Taylor Elections

Jeffrey Lamarand (i)
1. Who are you? (50-word limit)
I am Jeff Lamarand, 44, husband to Mishelle, father of two (Jillian and Nash), a certified K-12 teacher, who holds a Master’s degree in Educational Administration. I have served as Mayor for the last four years and served one term as a member of City Council. Born and raised in Taylor.

2. Why are you running for office, and why should people vote for you? (75-word limit)
I have spent the last four years working for the residents of Taylor. We have finally brought financial stability to this community. When I came into office this City was hemorrhaging money; with decisive action I stopped the bleeding. We are now rebounding without having to ask for a tax increase. In four short years we’ve brought efficiency to a wide range of City operations and will have completed that task within the next four years.

3. What are two key issues facing the city and what should be done about them? (100-word limit)
The two key issues facing Taylor are, taking care of today and looking out for tomorrow. You can’t be a Mayor and wear blinders. I must see everything going on around and try to see well into the future. The decisions I’ve made since taking office have done just that and as we head into another four years we’ll have the ability to put more focus on long-term plans. We can’t get caught flat-footed and fall victim to short-term planning, like unnecessary tax increases. We’ll continue planning better, developing sustainable long-term initiatives that do not require a constant increase in funding.

Rick Sollars
Rick Sollars is a 39-year-old married father of three. Private businessman (KRMC, LLC). Current City Councilman (currently serving out his second term). Lifelong resident of Taylor. Graduate of Taylor Center High School. Attending Henry Ford Community College, focusing on business and engineering. Board of Directors, Henry Ford CC Manufacturing Technology , Taylor Reading Corps and Taylor Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.

The city has declined over the past four years. We need to change that. My plan includes: Create commission suggesting charter revisions and experienced Economic Development Department. Hire police officers, establish Neighborhood Watch and enhance auxiliary police. Dissolve City Call Center. Establish multi-year budgeting, eliminate no-bid contracts, create strict purchasing guidelines and require appraisals for capital purchases or sales. Establish “Shop Taylor.” Create better processes at Animal Shelter. Pursue extended fire opportunities through SAFER grant.

Everything begins with public safety. Crime has increased while police staffing has been cut to some of its lowest all-time levels, city fire and emergency response has been cut and two fire stations were closed. Better public safety will mean better opportunities to create thriving businesses. Thriving local businesses will mean more job creation. Less crime will mean safer, more attractive neighborhoods, secure schools and increasing home values. A safer city, more active business development and increasing home values will result in increasing revenue streams for the city without tax increases! More revenue means more and better services for residents.

Edward Bourassa
Did not respond by the deadline.

Cheryl Burke
1. Who are you? (50 word limit)
Cheryl Burke, married to Fred, two children, four grandchildren. President of Burke Tools I have managed international relations, banking, A/P, A/R, payroll, and associates. As Council Chairwoman the last four years I have dedicated myself to the voters, advocating against increased taxes and wasteful spending. My voting record supports this.

2.Why are you running for office, and why should people vote for you?
I am running for City Treasurer because I believe my education, business experience, and professionalism will best serve the taxpayers of our community. I am the only candidate for Treasurer that owns a home and pays taxes here in our city. I also own a business and pay business taxes here in Taylor. I have talked with residents and they believe, like I do, that the Treasurer should be a taxpaying member of our community.

3. What are two key issues facing your office and how will you address them? (100-word limit)
Cash flow: Taxes are collected bi-annualy, but bills need to be paid all year long. With reduced revenues, taxes and fees must be collected/deposited in a timely manner. My goal is to create more user friendly ways to pay taxes/fees, thereby improving cash flow.
Pension Fund Management: The Treasurer serves on the General Employee Pension and Police/Fire Pension Boards. Management of the various funds requires knowledge to oversee the most advantageous growth opportunities. The only non-pensionsed Treasurer candidate, I will serve on these boards ensuring beneficiaries are well served while protecting the interest of taxpayers that pay for these pensions.

Cynthia Bower (i)
1. Who are you? (50-word limit)
My name is Cynthia Bower and I am running for City Clerk in the City of Taylor. I was unanimously appointed City Clerk in 2012 I am a community volunteer and sponsor for many organizations including the Taylor Reading Corp, member of St. Constance Church. I am a lifelong Taylor resident, married, mother of 3 beautiful daughters, whom all attend Taylor Schools.

2. Why are you running for office, and why should people vote for you?
(75-word limit)
I am a 25 year municipal employee with 14 years of supervisory experience, I am an Accredited City Clerk and Notary Public. I have successfully performed the Clerk’s duties for fifteen months. I have conducted three elections and introduced new equipment, at no cost to the city, which has reduced processing time. I will continue to modernize the office, offer more convenient hours, organize additional volunteer events like the recent cemetery clean-up day and continue to provide a positive experience for those visiting the Clerk’s Office.

3. What are two key issues facing your office and how will you address
them? (100-word limit)
As City Clerk I can assist the administration in keeping costs in my department low and not a burden on the General Fund which will allow funds to be utilized in other departments, such as Police and Fire. I will work with the administration to maximize the services provided by my office, without an increase in cost. This will include a plan to add additional office hours, such as Saturday hours.

Voting methods and other operations are out of date. I will be an advocate for more efficient operations both statewide and locally. All offices are doing more with less and efficiency is a key component. Government should be set up to serve the people, not the other way around. Offices should be operated with the mindset of providing the maximum level of service at the minimum cost to the taxpayer.

Jill Brandana
Who are you?:
My name is Jill Brandana and would like to be the next Taylor City Clerk. I decided years ago that I wanted to work in government. I attended college for many years (while working full time in a law office) to earn my Master’s Degree in Public Administration.

Why are you running for office, and why should people vote for you?
Since making my decision to work in government, I have been elected for two terms as Chairwoman Pro Tem of the Taylor City Council. In 2009, I was granted a scholarship to the Michigan Political Leadership Program. This program allowed me to travel to different parts of the state to observe public policy. My education, coupled with my work and legislative experience, makes me the better candidate to lead the Clerk’s office through the next four years.

 What are two key issues facing your office and how will you address them?
Making our City elections voter friendly. I will work with the Election Commission and City Council to encourage creation of policy to: eliminate all political signs on public property near the polls; and institute and strictly enforce protocol for candidate volunteers to eliminate heckling and voter intimidation at the polls.

Making the Clerk’s office more accessible. The clerk’s office is currently closed on Thursdays and from 1-2 p.m. during the week. Tax paying residents deserve to be able to access the clerk’s office to accomplish their city business. I plan to institute hours to better serve resident needs.

Keith Blanchard
Did not respond by the deadline.

Daniel Bzura
Did not respond by the deadline.

Angela Croft
1.. Who are you? (50-word limit)
I have lived in Taylor for approximately 36 years. I have a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Wayne State University and a Bachelor’s in Business from Davenport. I have over 14 years of experience at Detroit Metro and Willow Run Airports working with municipal contracts and facilities maintenance. During my career I have worked extensively with Federal, State and local government agencies as well as many privately owned corporations.

2. Why are you running for office, and why should people vote for you? (75-word limit)
My college business degrees and my previous municipal work experience do qualify me for this position but even more importantly my life experience and my intentions are why voters can place faith in me. I have no conflicts of interest or personal agenda to further. I am seeking a position on council because I genuinely care about the City of Taylor and the residents who live here.

3. What are two key issues facing the city and what should be done about them? (100-word limit)
The biggest issue facing Taylor right now is avoiding a State Financial Manager takeover and following the 5-year deficit elimination plan, currently in place, is critical to that end. It is City Council’s job to ensure that residents are receiving the services their tax dollars are intended for, as a council member that will remain my main focus, however, generating revenue is key to offsetting long-term and legacy debt. I believe there is revenue currently not being captured in the form of business operation permits as well as cost saving opportunities where community service hours and volunteer programs could be applied. I plan to bring these ideas to Council and the Administration immediately.

John Delo
Did not respond by the deadline.

Tim Faremouth
Did not respond by the deadline.

Alex Garza
1. Who are you? (50-word limit)
My name is Alex Garza and I am a candidate for Taylor City Council. I am a Public Administration major and Research and Policy analyst by profession. Currently, I serve as a Downtown Development Authority Board member for our city. I am a resident looking to bring positive change to Taylor.

2. Why are you running for office, and why should people vote for you? (75-word limit)
I have been involved in the community for years through local volunteer work and my service on Taylor’s Downtown Development Authority. I know I am bringing a wide range of experience and new ideas to Taylor. My educational and work experience in Public Administration has prepared me to serve my community on city council. This is why I am running for city Council. It would be an honor to serve the citizens of Taylor.

3. What are two key issues facing the city and what should be done about them? (100-word limit)
Even though there are many issues that are equally important, taking control of our city budget deficit and ensuring our public safety are my top priorities in these challenging times. As a Taylor Downtown Development Authority Board Member, addressing our deficit has been of the utmost importance to me as I voted on two balanced budgets for our Board. As an elected Council Member, I will work hard with my colleagues to reach a balanced city budget every fiscal year. Public safety is also important. We must come up with a long term sustainable plan for public safety in our city.

Charley Johnson
1. Who are you? (50-word limit)
I’m Charley Johnson, a life long resident of Taylor. I’ve been married to my beautiful wife Brenda, for 28 years. We have two amazing daughters. I am a community volunteer on a regular basis and I care deeply about the City of Taylor. Successful business owner for 25 years.

2. Why are you running for office, and why should people vote for you?
To bring common sense and my ability to work together, to move the City forward. Over the last 10 years, I have been to more City Council meetings and study sessions, than any of the current Council members or any of the candidates running. I understand completely the Council procedures, responsibilities and the City Charter. I am a successful business owner for over 25 years. I am honest. I have great work ethic, and care deeply for our City, it’s residents and the men and women we employ.

3. What are two key issues facing the city and what should be done about 
I will vote to immediately reinstate our Advance Life Support in the Fire Department and bring the revenue stream it generates back into the City’s coffers, approximately $1.2 million dollars annually.
Secondly, we need to immediately create a “Charter Commission” to review and update. We are working with a Charter that is now over 40 years old and has little recourse to prevent the type of abuses we see taking place today, with the current administration. I will work to eliminate the “gray” areas that stifle creativity and prevent the successful management of the City. Today’s technology demands this.

Linda Parker-Craig
. Who are you? (50-word limit)
I first moved to Taylor in 1973. In 1981 I moved away and returned in 1989 and have lived here since. My daughter graduated from Kennedy High School and is a teacher in the Taylor School District. We built a new home here in 1999 and are committed to Taylor.

2. Why are you running for office, and why should people vote for you?
(75-word limit)
I am very displeased with the conduct of the current city council and the “cronyism” over the past decade or two. I have 35 years business experience in manufacturing, construction and education. I have no ax to grind, I have never worked for the city and have no affiliation with the police or fire departments. I can be completely unbiased and objective on council and will promote agendas for the benefit of the Taylor tax payers.

3. What are two key issues facing the city and what should be done about
them? (100-word limit)
We must reduce our 5+ million dollar deficit to avoid an emergency manager and build a financial emergency reserve. We must continue to cut spending where possible and and promote and develope new businesses in Taylor. We need to eliminate the empty houses in Taylor (stop the blight.) With the use of HUD and city financing plans we can help young families buy homes who could not otherwise afford them. This would also help increase revenue with the additional property taxes. We must build a stronger sense of community.

Herman Ramik
My name is Herman Ramik known to most as Butch. Born in Tennessee in 1949. I am a Vietnam Veteran and retired Army Drill Sgt. Retired Taylor Police Officer. Lived in Taylor 43 years. Elected to city council twice. Resigned because of major health issues in 2010. I am out spoken and will defend the people of Taylor’s interest under any circumstances.

I am running for office because 3 ½ years ago I had to leave because of some serious illnesses. I had dreams of helping this community to move forward into the future and still hold those dreams close. I have watched this city set back 30 years under the present Mayor and feel I must stand up and help. I have the will and knowledge and the respect of the community to help get this accomplished. Not only do I have the learned experience, but I have proven leadership to accomplish my goals for the people.

Public Safety and returning the flow of revenue to city. Public Safety has been totally devastated by the present administration. Cutting the police department in half. Allowing Police officers to retire with huge pensions after only 15 years service (example-14 yrs street cop-retirement $85,000 rest of life plus $16,000 medical benefits-retirement effective immediately). The fire department demoralized by an administration which has also cost lives in his reckless and irresponsible actions of closing fire stations. Revenue streams that the mayor cut off must be restored. Without revenue all services are lost eventually.

Linda Roberts
Did not respond by the deadline.

Dennis Stapleton
Did not respond by the deadline.

Bob Tompos
1. Who are you? (50-word limit)
I am the former Fire Chief for the City of Taylor. I have spent a great deal of my adult working life in Management including Bausch & Lomb Pharmaceuticals, Community EMS, and finally the Chief of the Taylor Fire Department. I also served for 10 years as the EMS Chief for the Taylor Fire Department.

2. Why are you running for office, and why should people vote for you?
(75-word limit)
People in the City of Taylor deserve to have the same kind of services and opportunities as other surrounding communities. They deserve to have top flight police, fire and EMS service, well maintained parks and recreational options, and programs for young me members of our community.

3. What are two key issues facing the city and what should be done about
them? (100-word limit)
Currently we are stagnant. There are limited services for both adult and children in our city. Public safety is suspect at best and opportunities to realize revenue have been outsourced without the vote of the city council. There is no plan for Business Enterprise in the city and the prospect of revenue through business citizens continues to dwindle.

Tim Witz
Did not respond by the deadline.

Tim Woolley
1. Who are you? (50-word limit)
My name is Tim Woolley and I am a lifelong resident of Taylor. I am 43 years old and a Taylor Center graduate. I’ve been married to Amy for 22 years, and have two children Dylan 18 and Sarah 13. I served in the U.S Army and I am a Desert Shield/Desert Storm Veteran. I am involved in my community and volunteer with organizations like the Taylor Good Fellows and Taylor VFW Post 4422.

2. Why are you running for office, and why should people vote for you? (75-word limit)
I decided to run for a seat on Taylor City Council this year because of so many negative changes I saw happening in the city. Basic services have deteriorated, city leaders are at odds on important issues and neighborhoods are failing. I tried to volunteer and found I couldn’t even get through to the mayor’s office. Our Council members were kept in the dark on many important changes taking place. I simply could not sit back and hope things would change. I decided to get involved.

3. What are two key issues facing the city and what should be done about them? (100-word limit).
Public safety and economic development must be fixed before Taylor can resume its path to prosperity. From what I’ve heard and seen at City Council meetings there is a total breakdown of communication among our elected officials on these two major elements of our city. I believe by opening the conversation to residents, employees and elected officials new ideas can join everyone in the same cause and produce real results. Taylor has to unite and everyone has to know what the challenges are before we can come up with solutions. We need open doors and open minds in order to begin a conversation that will bring real and positive change to Taylor.