Candidates make their case to voters
By Bert Lehman
Current acting mayor Lois Bressette is seeking the title on a permanent basis, while Jonathan Bayless is challenging her in the April 5 election.
To help provide voters with information about each candidate, as well as where they stand on the issues, the Clintonville Tribune-Gazette sent questions to each candidate. Here are the questions as well as the responses from each candidate.
Why did you decide to run for mayor?
Bayless: I am running for mayor because I want to see if I can fix the problems facing the city and the council. The council needs someone who can bring all the sides together and work through their differences.
Bressette: I decided to run for mayor because I am dedicated to the city of Clintonville. I moved to Clintonville in 2003. I am an owner of a small business and was a substitute teacher with the Clintonville Public School District for 12 years.
I have attended city council meetings, was elected to city council and have served on numerous committees. I was appointed City Council President in April 2015. Last summer when our former mayor was experiencing health issues, I filled in for her. Last fall, the city council took action to appoint me acting mayor and I will continue as acting mayor until April 2016.
What qualifications do you have that would help you serve as mayor?
Bayless: I have many years of experience as a manager of a business in the service industry. I know how to get along with all types of people. Resolving conflict was one of my greatest talents in that business.
Bressette: I feel I am qualified to serve as mayor because I have the knowledge, skills and abilities. I have been filling in or acting mayor since July 2015. I have served on city council having been elected to a two year term as an Alderwoman for District 4 in April 2011. I won a recall election against Greg Rose in November 2014. In April 2015, I was re-elected for two more years.
I currently sit on, or previously served on, the following city committees: Airport (Chair), Street, Utility, Labor Relations, Board of Zoning & Housing Appeals, Finance and Insurance, Library Board (Vice-President), Personnel (Chair), Plan Commission, Safety & Ordinance, Redevelopment, Board of Review, Facilities, Tourism, Marketing & Advertising Council (Chair) and Emergency Government.
As a graduate student, my advisor and mentor was a member of the city commission and also served as mayor. I was a graduate student intern with the Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, DC. I earned my Master of Public Administration degree from Northern Michigan University in 2002.
I am a member of: The Clintonville Rotary Club; the League of Women Voters, and served on the Board of Directors/Secretary for three years, a member of the LWV Election Observer Corp; The Mid-Day Women’s Alliance, Board of Directors and currently Chair the Legislative Committee; the American Association of University Women (AAUW) and AAUW- Appleton.
What are the two most important issues facing the city of Clintonville?
Bayless: There are many issues facing the city of Clintonville. The most important though is the fact that our city seems to be losing people more than they are gaining. There are more and more houses for sale in the city. We need to find out why these people our leaving our fine town and fix the problem. Also, we need to fix our business stance. Many businesses are afraid to come to Clintonville. We need to find out why and fix that too.
Bressette: The two most important issues facing the city of Clintonville are no strategic plan and no economic growth.
If elected, what would you do to find solutions to those issues?
Bayless: We need to talk to the people, find out why they are leaving, and what we can do to keep them here. I will go to businesses and try to bring them to town. We have plenty of room for more business in town and the more businesses we can get the more jobs we can make in Clintonville.
Bressette: If elected, my solution to those two important issues is to create a plan for the future. I will work with the city council and city staff to develop a strategic plan and a plan to increase economic growth. The city can no longer continue to go on from year to year without a plan with measurable goals and objectives.
What would you do as mayor to promote unity within the council and city?
Bayless: We all have to work together to get past the problems of the past. I will work with all the council people to build Clintonville up. I will strive to put the needs of the city ahead of any personal or private disagreements of any of the elected officials.
Bressette: To promote unity within the council and the city, we need to bring the city back in balance. The council needs to work together and in collaboration with the school district and industry.
The city of Clintonville has used undesignated fund balance funds to balance the last two budgets, what does the city have to do in order to stop tapping into this fund?
Bayless: The council and I need to figure out a balanced budget without putting undo hardship on our citizens or businesses. We need to find cuts in the budget without losing benefits that this city needs.
Bressette: One way to stop tapping into the undesignated fund balance is to develop a solid, measurable plan for economic growth.
The city’s outdoor swimming pool has been an item of discussion for more than a year, but no solutions have been presented. What process does the city need to follow in order to make a decision about what to do with the outdoor swimming pool?
Bayless: While I was out getting signatures to run for mayor, this matter came up many times in conversation. Most of the people made it clear they do not want to lose this valuable benefit the city offers. I will do everything in my power to see that the pool remains open and useable by current and future citizens of this fine community.
Bressette: The city needs bold, new leadership to work on solutions for the swimming pool. There are council members who refuse to support any efforts to keep the community swimming pool open.