The Ottumwa Courier

Local News

October 25, 2013

Mayoral candidates discuss visions for the future

(Continued)

When it comes to availability, Flanders said, people of working age should be able to remain employed in a system with a part-time mayor.

"If there's a very important function, I specifically take time off from work," he said. "I'm willing to be flexible."

His work day starts early and ends early, so communicating with him is the best way to arrange an appearance by the mayor at an event.

His opponent, Tom Lazio said now that he's retired, he'll be able to attend many functions, as well as maintaining regularly scheduled office hours when citizens can speak to him.

In fact, he said, he believes the mayor's office and the city as a whole need to do a better job staying in touch with the public. For one thing, he said, that keeps residents from finding out the hard way that their street is closed, for example.

Not everyone will be happy their street is closed, of course, but at least they will be able to work out an alternate way into their parking lot. The city is then providing accurate, timely information.

"You can't make a good decision without good information," Lazio said.

That goes for elected officials, too. Lazio wants to have more city meetings where there is not any voting. The idea of these work sessions would be to discuss ideas, research and opinions on what might make the community better for its visitors and residents. Lazio also wants to have some procedures worked out ahead of time so that council members aren't wasting time with pointless bickering during council meetings.

In fact, arguing or throwing power around isn't the best way to get things done, said Lazio. In his 45 years in business, both as a social worker and a manager, he found that being cooperative with a party, and them being cooperative as well, requires less energy than constant battle.

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