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Sumner Newscow forum: The Wellington City Council Candidates (part 1)

first_img2. What is the main reason why you are running for Wellington City Council/mayor? Antonich — I am running for City Council because I care what happens to the people of my hometown. I have the time, energy and common since to do a good job for the taxpayers. Dodds — I want to give back to the community. I want to serve the people of Wellington and represent their views and opinions on the major issues that are currently facing our city and the issues that will arise in the future. I want to help make our city prosperous and an appealing place to do business. I want to make every effort to entice people to take up residence and open businesses in Wellington. Etter — I am running for office to help make a positive impact on our city.  If you have opinions, ideas, and/or thoughts on the way things should be done, then you must be a part of the change. I don’t want to sit on the sidelines or heckle those that are in the seat(s) that make the decisions. Green — I have city government experience, the education, and the ability to attend the many meetings, workshops, conferences and such to successfully perform the duties of city council.While on the council I am fortunate to have witnessed a definitive shift in the dynamics at city hall.  We now have a city manager who believes it’s his job to manage the city AND to take directive from the council, not vice versa.  It’s a positive change and we need to keep strong leadership in office to compliment it.I love my hometown.  I have the determination and skills needed to succeed at making a difference.  A difference that will be seen, not just talked about.  Wellington is so close to taking a big step towards progress.  I see it, I feel it and I’m ready to continue being a part of it.Hatfield — The main reason for my decision for running is to make this an even greater community where people want to live.  And to promote business growth.Moore — I decided to run for office because I feel that there is a need to have more people involved who are interested in making this city grow.  We need more opportunities for business and to have more options for employment.Palmer — I see an opportunity to give back to the community that has provided me a good life. I want to make a difference. I want to be a part of improving economic development in the              community. I am concerned with the present course of continual increases in taxes. I will be a proponent for positive change that is aimed at improving our community.Sears — I feel there is room for improvement in the quality of life for the citizens of Wellington.  That is the primary reason I am running for Welling City Council.Valentine — We need leadership and direction. We need to learn to make positive moves – get rid of the wants and focus on what we need. You learn by setting an example, not by who you are.Woodrow — From what I understand, Wellington is in financial distress. I will work to find new ideas to rectify the situation, and curtail unnecessary spending.Yunker — It’s Wellington’s time to see positive change. Change that works for the community as a whole. I have the experience and business sense to push for the right changes that will help Wellington grow and support the community in a non-partisan way. 3. A recent survey in Sumner Newscow stated citizens are most concerned with economic development. What do you as a city council person think should be done to continue and improve Wellington economically viable in the future?  Antonich — Many people think of economic development as big business moving into town. I see economic development as a good strong downtown revitalization project. I seriously believe that small business is the backbone of a community. It is hard to compete with Corporate America. Helping small business owners get up and running is one of the best ways I see to keep the money in Wellington. We have good hard working people in Wellington who need a City Council to work with them, to bring our downtown back to full speed. Dodds — Wellington has to be competitive when it comes to attracting businesses to our city. I think that, as a city, we should enter into a type of limited partnership with viable businesses. We should provide utilities at a reduced rate and the lower tax rate for a period of time in order for a new business to get off the ground. The toughest time for a new business is the first year of operation. We as a city need to do everything in our power to help that business thrive and succeed. If our businesses are successful, then that makes Wellington successful in the long run.Etter — Economic Development, such a broad topic that is vital to our community and its future.  First we need to make sure that we don’t overlook or forget about our current businesses and industries.  Many have been here for decades and contribute to the current economy of Wellington.  There is a place for business, old and new.If we negate or ultimately lose our current established businesses it will be hard to see that “development” that Wellington so needs.  With that being said, with growth comes competition and with competition everyone wins.  Economic growth is so very important to Wellington, however we also need to be conscious of the quality of jobs we are attracting to our city.I think that we need to continue working on the “beautification” of our great community.  Also adding additional amenities that young people who are looking to, or have already started families find important. Green — The best way to grow our economy is to fully support our existing businesses.  As a city councilwoman AND a local business owner, I believe Wellington has to become more helpful and supportive.  The city’s attitude must be ‘what can we do for you?’  As the next mayor, I will guarantee a better relationship between the city and businesses.Imagine the economic impact if our small businesses were able to add employees, expand their buildings, and/or increase their services or products.  I would love to see a new industry come to Wellington but we can’t sit back and just hope that it happens.Today companies are bombarded with incentive packages, often worth many millions, and Wellington can’t always compete.Take care of what we have first, and THEN focus on what else is out there.  We will never attract new business if we can’t provide quality of life.  Wellington must continue to be a desirable place to live.  We need good housing, schools and solid infrastructure.  We need to continue supporting our great parks and lakes.  The city needs a comprehensive plan.  Not a thousand page, unreadable and unusable plan.  But a plan that makes sense.One based on the wants and needs of the citizens, combined with the abilities of the city.  A plan that would be a true guideline for the continued success of our community.Hatfield — Promoting business and events that stimulate economic growth with the focus on our strong points, i.e. railroad, the Wheat Festival, and our chamber of commerce to help. Moore — I think to make the city more approachable to other businesses we need to be open to offer incentives to a new business and support the businesses that are here.  Downtown in the last four years has had several businesses come in and stay and has increased our downtown traffic now we need to expand on this and find more small businesses that would be interested in coming into town and growing with the town.Palmer — Economic development is essential to the survival of any town. However, Wellington is at a crossroads. The present economic situation requires a leader and group of leaders committed to filling empty store fronts, to being approachable, to be helping rather than hindering progress and expanding opportunities in the community while respecting the traditions of    the Kansas way of life.Sears — I feel it is mandatory that we entice new businesses and manufacturing operations to the Wellington area. Valentine — The economy is really tough from the national level to the state to the county to the local level.We need to stand and support our local businesses, but keep an eye on the future. Hopefully, things in time will get better.Woodrow — From what I’ve been told, it has in the past been difficult to open a new business in Wellington. If we are to become prosperous again, we will have to entice new businesses and make it inviting for them to come here by offering incentives perhaps in the form of temporary tax and utility breaks,  and/or reduced land fees.I know this may seem less than agreeable, but in the long run, I think Wellington will come out ahead. Another possibility would be to ask the people who have built successful businesses in Wellington, perhaps form a committee to explore new ideas.Yunker — Wellington needs more viable businesses so there is job growth. We can support things such as the increase in the SRMC sales tax last year but the city needs more. From 2009 to 2013 it was reported in the U.S. Census that more than 25 percent of Wellington’s industry was across educational services, health care and social assistance.This is great but to grow the city there needs to be more diversity in jobs and business opportunities. One area I would like to explore would be the expansion of the aviation industry here in Wellington. If the businesses already established growth or new companies come to the City of Wellington we would see economic growth. Establishment incentives should be researched to determine if there are benefits for the city in the future. We need to appeal to outside companies for economic growth. Close Forgot password? Please put in your email: Send me my password! Close message Login This blog post All blog posts Subscribe to this blog post’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Subscribe to this blog’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Follow the discussion Comment (1) Logging you in… Close Login to IntenseDebate Or create an account Username or Email: Password: Forgot login? Cancel Login Close WordPress.com Username or Email: Password: Lost your password? Cancel Login Dashboard | Edit profile | Logout Logged in as Admin Options Disable comments for this page Save Settings Sort by: Date Rating Last Activity Loading comments… You are about to flag this comment as being inappropriate. Please explain why you are flagging this comment in the text box below and submit your report. The blog admin will be notified. Thank you for your input. +5 Vote up Vote down resident2014 85p · 280 weeks ago Great job getting the information on candidates out there. Thank you for your hard work and dedication. Sometimes we forget to say thank you for the service you provide. “Thank you.” Report Reply 0 replies · active 280 weeks ago Post a new comment Enter text right here! Comment as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Comments by IntenseDebate Enter text right here! Reply as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Cancel Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments 4. Due to state budgetary shortfalls, municipalities across Kansas will likely see less revenue coming from the state in appropriations. While municipalities won’t be nearly as affected as school districts, what are some of the area’s for which the city of Wellington could cut back?  Antonich — I am against laying off employees. I feel that attrition is a good place to start for cutting back on expenses. When an employee retires or quits, I feel looking into the option of not replacing that position, is a good starting point for saving tax dollars. Keeping a close eye on how and why all the equipment is purchased is also another place to try to cut back. Dodds — This is not a question that can be answered with a clear cut answer. Our state is definitely having financial difficulty. So far, to my understanding, that could affect the KLINK projects. I would have to investigate this issue further and see if there are any other programs in our city that are dependent on money from the state. This would definitely be something that I would investigate when it comes time to set our city budget.Regardless of what may be affected by state money, rest assured that every line item will be scrutinized. As a city, we have to separate the “nice to haves” from the “have to haves” and set our priorities accordingly. I would like to see the city’s budget get to the point where we could seriously consider reducing the taxes.Etter — State Budgetary shortfalls, the hot topic of the current time especially in Kansas.  I am a big believer in focusing on the things that you have direct control over and allowing other things to do as they will.  In business I have found there are an unlimited amount of things that can consume you and do affect you.However there are a very limited amount of things that you have direct control over. It is those things that you must focus on, work on and become great at.Don’t cast the other things aside. Stay conscious of them but don’t waste precious time and energy on issues you cannot change.  Currently, we cannot change and have little control over what the state does. We must focus on what the city can do to make positive changes in its current practices, both day to day and planning for the future.The city must be run like a business because it is a business and the citizens are one of its clients. Green — There are many areas in our operations that I’d like to study in hopes of cutting costs.  To mention a few, I’d like to compare costs and see if our suppliers are the most economical and see if there are areas where we could share equipment to prevent multiple purchases.I’d also like to see Wellington get out of the ‘forced mowing’ business (weed notices) and contract it out, similar to how we already contract our tree trimming.This would save on equipment, fuel and labor costs.  I would also like to push for a labor study to see if we have the correct amount of employees working in each department.  I feel we could be overstaffed in areas and understaffed in others.  While our city employees are one of our greatest assets, they are also the city’s biggest expense.  I feel it’s important to be sure we are using them wisely.I’ve worked on two budget years and each time we have made progress towards cutting back the city’s expenses.  I feel that we can continue to do so. Hatfield — Some of the bonuses should be a factor in some of these cuts. My point is if nothing is changing for the betterment of the community then why is the state paying a bonus for nothing? And definitely could cut back on issues that are not deemed necessary for making this city greater.Moore — As far as cut backs from the city I believe the council, mayor and department officials need to look at what items are important to maintain a city of this size and cut costs where at all possible.  We need to review what is a necessity and what will be the best overall for the city in general.Palmer — This question requires two distinct solutions. First, improving efficiencies at the city level should be the highest priority. Eighty-eight of Wellington residents have Facebook accounts, nearly all access the internet in a given week.Paperless billing, electronic messaging and announcements via text or electronic mail would immediately reduce expenses. As many communities and I have learned from the manufacturing environment, staggered four day work weeks provide immediate cost reductions when it concerns employee expenses. The  second side of this coin is the need to grow existing businesses and be more inviting to new businesses. With increased business comes increased revenue.Sears — To deal with the decrease in monies coming in from the state, maybe the city should tighten it’s belt in much the same way individuals do when money runs short.  Don’t purchase new equipment; use existing budget to put older equipment in safe, working condition.  Maybe we need to look at “needs” versus “wants”.Valentine — Cutting back causes job loss and for every job loss it affects 10 other people and soon down the line. Cutbacks are not a popular phrase as far as Wellington is concerned. Look around. There really isn’t much more you can cut back on.Woodrow — At this point in time, as I understand it, the city should curtail all spending except that which is absolutely necessary, such as our crumbling infrastructure.Yunker — The city budget is complex, as a council member I can assure the community that I will assess the budget and recommend the appropriate cuts, if necessary. First line of business, would be to determine if there is any fraud, waste and abuse and eliminate it. Second course of business would be to make sure the city government is working efficiently, effectively and for the people of Wellington.Follow us on Twitter. Part 1 of two-part seriesby Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — The following is the candidates forum for the Wellington City Council. Due to the number of candidates, we are dividing this forum into two parts. These are the same questions presented to the mayor candidates. Candidates who are running for both mayor and city council will be have duplicate answers for both races.The candidates running for council include: Cindy Antonich, Kevin Dodds, Kip Etter, Kelly Green, Mark Hatfield, Gretchen Moore, Stanton Palmer, John Alan Saunders, Jerry Sears, Jim Valentine, Kim Woodrow, and Fatema Yunker.Three of the 12 candidates will win a city council seat.The forum answers provided below will be presented in alphabetical order of the candidates last name. We did not receive answers from candidate Saunders.The first four questions will be presented today and the second four questions will be presented on Wednesday.1. Tell us about yourself. Provide background information such as where you grew up, where you went to school, where you started your career, and any biographical information you find pertinent to why you are running for the elected position. Cindy AntonichAntonich — I was born Wellington. Outside of living out by the Wellington Lake  from second grade through fifth grade, I have lived in Wellington. I attended Wellington High School. In 1976, I went to Cosmetology School at Cowley County Community College. Started my own business soon after I graduated. I have been a local hairdresser, running my own business for almost 38 years.From 2007-2011 I was a city council member here in Wellington. Working with the public, running a business, and being a council member gives me some insight as to what the taxpayers in Wellington need for their quality of life.I believe it is about the taxpayers and citizens of Wellington that should come first. City Council members work for the people.Kevin DoddsDodds — I was born and raised in Wellington. When I grew up, I left Wellington for a while but returned to my roots to raise my family in the same surroundings. I hold an Associates of Applied Science in Electronics Engineering Technology which I received from Wichita State University. I am currently employed as an Electrical Engineer at Bombardier/Learjet where I have been employed for twenty years.Kip EtterEtter — I’m Kip Etter; born in Wellington, raised in Mayfield and attended school in Wellington, graduating with the class of 1995. I attended Kansas State University, where I started my first business at the age of 22.  In 2004 I moved from Manhattan to Gilbert, Ariz. near Phoenix, to start my insurance and investment office.There, I met my wife Kim in 2005.  In 2011, we moved our family “home” to Wellington so our kids could experience the life that I so cherished growing up with.  I have two children who are attending school in Wellington and a third child enrolled at Kansas State University.I manage our family owned business, The Dore Grill & Bar located in downtown Wellington.  Additionally, my wife and I own rental properties in Wellington and I am also a partner in Arbor Surgeons, a tree trimming service here in Wellington.Kelly GreenGreen — I was born and raised in Wellington.  I graduated from Wellington High and obtained a BA in Business from Wichita State University.  I chose to stay in Wellington and raise my children here.  Fifteen years ago I started my own business investing in real estate.  Today, my business provides property management, home staging and remodeling services.I am a small business owner with flexible work hours, and being an elected official is one way I choose to give back to my community.Mark HatfieldHatfield — I was born in Wellington at the old hospital. I was raised in Belle Plaine and moved to Wichita and then to Oregon, and around the country with my father Terry M. Hatfield. My time growing up was spent learning business from him.My career started with him helping him grow a business from the garage up that he recently sold and retired. I am running for both positions to grow Wellington the same way with hard work and dedication to the people of this great community.Gretchen MooreMoore — My name is Gretchen Moore and I have lived in Wellington for the last 4 ½ years with my fiancé.  I have three children – ages 21, 19 and 15.  I grew up in the Geuda Springs and Oxford area where I graduated from high school.  After high school I went to CCCC and received my AA and then went to Southwestern College where I received my BA in Business Administration.I currently work at Triumph Accessory Services as a Customer Support Representative.  I have been with Triumph for over six years.Stanton PalmerPalmer — I was born the third son of four at St. Luke’s Hospital (Wellington) to Delbert & Janice Palmer in 1970. As a child in Wellington, I attended the Assembly of God Church, Eisenhower and Washington Elementary, Roosevelt Middle School, Wellington Junior High and graduate from Wellington Senior High. After high school, I attended Wichita State University and Wichita Area Technical College.I have a diverse employment background, including manufacturing, design and civil service. Namely, I have held the positions of South Haven Reserve Police Officer, Geuda Springs and Hunnewell Chief of Police and Sedgwick County Reserve Sheriff Deputy.I am a husband (wife, Tina Palmer), father (DJ, Brooke, Courtney, Monty) and grandfather. I  want my children and grandchildren, as well as, all of the families of Wellington to benefit from the traditional upbringing I was afforded throughout my life in Wellington.Jerry SearsSears — My name is Jerry Sears and I have been a resident of Wellington for the past 32 years.  I was born in Kansas City, Missouri and grew up in Leon, Kansas.My first 12 years of school was completed in Leon.  I then worked at various jobs, including construction, newspaper, and route sales until I went to work for Boeing in the mid 60s.During a big layoff at Boeing I applied for and was accepted as a Police Officer on the Las Vegas, Nevada Police Department.  I stayed in Las Vegas from 1968 until 1978 when  I returned to Kansas and went back to work at Boeing.  I retired from Boeing in 2004. I stayed retired until 2008 when I went to work for Sumner County Emergency Communications.  I am still working there.Jim ValentineValentine —  I grew up in Wellington and attended Wellington schools. In 1966, I graduated and have been a business owner for nearly 40 years.Kim WoodrowWoodrow — I am 68 years old, retired from the aerospace industry. I started as a sheet metal mechanic and retired as an industrial engineer. I am married and as a blended family, we have a daughter, two sons, a son in law, a daughter in law and a grandson.I have lived in Wellington for 20 years, moving here as a single parent with my sons for the small town atmosphere. I have served on the Chisholm Trail Museum Board of Directors for four years and previously the City Council for two. I fish, hunt and shoot competitively. I am a Vietnam Veteran serving with the 82nd Airborne Division from 1967 to 1969.I was born in a small town and have always been happiest in the small town atmosphere.  I want to do everything possible to see Wellington become prosperous again.Fatema YunkerYunker — I was born in Oklahoma City, went to high school and college in Kansas. I hold two degrees. An Associates in Criminal Justice and a Bachelors in Business Management. I obtained my Associates from CCCC for which I attended in the 90’s. My husband and I recently settled in Wellington a little over a year ago. My husband is a police officer in town and retired from the Army five years ago.We returned to the area because this is where my husband grew up and where our family lives. Being a military wife, I have held many positions over the course of twenty years. I first started working as a Sales Associate (retail), then to a Receptionist (services), Collections Specialist (services), Residential Lending Associate (banking), Residential/Commercial Construction Specialist (banking), Asset Management (banking, FDIC), and now I am a Repair Program Lead for GE Aviation. Even though I made the choice to follow my husband around the world I did not let it hinder my career goals. I contribute my success to my supportive husband, along with my ability to adapt and work well with diverse groups of people.last_img read more