The two candidates running for Buckley City Council Position 4, Beau Burkett and Chuck Helmer, answered four questions submitted by Courier-Herald editorial staff.
Ballots for the general election must be postmarked Nov. 3.
Are you satisfied with Buckley as it exists today or do you support change?
Buckley is a great place to live and raise children. Buckley is also a great place to operate a business. I support change as much as it is inevitable in Buckley. It is how our city will change related to outside influence both required and not, as well as internal issues that cause my greatest concern.
I am generally satisfied with Buckley as it exists today, but improvements are needed in our leadership philosophy and practices. More transparency is needed in our governance. Independent thinking after careful study of the issues is needed to assure that the vote of the council members is based on understanding of the issue, not just a vote that follows the status quo or popular opinion.
If a new direction is needed, what would be your No. 1 priority as a member of the City Council? What would you do to help bring about change?
I would set an example by applying my past experience in industry of making in-depth evaluations of the issues and discussing, deciding, and voting accordingly, not just going along with the majority thinking of the administration and other council members.
I do not believe that a new direction is needed. I do believe however, that the ratepayers deserve more transparency and detail from the council. My No. 1 priority would be dictated by what responsible changes are attainable in a collaborative fashion, in addition to select changes that can certainly be made at the standard glacial pace of government that we have unfortunately become accustomed to. In order to bring about change in this environment, much listening is required to learn not just the how of issues, but the why, it is, council members believe as they do about any particular issue.
If your ideas (above) require a cash commitment, where do you recommend the money come from? If it’s a matter of prioritizing city services, are there areas that could be reduced or eliminated from the annual budget?
There is no cash commitment needed for learning the how and the why, other members of a team believe as they do. Only honesty, transparency and the common goal, of what is best for the future of our city and its ratepayers by all the council (team) members need be present. Prioritizing city services is tough business, period. Reduction and/ or elimination of city services is not be necessary when monies are used in wise fashion with an eye always on stewardship. There are service levels that may need increased budget(s) in order to operate efficiently in concert with the expectations of our citizens.
I would encourage the city to pursue grants by enlisting talented grant request writers where grants are available. I would pursue reduction of the police services budget because it is the biggest percentage of the city budget, and therefore reduction there can produce the most revenue to the rest of the city budget. I also would encourage cost saving initiatives in the area of Public Works.
What experiences and/or expertise do you have that make you a strong candidate for City Council? Include civic involvement and volunteer efforts.
I have 35 years experience in industry including project, budget, and manpower management and analysis. I am in my fifth year as a volunteer on the Buckley Planning Commissioner, and chair the last two years. In Kitsap County I volunteered at the Bremerton YMCA for 20 plus years and was a community club president for eight years.
Being a second generation, lifelong resident of Buckley in addition to having four daughters, which are the forth generation to live on our same Buckley acreage, I have a vested interest in the future of our great city.
Beginning in 1997, I began an arduous process of building and contracting our family home on part of the land my grandfather purchased in the spring of ‘43 while logging for St. Regis.
Additionally, I’ve been the elected president of Local 21, Seattle, with professional negotiation experience and untold volunteer hours solving a myriad of issues and serious problems – 10-plus years as a shop steward, five-plus years experience as a wildland firefighter. I plan to devote my time here to helping the city maintain traditional qualities of life, the quality of life that makes Buckley, a great place to live, where neighbors help neighbors and city government that operates in that spirit.