Hometown: Raised in Franklin
Family: Mark, husband of nearly 30 years
Community involvements: Board member of Interchurch Food Pantry of Johnson County, Franklin United Methodist Community and Johnson County Community Organizations Active in Disaster; member of the Johnson County Republican Women’s Club, Franklin Rotary, P.E.O. Sisterhood, Tri Kappa Zeta Chapter and St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church; Johnson County campaign coordinator for Holcomb for Governor; past president of Franklin Republican Women’s Club and Johnson County Extension Homemaker’s.
What are the top issues facing the city of Franklin? How would you address them?
Completing the gateway and State Road 44/Jefferson Street projects are the top two. Other projects are planned through 2019 and being considered through 2021. City needs to apply for grants, work through plans, designs and visioning, and make sure the best of those projects make it into reality.
Would work to persist in commercial and industrial economic development.
“Franklin is firing on all cylinders right now. We want to keep that going and capitalize on our successes and use our current momentum to keep drawing more to us. There’s a lot of energy and I don’t want to see that dissipate, I want to see it advance.”
What makes you the most qualified candidate for mayor?
Education, experience, including but not limited to 16 years as clerk-treasurer, the opportunity to have served with four mayors and direct and indirect involvement in all aspects of city government. “I’ve learned so much from each of those mayors and from my colleagues throughout the state of Indiana. I can bring that experience, that knowledge to Franklin in the service of our community.”
The city currently is planning or working on millions of dollars of infrastructure projects. How informed are you of the details of those projects? How will you manage them?
Specialty is government and municipal finance. Has been looking at the fund and cash reports for the city. Has reviewed redevelopment commission documents and won’t take very long at all to get up to speed. Has access to one of the best resources, former mayor Joe McGuinness, who is a friend. Current officials and the former mayor will help quickly overcome any gaps in understanding.
How should the city continue attracting new businesses? What tools would you use to bring new jobs to Franklin?
Would take advantage of programs offered by the state and be in constant communication with the Johnson County Development Corp., also reach out and make sure our information on available spaces and available land would be highlighted and sent to economic development folks and businesses that fit our profile.
How can the city be sure to attract quality, high-paying jobs? What is a quality job?
Said quality jobs fit the skills of the people looking for them, have benefits, pay higher than average and allow people to develop skills so that they can move into higher technical positions. Said city has a mix of industries and jobs suiting the community. Manufacturing and other industries want folks with good technical skills, and also have needs for folks who are not as highly technical. Community needs people in service, high tech and manufacturing sector. Wants to hit the right mix of having jobs and the people capable, interested and willing to do them. “That’s where our ties to the school and the college and Ivy Tech are so critical.” Wants to make sure city stays current with what businesses and industries are looking for and that information is getting into our school system and training facilities. Businesses come and go where the workers are.
Development of the east side near Interstate 65 has been a key focus in recent years, including infrastructure projects to prepare that area for new businesses. What will you do to make those new developments come to fruition?
Would use every tool and power she legally would have. Said the east side has been in the dream and development phase since the 70s and the market drives development, but the energy feels like it is moving in city’s favor with motivated buyers, sellers and developers on that end of town. Said Franklin has contributed by developing infrastructure on that side of town, all the way into the tech park.
What are the city’s greatest challenges?
Making sure the city balances resources with dreams and competing in the open marketplace for business and industry. Wants to hold onto those features that make Franklin such an attractive community, including affordability and the economy. “I’m optimistic Indiana is prospering, Franklin is prospering.”
What is your view of the Indiana Open Door law? Explain to us how you will conduct a transparent government in every way.
“I think the Open Door Law is one of the best things that ever happened in Indiana.” Is committed to transparency. Would like to see more city documents and records posted online. Only confidential items or certain employment records should be hidden from view.
What programs, projects and departments need more money? What needs less?
Right now, is not aware that any of them need less or more, but is sure that she could learn of priorities once she took office. Knows the mayor and council evaluated everything when the budget was adopted last summer to match needs at that time. Is unaware of any circumstances that would require drastic alteration.
Joe McGuinness spent time at the Indiana Statehouse, lobbying legislators, testifying on bills that would affect primarily local government funding and eventually serving on a committee made mostly of state legislators. Would you aim to have the same level of involvement? Why or why not?
Absolutely. Frequently was involved similarly as a clerk-treasurer. “We should use every opportunity to talk to our legislators about our community, our town, Franklin, so they are aware of our needs and that we advance our community goals as best we can.” McGuinness’ work on the Metropolitan Planning Organization served city well, and would continue that.
How will you determine the best appointments to boards, such as the redevelopment commission, the Franklin Development Corporation and the police merit board. Will you make any immediate changes?
Would make no immediate changes. Board composition has to be taken into account. Would look at experience, skills and interest for prospective members. People were drawn to city service under McGuinness’ leadership and would hope to continue to draw interested, capable, committed folks to serve.
Some of the city’s ongoing initiatives include downtown and special project funding from the Franklin Development Corp., the mayor’s student committee at the high school and the commitment to start a co-working space for downtown Franklin. Are you committed to these projects? Why or why not? What projects would you add or remove?
Committed to all of these projects. The co-working space is a great concept and would be especially attractive in Franklin, since city has a lot of small businesses and consulting, entrepreneurs, Franklin College and Ivy Tech. Sees tremendous benefits to be gained through that space. Committed to his vision of the high school student advisory committee. Likes to be around focused high school students who have a special energy and enthusiasm. Sees it as an opportunity to showcase the talents of kids outside the framework of high school. They can help provide a vision so that leaders can see the city differently, through the thoughts and ideas of teens.
How have you campaigned for this position, considering the decision rests with 22 people, many of whom who have ties to city government? For example, the mayor’s former assistant gets to pick the next mayor. A city police officer gets a vote as well. Have you made any commitments or discussed any future positions with those two precinct committee-members or any others?
Has spoken to them but made no commitments. Campaign has been very focused and has called and written each member. The precinct committee members are representing all kinds of folks, who have had all types of jobs, or are working moms, retirees, worked in police or the legal system. “No one has asked me to make any promises.” Said all of them take this duty very seriously. “They will be acting on behalf of an entire community, and my sense is that they are keenly aware of that.”
Currently, the police merit board is preparing for a hearing to consider the termination of a police officer. Should the mayor be involved in those proceedings and decision? Why or why not?
Cities and towns have the option to create a merit board. The decision to have a board is to remove the mayor and officials from that process. They do not belong in that process. The merit board is responsible for those processes.