be heard, as your commissioner I will listen to everyone. If I am elected, I will stay informed on issues that I would have to make a decision on. Those decisions will always be in my opinion what is best for Pittsburg, as well as what is best for the community. Being a city commissioner takes a full-time commitment that I am willing to make, and if elected, I will be honored to serve.
    Monica Murnan
    Why are you running for office?
    My choice to run for office was based on several things. The first is my belief that Pittsburg is moving in a positive direction and I want to support the broad base of efforts that are happening by private citizens, groups and businesses. I enjoy working toward meaningful goals to address complex issues. The City is not only responsible for the business of providing vital services, it has a key stake in the future opportunities of the people of the community. These are things that require study and planning. Finally, this community has been very kind and generous to my family and me, I feel a real responsibility to give back and to do my part.
    What actions do you propose to take to improve the city's jobs and economic development outlook?
    I believe strongly that no one commission can work alone to achieve any particular goal. The City Commission is made up of five people who must work together. The Commission must work with a broad base of groups to improve economic development. The City recently approved a specific plan for economic development strategies. I agree with those strategies. There will be no quick fix or easy answers. We must look at this issue in a comprehensive way that includes city infrastructure, housing, educational opportunities, and quality of life. I have had the opportunity to create jobs and have completed the difficult task of maintaining jobs, it’s not fun and it’s not easy. Economic growth requires daily attention and focus from the entire community.
    What is the biggest challenge facing the city and what would you do about it?
    There are several key issues facing the City including economic development, increasing the median income and infrastructure. But for the next fiscal year, I am quite concerned about the impact of budget shortfalls and gridlock at the state and federal levels will have on Pittsburg as a municipality. The Kansas Legislature is looking at a $700-$800 million budget shortfall. The City of Pittsburg could be negatively impacted as soon as July 1, 2013.
    Page 4 of 8 - As a Commission, I would feel a great responsibility to ensure the City’s revenue sources were as diversified as possible, that we were leveraging our own tax dollars with outside dollars and that we were as lean and efficient as possible in order to weather a significant shift in funding.
    What is the biggest area of growth facing the city, and how would you capitalize upon it?
    Many people in Pittsburg have been working for years to make our city a regional health care hub and I believe the time has is right to continue to build upon that work. The recent investment made by Via Christi is an excellent example of building upon a solid system in order to adapt to changing health care needs. Community Health Center of SEK has experienced great success in securing outside dollars to support the uninsured and underinsured in our area. Private providers, mental health providers and support services are an important part of the mix and are key to any future growth. The health statistics in our area support the need for future investments and growth.
    What sets you apart from your competition? In essence, why should voters choose you?
    I think my experiences and my informal and formal education give me a broad base that sets me apart from other candidates. I’m not a campaigner, but I am willing to serve the community with focus and integrity. It is easy to make big, broad statements during a campaign, but the real work of City Commission is not easy. It requires active listening and extensive reading and research. Also, the job requires the ability to ask intelligent questions at the right time, to compromise and most importantly the ability to make difficult  decisions when it may not be popular. I believe I have shown those qualities through my work at The Center and through my other contributions to the community over the last twenty years.
    Bill Wilper
    Why are you running for office?
    I feel that the current city commission represents the needs of only a segment of the city’s population. The members all share similar ideas and do not seem to understand the needs of the part of the population that does not match their experience. I have had extensive experience in sales and management dealing with people of all social and economic levels and am sympathetic to their needs while also remembering what needs to be accomplished for the good of the group.
     
    What actions do you propose to take to improve the city's jobs and economic development outlook?
    I propose to rethink the city’s action putting the Chamber in charge of economic development. Let’s revisit this contract which was hurried through with little time to consider possible conflicts.
    Page 5 of 8 -  
    What is the biggest challenge facing the city and what would you do about it?
    The biggest challenge facing the City at this time is the uncertainty about funding. Federal and state monies may simply not be there in the future and the City has committed millions in spending on projects that have already been approved. The City should not undertake any non-critical projects and should review all city offices and expenditures to identify opportunities to cut further spending should it become necessary.
     
    What is the biggest area of growth facing the city, and how would you capitalize upon it?
    The biggest area of possible growth is the people of the City themselves. The City needs jobs and the skills and ideas needed to create those jobs are already here. New business start-ups that succeed are likely to grow where they are born. The City should encourage their entrepreneurs by cutting the red tape involved in a start-up. The University should be tapped for assistance in technical and business knowledge and advice and, if funds are available, the City could look into sites for possible incubator facilities to be leased short term to fledgling businesses.
     
    What sets you apart from your competition? In essence, why should voters choose you?
    If elected, I would serve only one term. I don’t want to be Mayor. I don’t want my name on any brass plaques and I don’t have any pet projects to ram through. I would do my best to be reasonable and work with all other commissioners for the good of the people.
    Leatha Bolinger
    Why are you running for office?
    The city of Pittsburg City Commission needs a variety of perspectives. My experiences as a woman, grandmother, in finance, as an educator, rental owner, retail, and current small business owner represent a number of perspectives that would assist me in making thoughtful decisions.
    What actions do you propose to take to improve the city's jobs and economic development outlook?
    Our greatest areas of growth are stemming from established businesses and the hospital. Making Pittsburg a place to live and work would keep those employees adding to city revenues. In addition, the Chamber of Commerce has a limited contract to plan economic development. As they have a vested interest in attracting businesses, I am interested in seeing the details of their strategic planning.
    What is the biggest challenge facing the city and what would you do about it?
    Our greatest challenge will be the solvency of our city with the possibility of less monies coming from both the federal and state governments. Fiscal responsibility will be necessary to maintain the city's responsibilities of safety and commerce for our citizens.
    Page 6 of 8 - What is the biggest area of growth facing the city, and how would you capitalize upon it?
    As one of five who would approve policies, codes, or monies that directly impact the environment for growth, listening to those most affected or most in need would be my priority.
    What sets you apart from your competition? In essence, why should voters choose you?
    There are only three women running. The women in Pittsburg should have a voice on the commission. Having been a Director of Special Services, I have worked well with administrators, educators, specialists, parents, and students keeping the focus on the root of the problem and concentrating on viable solutions. As the only woman owning a small business, I understand personal and fiscal responsibility first-hand. Most people who know me personally know that I am creative and find original solutions to problems.
    Michael Gray
    Why are you running for office?
    I am running for office again this year because I want to continue to serve our citizens.  Over the past two years we have been able to get a lot done in the are of economic development and infrastructure improvements.  The businesses we have partnered with over the last two years are creating between 200 and 300 new jobs!  That is great for our community!  We have also put several programs in place to improve our deteriorating infrastructure, which had been neglected for many, many years.  I am running for office so we can continue that momentum.  I'm proud of our City, and I want to see it continue to grow.
    What actions do you propose to take to improve the city's jobs and economic development outlook?
    We need to continue to develop partnerships.  This could mean assisting businesses by contributing financially to their expansion or working on infrastructure improvements around our City, or it could mean continuing to partner with our higher education institutions in the development of workforce training programs and product development. We need to continue to listen to our businesses and ask them what they need from their community.  After all, it is our businesses who create jobs, not government.   
    What is the biggest challenge facing the city and what would you do about it?
    Apart from getting jobs, which is obviously the biggest challenge in today's economy, I believe our next biggest challenge is our deterioriating infrastructure.  Many don't talk about this because it's not necessarily a sexy subject.  But, we have water lines, sewer lines and streets that are crumbling.  We need to continue to develop projects that will replace/repair deteriorating infrastructure so our City can sustain itself for years to come.  Without this focus, our City will have no hope of attracting new business and citizens.
    Page 7 of 8 - What is the biggest area of growth facing the city, and how would you capitalize upon it?
    Healthcare is one of the areas not talked about very much.  Our hospital is growing rapidly, and we have an opportunity to continue to assist them and our local doctors to make Pittsburg a healthcare hub of this region.  If we can find ways to assist them, we should, as this would translate into an inflow of patients to our City - patients who would spend money while here for medical treatment.  We should market Pittsburg as a location where individuals' healthcare needs can be met.
    What sets you apart from your competition? In essence, why should voters choose you?
    I speak my mind and I'm willing to stand on principle when it makes sense.  However, I believe our community needs leaders who will create partnerships, not eliminate them.  We can't afford to be like Topeka or Washington, D.C. in that regards.  We don't need naysayers - we need individuals who are willing to get things done for our community.  Over the last two years I've had a track record of developing partnerships with our local businesses and institutions, and getting things done.  I have no personal agenda.  I am not, and have no desire to be, a career politician.  I simply want to serve our community and do what is best for our community as a whole.
    Dave Holloman
    Why are you running for office?
    Pittsburg has been a community big enough to serve our needs but small enough to care about its people. Our City Commission indicated a lack of concern for its people when it adopted new property codes threatening our quality of life. These codes allow a city inspector to fine people for things like chipped paint, and broken sidewalks. Many people in Pittsburg already live in poverty and the new property codes will hurt them the most. City Hall should be more focused on creating jobs than punishing people with intrusive codes, worrying about trash service, and planning new walking trails. My priority will be working to stop these codes and focus on bringing WORKING CLASS JOBS back to Pittsburg.
    What actions do you propose to take to improve the city's jobs and economic development outlook?
    First we must put a stop to City Hall’s constant interference with private industries and create an atmosphere that acknowledges and embraces the needs of small business. The City of Pittsburg should never interfere, nor attempt to compete with any private industry like they have with the local trash haulers.  Second we need to work harder to market the resources of Pittsburg State University, The Kansas Technology Center, and the Tyler Research Center to companies that would benefit from their resources. Last we need to create a center for entrepreneurship that would assist students and others in our community in starting new companies that would grow and thrive in Pittsburg.
    Page 8 of 8 - What is the biggest challenge facing the city and what would you do about it?
    The biggest challenge facing the city today is a lack of focus on creating a more business friendly climate and getting our citizens back to work. In the early 1900’s, Pittsburg was known as the buzzing manufacturing hub of Kansas. Now, Pittsburg is part of the poorest county with the highest unemployment rate in Kansas. While our neighbors in Missouri and Oklahoma are intensely focused on economic development, our commission has been playing with trash, walking trails and harmful property codes. The people of Pittsburg deserve more. Bringing jobs to Pittsburg will fix most of the issues the Commission currently wastes time on and that will be my primary focus.
    What is the biggest area of growth facing the city, and how would you capitalize upon it?
    Healthcare is growing in Pittsburg, but I believe it will grow with or without intervention from the city. Pittsburg will receive a greater return on its investment by transforming into the research and technology hub of Kansas. Turning Pittsburg into “Tech-City Kansas” will attract 21st Century manufacturing companies to our area.  The Kansas Technology Center and Tyler Research Center should be marketed to industries needing research and technology partnerships. Adding to this will be the new career dchool being developed by the County Workforce Education Alliance. This will educate high school students and retrain unemployed and underemployed adults in new career areas. These education institutions will support existing business and draw new business by supplying SEK with highly skilled workers in high-demand technical occupations.
    What sets you apart from your competition? In essence, why should voters choose you?
    I will work to maintain the quality of life we have come to expect and deserve. While my opponents continue to defend the need for city-wide trash, walking trails and intrusive property codes, I have brought to life real issues and real solutions to protect and grow Pittsburg. I was the sole citizen that opposed the new property codes, which will financially punish people already struggling to make ends meet. Once elected, I will work to remove this unimaginable threat to the citizens of Pittsburg. I will fight to allow the citizens of Pittsburg to function as individuals with their property rights intact, prevent City Hall from interfering with private business, and take a vested interest in bringing WORKING CLASS JOBS back to Pittsburg.
     

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