Gladstone Commission hopefuls share backgrounds

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Daily Press invited candidates for the Gladstone City Commission to submit a statement about their background, why they are seeking office and their position on issues facing Gladstone. Responses were limited to 400 words. Submissions were received from Dave Nemacheck, Mike O’Connor and Steven Viau. Submissions were not received from Joe Thompson, Joshua Godfrey, Darin Hunter, Ken LaVigne and Bradley Mantela. All will be on the ballot during the general election Tuesday.

Submissions received are:

Dave Nemacheck

Currently on the Gladstone Planning Commission and running for the City Commission.

Retired from successfully running several local small businesses.

BBA and MBA degrees from the Ross School of Business – University of Michigan.

The City of Gladstone is finding it more difficult to run on 15.5 mills when all surrounding cities are at least 17 to 21. The burden is on cost savings, the possible use of more volunteers, and petitioning for more grants and donations. We have started purchasing good, used vehicles for Public Works, and should continue this practice.

I have no problem using a proportionate part of the City’s fund balances to help pay for the underfunded pension plan.

More time should be spent on streets, ­sidewalks, and infrastructure. All are in need.

I fully support the DDA. It has the advantage of capturing all the tax increases, and can apply and receive grants and donations that the City cannot.

I have no axe to grind or special agenda, I just want to work to make Gladstone an even better place to live. I would appreciate your support in November.

Mike O’Connor

Hello, I am Mike O’Connor and as many of you have heard, I am running for the Gladstone City Commission. I would like to take a little time to share a bit about myself and to share my ideas for our great city with you.

I have served in the US Navy and did go on to earn an engineering degree from the University of Oklahoma. I currently am a licensed engineer and a small, local business owner in our community. I am a proud father and step father to four outstanding children. My family enjoys the outdoors, site seeing, and spending time on our Great Lakes. Also, you could say, I am a diehard Green Bay Packer Fan. In my spare time, I have volunteered for the City of Gladstone. Maybe you remember me from the compost site last summer? I also have donated to our local schools via the Gladstone Braves robotics teams.

I take being on this city commission and enacting change an utmost priority in my life. As a resident of Gladstone and one of the more controversial candidates for the Gladstone City Commission, I want to see many concerns addressed in the near future. I have some serious concerns for our city but let me just list a few that I see for our immediate future: high utility costs, changes to our DDA, as well as our parks and recreations department. I believe there is great potential for the City of Gladstone. We need a commission that places the needs of the citizens first and foremost while bettering our community; a commission that will tackle and triumph over the hard issues that we are faced with.

In spite of some statements that have been made by the media and the city staff of Gladstone; I want to reassure the voters, I really do have the best interest of the citizens at heart. I believe in Honesty, Reality, and Responsibility to better the City of Gladstone. On November 7th remember to vote Mike O’Connor-He’s on the Right Track…for the citizens!

Steven Viau

My fellow citizens, I am Steven Viau, We moved to Gladstone 24 years ago due to the small town atmosphere, schools, and its safe environment for raising a family. After living in the city for a few years, we seized an opportunity to open a business that has expanded into three successful ventures over the past twenty years. As a local resident and business owner, my goal is to give back to our community that has encourage us with support and caring memories that have been exceptionally incredible.

Through my background as an entrepreneur and former Commissioner, I have refined my skills to encompass a wide array of attributes that can help steer our community down the path of success. If elected as a city Commissioner I vow to honor the voice of the community, and in doing so, I will work diligently to ensure our city prospers in the future.

My philosophy encourages an outside the box perspective which leads to developing more efficient ways to conduct business. There is no room for complacency in our city and we must continually strive to effectively manage expectations. This starts with making objective decisions based off verifiable and factual data. We must embrace change and rid ourselves of the mindset, “this is how we have operated for years” or we will have a long uphill road ahead.

From my experience, transparency and establishing a partnership with all members of the community is of the utmost importance. Second, we must institute a realistic budget that is not based on the “now” but one that will provide for long term sustainability. Essentially, maximizing the value of every dollar available, which in turn benefits all taxpayers and citizens of Gladstone. With this in mind, below are a list of bullet points that outline my guiding principles

Focus resources on what matters to the citizens

Establish a Financial Plan that meets short and long term stability

Monitor spending; do not deviate from our plan and promise to our citizens

No new spending without knowing the full impact on our revenue sources

Foster accountability and ownership to make sound managerial decisions

Develop policies to retain commerce and encourage economic development

Minimize deficit spending where expenditures exceed revenue

Lastly, I want to take a moment to thank my family, friends, and the citizens of Gladstone for your overwhelming support, I will forever be indebted.