Wednesday, December 7, 2022

12.6.22 Meeting Summary and Final Election Results

The final election results were certified by the County and were as follows:

As a result, the one significant item was to swear in Kim Trupiano and myself, and select a new Mayor and Vice Mayor.  For the Mayorship roll, Councilmember Diaz nominated me and Councilmember Cloven nominated Councilmember Tillman.  The Council chose myself to become our next Mayor on a vote of 3-1-1 with Cloven voting no and Tillman abstaining.

Councilmember Diaz was chosen to be our next Vice Mayor on a vote of 4-1 with Cloven voting no.

There was an opportunity to make some remarks and I gave the following statement:

First and foremost, I want to thank my wife and family. For a largely volunteer position I am acutely aware that this role would be impossible to do without their support, and at times, grace.

I also want to thank Mr. Miller and Ms. Billeter for running. Though we may disagree from time to time on matters of policy, healthy debate and discussion is part of the process. Anyone who decides to put themselves out there for public office is to be commended on their willingness to step up and serve.

And thank you to Kim Trupiano. I look forward to working together along with the rest of the Council over the next four years.

It is clear that the city faces challenges ahead. From staffing, to budgets, to community relations, we as a Council and as a community will need to come together in various ways to address these head on.  I am grateful that the residents of Clayton chose me again to represent them here on the Council. Over the last four years I have spoken to so many residents who appreciate transparency and clear communication. I will continue to update residents as best I can in the years ahead. And that starts now.

Certainly as a city we need to maintain the services that make Clayton a wonderful place to live. But on top of that, my top three priorities will reflect the challenges we face.
    1. We need to address our staffing vacancies - We will soon lose our City Manager, and the Finance Director position remains vacant, among other positions. Nothing can be accomplished if we do not have a sufficient level of city staff.
    2. We need to address our budget shortfalls - Deficit spending is not sound public policy and while it may at times be necessary, we need to address our structural issues. First by examining our expenses and cost structure, then by looking at our fee schedules and any other non-tax revenue options. This will take a bit of time but it is work we need to be doing.
    3. This may be the hardest one – but I think it important all the same. I want to find a way to reduce the polarization and heated rhetoric that has served to crowd out reasonable discourse. In our small town, it is not healthy for passions to overwhelm reason. I say this may be the hardest one because when the loudest voices dominate the dialogue, it creates a poor information feedback loop when all people see and hear are the loud voices. We should always be welcome to criticize policies, but when that criticism attacks the person rather than the policy it becomes toxic.

      We will never have an environment where there are no such toxic voices, because free speech and people can choose how they behave. But I lay down the challenge to the rest of us, that when we see or hear such toxicity, we look to the better angels of our nature and choose not to engage.
I look forward to working with the rest of the Council to bring these goals to fruition.