Manchester mayoral candidates Q and A
EDITOR'S NOTE: Candidates in each contested race in Tuesday's city primary election were invited to answer a questionnaire from the Union Leader. Here are the responses from the mayoral candidates:
1. Why do you want to be mayor (or continue to be mayor), and name the city's two biggest challenges and how you would address them.
2. Name a power the mayor doesn't have that you think he should have and one the mayor has that he should give up.
3. Should the city have a tax cap?
Relevant experience: Current Mayor, former State Senator, former Ward 2 alderman and successful business entrepreneur
1) Since becoming mayor we, as a community, have worked tirelessly to build a better Manchester. We have put political differences aside to bring forward new educational opportunities for city students, improve public safety, realize new economic development projects in the Queen City and invest in critical infrastructure updates. I am running for Mayor because I want to continue to work together with the residents, the Board of Aldermen and the Board of School Committee to build on this success. Looking forward I believe our two biggest challenges are 1) to continue to offer and maintain high-quality city services while being ever mindful of the constraints on the taxpayer and 2) successfully resolving the outstanding differences in the remaining contract negotiations.
2) As Mayor you are the presiding officer of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen; you vote only in the event of a tie and have veto power on board action. On the School Board the mayor is chairman of the board and while he/she is the presiding member the mayor votes as a member of the Board of School Committee and has no veto power over board action. I believe that the mayor should be given the ability to serve in the same capacity on the school board as he/she does on the Board of Mayor and Aldermen — to vote only in the event of a tie and be given veto power. Alternatively, I would take away the mayor's power to vote on every board action of the Board of School Committee.
Relevant experience: Proud father and husband; two-term Manchester alderman; chair, BMA Committee on Jobs & Economic Development; member, BMA Committee on Finance
1) Manchester is a city of boundless potential. We have the resources to have safe streets and to have the best schools in the state of New Hampshire. I am running for mayor to restore our commitment to our children by providing quality education opportunities, to renew our focus on job growth, and to reform the way that City Hall serves and protects the taxpayers of our city. Our education plan includes creation of a business leader advisory council to recommend curriculum changes to make students more competitive, and working with the school board to rise well above minimum state standards. Our public safety plan includes hiring more police officers to "walk a beat" in our neighborhoods, creation of a special investigations unit to address home and business burglaries, and holding regular neighborhood meetings in our community on public safety concerns. Visit www.arnoldformayor.com for complete details.
2) Dysfunction and divisiveness in city government is caused by lack of leadership at the top. Manchester's mayor should have the power, or personal ability, to build consensus and work together with everyone. The promise of the democratic process is consensus and compromise, not a "my way or the highway" style of doing business. Manchester's mayor should not have the power to bully those with whom he disagrees, or push through questionable deals for political purpose at City Hall. That is not leadership.
3) As mayor, I will work to implement the tax cap in a manner that is fair and equitable to all Manchester citizens and in a manner that ensures all citizens get the services they expect and deserve.
Glenn RJ. Ouellette
Occupation: Publisher of the Queen City Capital Examiner online newspaper
Relevant Experience: I am a city Ward 3 selectman. I also served on the MCAM board (Manchester's public access TV) until it closed.
1) I put my name in as a candidate for mayor after the city was short $148,000 on the second day of the new year's budget. Our city budget starts on July 1st to June 30th the following year. For the city to be short $148,000 on a budget that just passed a few weeks before that and on the second day of the budget year is not the way to run a city. This hiding things to pass under the table has got to stop. I want to see a vision of one city, one voice for all our citizens to share together, both within our pains and joys of a great city and put my best vision of what a mayor should be to "You the People" in what's in the best interests overall to this community as a whole.
2) There is no more power that should be given any mayor without the balance of our City Charter that states that we in Manchester have an elected mayor, and 12 wards and 2 at-large or a total of 14 aldermen and 12 wards and two at large or again a total of 14 school board committeemen with the city mayor chairing that board as well. I do strongly believe that the mayor should not have voting power on the school board as he has now and that the mayor's powers should be on the school's side the same as on the city's side, the same power to override the board and that the boards can override the mayor's veto powers. That is our city's fair and balance shared form of local government. We should always remember that the elected officials work for "We the People" and not the other way around.
3) A city tax (spending) cap should remain in effect until the citizens choose to petition the Board of Mayor and Alderman to put it back onto a new referendum for an election voted by the people. It has if anything created a balance in the overspending and wasteful hard-earned tax dollars paid for by "We the People."