Why are you running for Town Council?
I am running for Mayor of Oro Valley for several reasons.
Most importantly, Oro Valley is my home. I have a sincere interest in being directly involved building on its present successes and helping to develop an even better future.
I have been described as a proactive leader who not only listens to others, but does his own research to support a non-political, objective management style. I personally consider myself a leader who understands the power of a Vision – with clearly defined objectives, realistic goals and accountability.
Since becoming a resident, I have been very involved in the Community of Rancho Vistoso on the Board Directors of the Rancho Vistoso Homeowners Association (RVHOA Master Planned Community) since its inception over 7 years ago. For the past 6 years, I have been the President of the RVHOA. Rancho Vistoso is a large part of Oro Valley, including 4800+ homes in 34 neighborhoods – 14 of which are gated sub HOAs, business plazas at each end of Rancho Vistoso Blvd, Vistoso Business Park, Oro Valley Hospital, Ventana Medical, Sanofi and many other businesses large and small all along Innovation Parkway and Commerce Loop.
I want to use my knowledge from this community involvement plus my extensive experience in large (global) business leadership skills to build on Oro Valley’s strengths and help guide the Town to the highest level of excellence - while preserving the history, culture and uniqueness that defines Oro Valley.
My wife Patricia Brink-Straney and I built our retirement home and moved to Oro Valley in November of 2004. We both agree it is the best life-change decision we have ever made. We love this extraordinary Community and want to ensure it is on a sustainable and economically sound path of excellence for residents and businesses alike.
What can you provide that other candidates can’t?
I provide extensive and proven “large-organization” business skills, experiences and effective leadership capabilities. In addition, the community management and community governance skills acquired as a result of serving as president of Rancho Vistoso Community Association for the last 6+ years provides a very strong skill set to draw upon as Mayor of Oro Valley. In my business career I have had direct responsibility for functional areas such as HR, Finance, Planning, Engineering, Security, Purchasing, Acquisitions, etc., which are also included in the daily operations of the Town of Oro Valley. I expect that the lessons learned in my business career will in many cases have direct application in improvement efforts at TOV.
On a scale of 1 to 10, how well is the current council managing the Town of Oro Valley? Explain your answer.
I would give the current Council a 5-6. This is a composite rating reflecting the council’s effect across all the major functional areas of the town. My feeling is that this rating is unlikely to change until the dysfunction on the current council is replaced with civility, integrity and teamwork, and a shared community vision is put into place. The council must remember that its job is to represent all the citizens, not just special interest groups and organizations. This approach will assure the best possible decisions are made for the Town of Oro Valley.
Do you agree with how the current town council has managed the budget? Please Explain.
I do not completely agree. However, I do not have enough in-depth details on the current budget development process to comment with more specificity. But I certainly do have definite concerns about the basis of budgeting assumptions. I would propose a more inclusive and proactive budgeting process versus the apparent reactive style of budgeting. By proactive, I mean that budgeting is not a once a year event but a process that is ongoing throughout the fiscal year. Providing the same or higher level of municipal services at equal or hopefully lower cost will add to sustainability and should be an expectation of all town staff as a routine part of their daily activity. The business side of town activities should operate a lot like a well run competitive commercial enterprise.
What is your stance on future commercial and residential growth in Oro Valley? Is the Town headed in the right direction? Does more time need to be spent on the strategic plan?
I support growth, both residential and commercial, that is consistent with General Plan Land Use and Codes and recognizes the interconnection with Economic Development. The current General Plan update is very timely and much needed.
I recognize and appreciate that we have a talented town staff. Their expertise in various subject matters is a crucial component that must be incorporated into Town decisions.
When it comes to business support, do you believe Oro Valley is business unfriendly or business friendly? Explain your answer.
Mixed – I feel the town attempts to be business friendly. However, inconsistent interpretations of codes and land use confuse the issue.
The Economic Expansion Zone approach is focused on process and permitting speed to aid development. But, if this approach is not carefully managed, it has the potential to restrict or minimize community input to the process.
The police department budget continues to be a controversial topic for the current council. What do you think about the amount budgeted each year on public safety? Do you feel there should be more discussion on public safety funding?
We have a well-run, effective and efficient Police Department that provides excellent service to the Town of Oro Valley.
That said, determining the police budget funding level should follow the same rigorous process followed with determining the budget funding level of any other major functional area. The problem is that this important issue has been made a headline issue. All functional areas must be objectively reviewed and stand on their own merits and connection to the shared vision and priorities for Oro Valley.
Do you support an audit of the police department’s operations and budget? Why or why not?
I do not support spending TOV money on any functional area audit until I personally have gained a working knowledge of the department operation and conducted my own objective research of the non headline facts and data associated with reasons offered for an audit.
On a regional level, do you believe the town should continue to fund and be involved in programs such as TREO, Visit Tucson and the Greater Oro Valley Chamber of Commerce?
Any current or future funding commitments must be made more transparent. I feel funding for such programs must be based on value and benefits to TOV supported by data - not headlines. Citizens have the right to know and need to understand where OV money goes and how it is used. A community grows and remains strong with the support of its citizens.
It should be noted, when I made the decision to run for the Office of Mayor, I consciously determined I would NOT accept or seek endorsements from groups or organizations. I feel it is important to remain objective and “unencumbered” by political favors.
The current council is often divided on major issues – How do you feel about the current dynamics of the town council? What would you change?
I believe that Oro Valley Community Excellence extends to a community expectation of the Council being professional and effective in conducting the Town of Oro Valley’s business. Energetic debate is good. Debate for the sake of making political points is a waste of everyone’s time and does not serve the community well.
I would commit to working toward consensus on a shared vision that would help keep the council focused on the business of TOV and away from non-value added distractions.
How well do you think the current council listens to the public, and bases decisions on citizen input?
I find that the current atmosphere is not as welcoming or inclusive as I desire and could lead to less optimized decisions. Strong leadership is required to encourage others to contribute their time, talents and skills. Goals are best accomplished by fostering collaboration – not descent.