Oro Valley Mayoral candidates differ on leadership style - Tucson Local Media: News

Oro Valley Mayoral candidates differ on leadership style

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Posted: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 4:00 am | Updated: 10:51 am, Tue Aug 19, 2014.

If there’s one thing that Satish Hiremath and Patrick Straney agree on, it’s that the position as Oro Valley’s top government official is one worth having. 

That’s not to say they don’t agree on other issues – they’ve publicly identified that leadership skills are of utmost importance in being elected as mayor, that parks and recreation are important for Oro Valley’s changing demographic, that the town’s culture and history needs continued attention and development, and that the town’s roads, public safety, and natural beauty are some of the elements that make Oro Valley a great place to live. 

That said, political figures are elected not because of their similarities, but because of their differences.

After two public forums and multiple interviews, here are a few highlights where incumbent Satish Hiremath and candidate Patrick Straney say they differ from one another.

Experience 

Hiremath says, “I have business experience at a more comprehensive level as the long-time owner of a business in this town.”

“More importantly, I have the experience in the office of mayor in successfully leading the town through one of the most difficult economic times in our history, working in full cooperation with the town council and town staff. We went from an inherited large deficit to a reasonable surplus while providing the services that the residents of our town deserve and expect. My opponent would have to try to learn on the job. The position of mayor is a part-time job, held by an elected resident of the town. I played a key role in selecting Greg Caton to be our town manager and we have forged a strong and successful professional relationship. My opponent has indicated that he would ‘be there every day.’ I am engaged on a daily basis at times and always available, but interfacing with town employees every day is not good governance. It is meddling.”

Straney says, “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 six-plus 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 human resources, 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 the town of Oro Valley.”

Oro Valley Police Department case study

Hiremath has continually stood against paying for an outside consultant to conduct a case study that would examine whether or not the Oro Valley Police Department’s $12 million budget provides a fair return to taxpayers. Hiremath says the return on investment is obvious – the town has become nationally recognized as one of the safest towns in America. Furthermore, Hiremath argues, the police budget goes through an exhaustive examination each year during study sessions and public hearings, in which public input can be heard and considered. Hiremath further notes that the town’s budget, and therefore police budget, is audited each year.

Straney, who has also been complimentary of the police department, has not said with certainty that he would support an audit, but has said he isn’t necessarily opposed to one either. Straney says the timing of any audit would come only after he “gained a working knowledge of the department operation and conducted (his) own objective research of the non-headline facts and data associated with reasons offered for an audit.”

 The Oro Valley council is too divided

Hiremath denies the common claim that the council is too divided, saying there are rarely split votes.

“The great majority of our decisions are approved unanimously. Of course we will have disagreements on some issues, and that discussion is to be encouraged as it often leads to a better decision in the end. It ensures that we have explored all the aspects of our decisions.”

Straney says a divide exists and that the town “needs to have more civility and less division, and an atmosphere that is friendly to all points of view.”

“I bring quite an extensive business management resume with me, and I think I have the ability to connect values and vision,” said Straney. In a question and answer publication, Straney said, “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.” 

Town budget

Hiremath says the council has made the appropriate decisions to grow revenues while decreasing expenses as needed to successfully navigate the economic challenges that came with the 2008 recession. Hiremath said a number of tough decisions have resulted in a healthy budget. 

“Without revenues from a property tax, the town has limited ability to control its revenues,” said Hiremath. “We made a difficult decision to increase the utility tax rate as it was one of the only sources over which the town has control. With that increase and very close oversight of expenses, we were able to turn a potential deficit into a surplus.”

Straney says he does not completely agree with the council’s budgeting process, but acknowledges it is an area he desires to learn more about before expressing specifics. He said he has concerns that the budgeting process is reactive rather than proactive.

“By proactive, I mean that budgeting is not a once a year event but a process that is ongoing throughout the fiscal year,” said Straney. “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.”

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Welcome to the discussion.

4 comments:

  • Takea posted at 3:55 pm on Mon, Aug 18, 2014.

    Takea Posts: 8

    Mr. Straney talks of having the ability to bring people together and being able to sit down at the table and have meaningful conversation. As president of the Rancho Vistoso HOA, he won’t communicate with subjects of his kingdom directly. He is not accessible; he only communicates through the association manager or sends another board member to do his bidding. Ask some of the prior board members (especially the one who lost the last BOD election and another who abruptly resigned after that election) about the real Pat Straney. Some of the very people who support him now were very much in favor of term limits, they felt Pat had been in control way too long. A recent letter to the editor extoling Mr. Straney was authored by a former director who didn’t have kind words for Mr. Straney and accused Mr. Straney of being partially responsible for his health problems and felt Mr. Straney was unreasonable and difficult to work with. So much for Pat’s civility mantra!

     
  • Jerry posted at 11:10 am on Thu, Aug 14, 2014.

    Jerry Posts: 2

    A true leader does his homework. Sadly, I did not see Straney do his prior to the candidate forums. There were several questions at multiple forums that Straney was unable to answer. He said because he is not mayor yet, he doesn't know the answers. But I am sure the information was readily available at the town. Any one of us could have gone to the town, talked to the appropriate staffers, and educated ourselves. This requires motivation and initiative and in my opinion, Straney showed neither.

    phenmert should see that the pattern that is clear has nothing to do with the four incumbents running for office. The pattern that exists is one of inappropriate behavior, mistreatment of town staffers, run-ins with the law, disrespect for the OVPD, etc. Those are the concerns and issues that exist with the "minority 3,” that both Straney and Bristow have aligned themselves with. It's a dangerous relationship that is definitely not in the best interests of the town.

    phenmert is right...the decision is easy. I say it's time for intelligence...vote for what's best for Oro Valley...that's a no brainer! Vote to reelect Satish Hiremath, Joe Hornat, Mary Snider, and Lou Waters.

     
  • phemmert posted at 7:13 pm on Wed, Aug 13, 2014.

    phemmert Posts: 8

    It seems to me that a true statesman would be a person who not only listens to all points of view, but also strives to arrive at final decisions that are a product of compromise. It's not a surprise to see the candidate signs around town that advocate for the "four." Why? Because they do not find consensus, and particularly with issues that carry significant importance, these four simply run roughshod on the minority "three." This is not statesmanship. This is imposing a majority will, nearly every time, on the minority. The pattern is clear, and does not serve our community well.

    It's no secret that Mayor Hiremath has maintained a political war chest, amply funded by special interests that rely on his "leadership." Think about this when you cast you vote for Council and Mayor. Does Mayor Hiremath have your interests, as Oro Valley citizens? Or is he beholden to those who fund his re-election? Would you rather see someone who clearly has the leadership experience, and who would strive for less divisiveness and more statesmanship? Would you rather see thoughtful consideration of all aspects of an issue (police department management study, for example) or simply slamming the door on the question? (Wondering if the PD association contributes to Mayor Hiremath's campaign coffer - of course it has.)

    Yes, the decision is easy - vote for Straney and Bristow!

    Time for intelligent change - where Oro Valley residents are represented, not special interests.

     
  • Don posted at 7:25 am on Wed, Aug 13, 2014.

    Don Posts: 36

    The decision on who to vote for in the Mayoral race is relatively simple.

    We have an incumbent who has shown that he has a clear vision on where he sees Oro Valley's future. He has demonstrated that he is willing to tackle tough issues head on. The Town has prospered under his leadership.

    We have a challenger who decided at the last minute what office he was going to seek. We have a challenger who has not served on any Town Board of Commission, which while not mandatory, is sure an experience plus. Engineers have tendency to get 'into the weeds' when making decisions which is not in the best interest of elected officials. Zinkin and Garner are examples of that. He is an unknown quantity. Whether he likes it or not Straney has been endorsed and embraced by a group that is very anti-growth and anti-business. Therefore he WILL lean in that direction. That to me is a major negative.

    I for one just can't take that kind of chance at this point in the future of Oro Valley.

    Vote HIREMATH, HORNAT, SNIDER AND WATERS!!!


     

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