- Published: April 4, 2019
Raised in Findlay Ohio I graduated from Bowling Green State University and served 17 years as the training coordinator at Honeywell Corp in Fostoria, Ohio. In 2010 Honeywell was one of four major manufacturers in Fostoria that moved their operation overseas. Determined to be a voice for all those affected by the plant closings, I returned to graduate school at Bluffton University and in 2012 was hired as the safety service director for the City of Fostoria Ohio, overseeing public safety and public service divisions.
In October of 2015 I was hired as the Village administrator of North Baltimore, Ohio. Working with village council I was able to bring in more than $2.6 million in grant monies to address the failing infrastructure in the village. We also developed a job creation grant in an attempt to attract and retain businesses which resulted in a major village employer adding more than 200 jobs and doubling their existing facility. I am currently the utility billing supervisor for the City of Westerville, Ohio where I oversee the billing and collection of more than $67 million in utility payments annually. I am the mother of one son, Dalton, a recent Ohio University graduate.
Question 1: Describe your experiences related to planning, budgeting and managing day-to-day operations of a government agency or as an executive in the private sector.
As safety service director in Fostoria, Ohio I oversaw the daily operations of the police, fire, water, sewer, parks, cemeteries and street departments. I actively worked with city council to develop the annual budget and worked daily to stay within the constraints of an ever decreasing general fund. By thinking outside the box and working collaboratively with the city unions we managed change without laying off city employees. I worked with our city engineer to rate study utilities, allowing the city to effectively plan 20 years into the future.
As village administrator in North Baltimore, Ohio I worked to find the funding to replace the failing village infrastructure, specifically the downtown streets. As the village grant writer, I applied for and the village was awarded more than $2.6 million to reconstruct the streets, sidewalks, curbs, lighting and Wi-Fi in the downtown business district, make major improvements at village park, revamp an abandoned parking lot into a community gathering space and create a safe route to school for village students. I have experience in human resource management and benefits administration as well as safety certifications.
Question 2: Give examples of how you have fostered inclusion and acceptance and embraced diversity in your current and previous positions.
I began my career in municipal government because I wished to be a voice for displaced union workers in my community whose lives were forever changed when the manufacturing plants moved overseas. Throughout my career I have entertained an “open door policy,” where I encourage the public or employees to stop in to discuss their concerns with me. I actively engage in all a community has to offer. From festivals to fundraisers, I am always willing to volunteer my time and energy to gain a better understanding of the needs of the citizens.
I have embraced diversity by working with student groups at local colleges to pique their interest in careers in the safety forces and presented programs to introduce underrepresented populations to careers in municipal water and wastewater fields. After seeing a village citizen experiencing difficulty navigating an electric scooter, I worked to obtain grant funding to rework all intersections in the downtown district of North Baltimore to include handicapped accessible curbs and crossings. I currently work to connect those needing assistance in paying their utility bill to area resources. I am strongly committed to serving all citizens and working to make their visions for the community a reality.
Question 3: How do you view the role of policing in a community and what ideas or practices would you bring to the running of the police department?
I believe the effectiveness of a police department begins with its internal policies. It is essential that solid policies exist and that department employees understand those policies and where to go or who to ask should questions arise regarding a specific policy. Officers should attend training workshops as often as possible to learn the latest tactics and network with other departments.
Monthly training briefings for police department staff can keep all employees in the loop and periodic “coffee with a cop” type meetings with the public can keep citizens informed.
I believe in community policing, meaning that officers should be seen out engaging in the community even when not answering calls for service. The police department should have representatives present at community functions and have an open dialogue with citizens. The police department should actively engage the community through programs such as senior citizens outreach, citizens academy, safety town, explorer posts and public safety days.
Question 4: What are your leadership and management styles?
My leadership and management style is focused on a firm foundation of trust and commitment. I consider myself a coach, and it is my job to inspire the employees and bring out the best in them with continual training, support and guidance. It is my job to motivate each employee, and provide them with the tools they need to be successful. Encouraging and recognizing excellent job performance is crucial to the overall success of our Village team.
I am committed to lifelong learning and never miss an opportunity to participate in a training session or continuing education class. I will work hard to find training opportunities for all employees to keep them motivated and on the cutting edge of the newest trends in municipal operations.
Question 5: Discuss your experiences in retaining, growing or enhancing business.
In Fostoria, I was able to work with the Ohio Department of Development to obtain a grant for more than $1 million to “clean-up” an abandoned manufacturing site. Today the NOX Corporation manufacturing facility resides at that site and employs more than 200 workers. We worked with the state of Ohio obtaining a grant in excess of $1.3 million, turning an old junk yard into one of the premiere train viewing parks in the country. The Fostoria Iron-Triangle Railpark now brings thousands of tourists into the community each year.
I worked with North Baltimore Village Council to develop a job creation grant designed to give businesses a tax break when expanding existing facilities or locating new business in town. This grant resulted in Continental Structural Plastics Corporation doubling their facility/workforce from 200 to more than 400 employees. I worked to set up a Community Reinvestment Area (CRA) within the village, providing incentives for both business and residential interests. I also partnered with state, county and township representatives to make infrastructure improvements to the existing village water/sewer systems, allowing for Northpointe Development to recently announce their plan to develop 100 acres with the potential of more than 1,000 jobs.
Question 6: How will you engage with the public to keep citizens informed and to get feedback on your plans and activities?
I am dedicated to working for all the citizens of Yellow Springs. I believe the best way to serve the community is to actively engage community members through the use of social media, the local media outlets, attending community events, festivals and visiting the local shops and restaurants. Talking with the community members, collaborating with students in the schools, getting to know my Yellow Springs neighbors and learning what they envision for the future of Yellow Springs are all ways in which I will work to keep the public informed. I will strive to meet the goals of the Village of Yellow Springs while holding steadfast in my commitment to the core values of the Yellow Springs community. I am enchanted by the beauty of the Yellow Springs community and its dedication to being a welcoming community of opportunity to all persons. It would be a privilege to serve its citizens.