Council Candidate Speer Knows City from Inside

sandra-speerHello, I am Sandra Speer and I am the only candidate running for City Council that has ever worked at the City. I was the Personnel Director for 7 months and resigned to return to private industry. I saw many opportunities for savings while I worked there. I have spent several years as a labor negotiator and I know how to work with the unions. Treating people with dignity and respect and involving them in helping to develop the solution is crucial.

I have a dual master: an MBA as well as an MS in Management. I know how to analyze data both from a practical standpoint as well as financial. I know how to work hard, roll up my sleeves and get the job done. I have a strong work ethic and believe in honesty and fairness. I was a single parent who put myself through school while raising two small children; hard work is not something I am afraid of.

If elected to the City Council, I would immediately focus on the following priorities simultaneously:

1. Accept the recent gifts the Public Safety employees have offered to the City. This would be a savings of about $1.6 million dollars. They are critical to our safety and our future of keeping Redding a place we want to live and call home. They should be considered a priority. Crime is on the rise and continuing to cut in this area is very dangerous.

2. Begin negotiating with the Unions, working with them to solve the issues with the pensions and retirements. Create a plan to resolve this issue now and going forward. One that is acceptable to all the employees as well as the tax payers. You do not have to wait for the contract to be expired to start meeting with them and re-negotiate now.

3. Set the example by starting at the top. Whatever we determine to ask the unions to do, needs to start at the top and set the example. All city employees need to participate in reductions and not wait.

4. Require a thorough audit of the budget, finances and staffing. I would like to be involved in a complete review of exactly where we are at today with all expenses as compared to what was budgeted. The movement of money among different funds needs to be analyzed, along with any borrowing from different funds. These tactics are not solutions, and tend to mask the real issues.

5. The City is on a very dangerous path of going broke if we continue on this downward spiral. We need to stop it now so we can get healthy again. Some of the immediate needs we should consider are: staffing levels of all departments, possible shorter work weeks or closures, less staff overall, benefit review and reductions, process changes, and system review. Regardless of how small the specific change or impact is that can be made, we need to consider any and all of them. It all adds up in the end. No stone should remain unturned. It is all open for consideration and review.

6. Focus on building more revenue by helping to bring the small to medium businesses back into Redding. We are losing too many of them to the north and south of us. This needs to stop and we need to help entice them to Redding. We have a great City and we need to do all we can to make business leaders want to come here. This would help to create jobs and demand for housing, which will help our tax revenue base.

7. Create a strategic plan to get us from where we are today, through the end of this fiscal year and beyond, in realistic increments. I’m not referring to just a budget but a true strategic plan that is realistic and attainable. One that involves making the tough decisions that will help us get through to the other side of the economic crisis. Tough decisions have to be made and now is the time to do just that!

I am Sandra Speer and I hope you elect me to be on the Redding City Council 2010.

Editor’s note: You can find more statements from Redding City Council candidates in A News Cafe’s Village Voices section, and check out Doni Greenberg’s coverage of a recent candidates forum here.

A News Cafe, founded in Shasta County by Redding, CA journalist Doni Greenberg, is the place for people craving local Northern California news, commentary, food, arts and entertainment. Views and opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of anewscafe.com.

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