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Amy Smith: 'The starting factor is getting the voice of the people'

Candidate Amy Smith sees a need for change in the way Marion City Council interacts with the public. It seems to her that instead of having honest conversations about issues, council members want to please their friends.

“You have that group of friends, and people tend to want to please,” she said. “You have to go to the people and find out what they want and do that.”

She thinks honesty is lacking, too. Council members need to discuss things with the public and with each other, “not doing things behind someone’s back.”

People should not be afraid to come to the council with their concerns, she said.

“I think the starting factor is getting the voice of the people,” Smith said.

That said, a move to honesty, truthfulness, and transparency won’t come quickly.

“It’s going to take some time,” she said.

A recent discussion of buying a bucket truck was lacking, she said. Not enough attention was given to the matter before a decision was made.

“You’ve got to look at what else is out there,” she said.

She also said the city should have considered selling one truck before buying another.

She wants to see council members talk about issues in public discussions, then make decisions at a later meeting.

She thinks money could be saved by looking closely at where money is being spent.

“I feel like so many people are taking out of the money jar at different times,” she said, adding that she thinks the council is clueless about how city money is being spent. The council should take a harder look at saving money.

The same principles about spending decisions extend to budget decisions, Smith said. That would have helped with this year’s budget process.

“It looked to me that nobody knew what was going on,” Smith said.

If it becomes necessary to increase revenue, Smith favors raising sales tax, because people have an option whether to spend or not.

To build city cash reserves, Smith said, she’d limit how many employees have city credit cards. Every department should have one, but not every employee should have one. She also thinks favoritism should not be shown to one department or another.

As Smith sees it, city council members tend not to speak up when the mayor tells them his priorities, such as when it was decided earlier this year to hire a clerk, an administrator, and a police chief in that order.

When the city’s form of government was changed several years ago, there was no vote of the public to change the structure. If the council decides to examine whether it should make its structure comply with a state-approved structure, she wants to see a vote of the residents.

“I do like rules,” Smith said.

Smith believes people who move to Marion do so because it’s quiet.

Last modified Nov. 2, 2023

 

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