The question I hear most often these days, is: Why would you want to be Mayor?!
I’m serving my second term on the Advisory Board for the Department of Community Programs, which works for seniors, youth, and community recreation. As a result, I attend a lot of Common Council meetings, and I don’t like what I see. Chronic wrangling has damaged Council’s ability to work for the common good. I am running for Mayor to help Summit get a fresh start. I have the mix of experience and skill to help Council refocus on conducting all of its business with clear goals, efficiency, and community input.
When I review the record of the Council that my opponents have served on, here is what I find:
- A pattern of reacting, rather than proactively choosing and implementing strategic priorities
- Studies and rhetoric – e.g., about parking -- but no solution
- Criticism of County taxes, but no real progress in working with other towns to lobby and negotiate for money-saving measures with the County
- A history of disrespecting qualified City staff, experts and advisors
Why should people care? Among other things, it costs us the benefits of our peoples’ good ideas. Today, the same arguments are being re-hashed by the same people, and that translates to lost dollars and community strength. Council’s hapless handling of the Ameripay fraud put the continuation of Summit’s liability coverage at risk.
What’s the record of my opponents? Ms. Dickson helped lead the charge to pass a previously rejected $800K pay-parking ordinance during the quiet of summer, with insufficient public transparency—squeezing out new business from the agenda.
Mr. Vernotico’s history of public outbursts and negative press releases as a Council Member is well known, making it tougher for Council to work together on Summit’s business. Comments like: “Habitat for insanity” against a Habitat for Humanity project, and name calling of colleagues (“Tom Getzandanner: Common Councilman or Common Criminal?”) are not constructive and leave a residue of divisiveness and animosity.
Summit needs a fresh start, beginning with its new Mayor. My education and 20+ year professional career and volunteer experience in communication, business, and nonprofits put me in a strong position to competently address Summit’s needs, while working with Council to restore a healthy civic culture.
My commitment is to get things done by getting people to work together. I will do this by being an active listener and respecting people, even when I disagree with them; by dealing with facts and doing my homework; and by attacking problems, not people.
I look forward to hearing from you now, and with your vote on November 8th, working for you in the future.
Eileen Forman Ludden