2021 Yellow Springs News Merchandise
Sep
20
2021
Village Council
The four finailsts for the Village manager position are, from left, Pete Bales, Elke Doom, Allyson Murray and Josue Salmeron. They will visit the Village April 9–11 with several opportunities for public interaction.  (Submitted photos)

The four finailsts for the Village manager position are, from left, Pete Bales, Elke Doom, Allyson Murray and Josue Salmeron. They will visit the Village April 9–11 with several opportunities for public interaction. (Submitted photos)

The final four candidates for Village Manager respond to questions

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By Megan Bachman

At its April 1 regular meeting, Village Council released the names of the four finalists for the Village manager position. They are Pete Bales, of Beavercreek; Elke Doom, of Valdez, Alaska; Allyson Murray, of Fostoria, Ohio; and Josue Salmeron, of Washington, D.C.

The candidates will visit the village April 9–11, with a public forum on Wednesday, April 10, from 6:30–8:30 p.m., in the Bryan Center gym. The forum will be live-streamed on YouTube and shown live on Channel 5.

In addition, an informal coffee hour will be held on Thursday, April 11, from 8 to 9:45 a.m. at the Yellow Springs Senior Center.

Council plans to decide on the manager in an executive session on April 15.

During and after the visit, villagers are encouraged to give their feedback on the candidates by using a survey, by email to Council Clerk Judy Kintner, JKintner@vil.yellowsprings.oh.us, or by calling 767-9126.

The new manager will replace current manager Patti Bates, who is retiring in July after five years with the Village.

According to the Village Charter, the Village manager enforces all laws and ordinances, hires all Village employees and controls all departments, runs the utilities, recommends policies to Council and oversees the finances, among other duties.

The four finalists were selected by Village Council in an executive session on March 22. Council has been working with a citizen committee to narrow down the candidates after an initial 62 applied.

Bales is the assistant manager of the City of Fairborn, a position he has held since 2015. He was also briefly Fairborn’s interim manager and has been involved in economic development efforts in downtown Fairborn.

Elke Doom has been the city manager for Valdez, Alaska, since 2017. Prior to that she was the city manager of Oxford, N.C., and Princeton, W. Va., and the township supervisor of Huron Charter Township in New Boston, Mich.

Allyson Murray is the utility billing supervisor for the City of Westerville, a position she started last fall. For four years prior, she was the village administrator of North Baltimore in Wood County.

Josue Salmeron, a 2006 Antioch College graduate and former Miami Township Fire-Rescue volunteer, has worked for an affordable housing organization, community nonprofit and the mayor’s office in the Washington, D.C., area.

Candidate biographies and their responses

The four finalists for Yellow Springs Village Manager were asked to respond to six questions formulated by the News and the Village Council’s appointed Village manager search committee.

Candidates were also asked to describe their experiences related to “planning, budgeting and managing day-to-day operations of a government agency or as an executive in the private sector.” Due to space constraints, the responses to that question are posted at https://www.ysnews.com.

Pete Bales (Submitted photo)

Pete Bales (Submitted photo)

Pete Bales

A lifelong resident of Greene County, Pete Bales has 23 years of experience in public service with roles such as parks and recreation director, public works director, assistant city manager and interim city manager.

Since 2015, Bales has been the assistant city manager in Fairborn (pop. 33,500), which has a general fund budget of $18 million and a total budget of $78 million. He also served a stint as interim manager for a six month period in 2016–17. Bales directly supervises the departments of finance, public works, police, fire, development services, economic development, information technology, parks and recreation and human resources.

Recently, Bales has focused on economic development initiatives in Fairborn such as the installation of a fiber optic infrastructure, Smart City development, stormwater management and downtown facilities redevelopment. He worked to redevelop an entire block of downtown Fairborn, which is now home to Co-Hatch, an entrepreneurial space for individuals, small businesses and nonprofits.

Previously, Bales worked in Fairborn as the public administrative services director (2011–2015) and parks and recreation director (2002–2011). He earned his credentialed manager certification with the International City Managers Association in 2018, national recreation and park association certification in 1999 and bachelor’s of science in education in public parks and recreation management in 1994.

Bales lives in Beavercreek with his wife, Amanda, and two children, Jack and Cara.

Question 1: Give examples of how you have fostered inclusion and acceptance and embraced diversity in your current and previous positions.

Diversity is the thread that weaves together beautiful communities. Progress comes from the result of collisions and collaboration. People with differing opinions, religious beliefs, cultural practices, and so on, are critical to the success of any community. It has always been my mantra to listen to and evaluate all perspectives in an objective manner with the benefit of the community in mind. I pride myself not only on my willingness to engage with anyone, but also to foster and support people to engage with each other. As a Credentialed City Manager, I have a duty to work by a code of ethics that relishes such inclusion, and I believe that all people have the ability to — and should — actively engage with their local government. To encourage this collaboration, I strive to eliminate barriers to public involvement in decisions, programs, and services. I believe that public hearings on important issues are an integral part of the democratic process. Furthermore, I believe it is critical to achieve diversity within local government to give a fair representation of the community. This diversity and inclusive environment must be ingrained into all levels of government and embraced from top to bottom.

 Question 2: 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?

First and foremost, police department personnel must be committed to the protection and service of all people and property within the village. In order to be effective, it is imperative that the police department be considered a trusted and valuable partner within the community. Establishing such trust results in the villagers and the police proactively working together to solve issues. The police must carry out their mission with transparency, integrity, empathy, and mutual respect with every person they encounter. An effective police force must have a deep understanding and buy-in regarding inclusion and anti-racism beliefs and demonstrate fairness and equality in all decisions. It is important that our police officers are engaged with all members of the community and create positive interactions even when faced with adverse conditions. I will expect the police department to take an active role with all segments of the community to create lasting and meaningful relationships and develop an understanding of community needs and values. I would expect all Village team members to actively participate in community events and make personal connections with the villagers.  Inclusion and accessibility are paramount in fostering a thriving community.

Question 3: What are your leadership and management styles?

My management style revolves around three major themes: communication, accessibility and teamwork.

Communication, especially in government, needs to be a two-way street. Listening to the needs of the community, as well as the advice and guidance from Council and coworkers is absolutely imperative while serving in this role. Understanding the perspectives, issues and concerns from key stakeholders is paramount. I pride myself in communicating effectively so people feel heard, respected and informed.

Accessibility is crucial. No one wants to feel as if the local government is on a different team. We are all on the same team. I believe strongly in having an open door policy, and making myself available to the community in easy and approachable environments. I plan to bring local government to the community outside the confinement of my office, so we can all grow together.

Developing leaders, empowering people and building successful teams has always been my strong suit. I believe healthy relationships are built on a solid foundation of trust. And it is no different in government. With that said, my style of leadership fosters the development of a highly effective, open, honest and direct team desiring to succeed as one unit.

Question 4: Discuss your experiences in retaining, growing or enhancing business.

I truly believe economic development comes from within. It comes from a place of pride in community and place. Everything our local government does has an economic development impact. Filling potholes, paving streets, creating greenspace and trails all have a correlation to the economic viability of the village, but what I have learned throughout my years in government, is that economic development can’t be handed out to the community from the government. It is a team effort! When we focus on removing barriers and increasing accessibility, we can build some really positive momentum.

I have had the privilege to work on many projects related to economic development. The main focus has been the revitalization of the downtown district in order to grow, retain and attract business. I implemented a fiber optic infrastructure and Smart City plan including free public Wi-Fi. This Wi-Fi produces analytics which enable the city and businesses to target customers and create marketing initiatives to create awareness and increase profits. Currently, I am spearheading an initiative to create an “Outdoor Refreshment Area” for the economic betterment of the businesses and property owners by further establishing Fairborn’s downtown as a destination for entertainment, culture and social activities.

Question 5: How will you engage with the public to keep citizens informed and to get feedback on your plans and activities?

I thrive on being an active part of the community. I plan to interact in many different formats to share news and gain feedback regarding Village projects and activities. I plan to develop an exceptional relationship with the Yellow Springs News and grow our social media channels to be more inclusive and interactive. I have found it is beneficial to work with the media cooperatively to further the goal of embracing the community into the conversation.

In addition to formal methods of information sharing, I want to engage on a social level with the villagers and develop a trusted rapport to establish quality two-way communication. I am currently the president of the Fairborn Rotary Club. This social and philanthropic organization has created an excellent conduit between the business community and the city. I desire to be involved with business, social and civic clubs as part of the community.

Finally, my door is always open, and I plan to bring my office to the people. I welcome face-to-face interaction. Discussing a topic over a cup of coffee is often the best way to truly engage to understand issues, concerns and spread goodwill.

Elke Doom (Submitted photo)

Elke Doom (Submitted photo)

Elke Doom

Elke Doom has worked as a manager in the public sector for more than 25 years in Michigan, West Virginia, North Carolina and Alaska.

Since 2017, Doom has been the city manager for Valdez, Alaska (pop. 4,000 year round/20,000 seasonal), where she is coming to the end of a two-year contract. In Valdez, Doom managed a budget of $55 million and 130 employees.

Doom also currently serves as an executive board member of the Alaska Municipal Managers Association and is president of the Prince William Sound Economic Development District.

Previously, Doom was the city manager of Oxford, N.C. (pop. 8,800) from April–December 2016; city manager of Princeton, W. Va. (pop. 5,800) from 2013–2016; and township supervisor of Huron Charter Township in New Boston, Mich., from 2008–2012.

Doom earned a bachelor’s degree in business management and a master’s degree in public administration from Siena Heights University in Michigan. She is also a certified public manager through Saginaw Valley State University. Doom graduated from the senior executives in state and local government program at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Doom and her husband Bruce have three grown daughters.

Question 1: Give examples of how you have fostered inclusion and acceptance and embraced diversity in your current and previous positions.

In order to embrace diversity and foster inclusion, one must understand that people innately have bias that can shape behaviors toward others who are different from them, be it diverse cultures, orientation, races, gender or religious beliefs.

As a first generation American, I experienced cultural differences and have been well aware of my own as an immigrant.  I learned from an early age the positive outcomes from leveraging diversity and integrated that knowledge in my career. I strive to foster diversity and inclusion where all people feel valued and respected by being culturally competent.  Sharing my experiences and encouraging others to share their own while embracing and respecting each person’s uniqueness brings awareness of the commonalities that we all share.

To better understand perceived bias in the workplace, I have reached out to local non-profits to assist in municipal recruitment and through employee engagement surveys to gain perspective on how employees view management’s efforts to address diversity and inclusion.

I’ve also mentored high potential employees to develop a future pool of leaders that are representative of the cultural and ethnic makeup of the community.

Question 2: 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?

Community partnerships are absolutely critical in order for community policing efforts to be effective. Partnerships with business groups, schools, faith-based organizations, neighborhood groups and social service providers create a powerful team of effective partners that can work together in meaningful ways to prioritize and address safety issues that are important to the community. The goal is to improve public safety, build positive relationships and be an effective catalyst for community engagement. I believe the most transformative aspect of community policing has been proactive, creative problem solving among officers and community members to identify the cause of problems and how best to address them. Problem-oriented policing efforts have a significant impact on improving public safety, and using today’s technology to broadcast timely crime alerts is an effective safety tool.

Question 3: What are your leadership and management styles?

My leadership style is one of flexibility and adaptability. I delegate when it is appropriate, work to build consensus when needed and work side by side when needed. I am a person that employees know they can depend on to guide, mentor and provide leadership by example.

I am an open, straight-forward communicator. When possible, I like to communicate directly with people but, depending on the situation, I use several forms of communication, including texting, email and phone calls and messaging.     

I do not have one management style. I believe my success as a manager is being able to adapt my style to the employee and to the situation. I need to be flexible and recognize that not every employee needs the same management style for every situation.

Question 4: Discuss your experiences in retaining, growing or enhancing business.

Valdez is overly reliant on a declining oil distribution pipeline as its primary tax base. Below are a few examples of projects underway to retain, enhance and grow business.

The goal of “Connecting Alaska to the World” business development summit this September is to attract new business to the Shipping Container Terminal. Various presentation tracks will be presented, and lead survey forms will be supplied for follow-up post-event. In addition, the event will provide an opportunity to extend the booking/sales season for local tour operators and fishing charters.

Working with a seafood processor to lease/purchase city land for expansion in 2018 doubled the seasonal workforce and added additional year-round employees. 2019 will see another expansion as the seafood processor will build a new fish oil processing plant.

To increase tourism and encourage people to extend their visit, an expanded event schedule of outdoor music venues, vendor markets and special events will occur every weekend providing additional entertainment and shopping opportunities for residents and guests.

Successful marketing efforts to major cruise lines will bring an estimated 10,000 guests to dock in Valdez this summer. The influx is met with both trepidation and excitement as business owners gear up to open new and expand their existing businesses to accommodate the increase in tourism.

Question 5: How will you engage with the public to keep citizens informed and to get feedback on your plans and activities?

Citizen engagement is a continuous process whereby the community works together to make a difference in the life of their community through involvement, dialogue and feedback from government decisions. Setting up a microphone at a council meeting or asking for feedback via a government email is still a method of engagement. However, we have changed the meaning of citizen engagement in today’s digital world, which is changing how conversations are happening. As people increasingly turn to mobile phones, computers and tablets for information and input we have to shift our processes to engage and collaborate with our citizens through social media, whether through the city website, Facebook, Twitter or other channels. It is important that we earn trust and credibility through open and respectful communication as part of the engagement process.

Allyson Murray (Submitted photo)

Allyson Murray (Submitted photo)

Allyson Murray

Allyson Murray has a background in municipal administration, project coordination, summary capital planning, team building and economic development.

Since last fall, Murray has been the utility billing supervisor for the City of Westerville (pop. 39,700), where she oversees the billing and collection of more than $67 million in annual utility payments.

Previously, from 2015–2018, she was the village administrator of North Baltimore (pop. 3,500) in Wood County, where she oversaw the daily operations of the police, fire, water, sewer, parks, cemeteries and street departments. Prior to that she was the safety service director for the City of Fostoria (pop. 13,300) in northwest Ohio from 2012–2015.

Raised in Findlay, Murray graduated from Bowling Green State University with a bachelor’s of science in management and worked for 17 years as the training coordinator at Honeywell in Fostoria. In 2010, Honeywell was one of four major manufacturers in Fostoria to move their operation overseas. Out of a stated desire to be a voice for those affected by the plant closings, she returned to graduate school at Bluffton University. She also obtained a local project administrator certification through the Ohio Department of Transportation.

Murray is the mother of one son, Dalton, a recent Ohio University graduate.

Question 1: 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 2: 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 3: 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 4: 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 5: 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.

Josué Salmerón (Submitted photo)

Josué Salmerón (Submitted photo)

Josué Salmerón

A 2006 Antioch College graduate, Josue Salmeron is a certified project manager with more than 10 years of experience in the fields of affordable housing, nonprofit and government in the Washington, D.C., area.

Salmeron has been a managing director of community impact strategies for Community Preservation and Development Corporation, of Silver Spring, Md., since 2017. A limited-equity cooperative, the organization operates as a nonprofit with the purpose of retaining affordable housing in the District. Salmeron is also currently a board member for the DC Federal Credit Union and Fiesta DC, the sponsor of the largest Latino festival in the Washington, D.C., metro area.

From 2015–2017, Salmeron was the deputy director for Collaborative Solutions for Communities, a D.C. community-based organization. He also worked in several roles, including deputy director and grant program manager, at the Executive Office of the Mayor’s Office on Latino Affairs in Washington, D.C., from 2011–2015 and 2007–2009.

Born in El Salvador, displaced by civil war and raised in Washington, D.C., Salmeron graduated from D.C. public schools. He earned his bachelor’s degree in biomedical sciences from Antioch, serving also as a volunteer with the Miami Township Fire-Rescue while living here. He went on to get an MBA from Virginia Polytechnic Institute.

Salmeron has two children with his wife, whom he met while attending Antioch.

Question 1: Give examples of how you have fostered inclusion and acceptance and embraced diversity in your current and previous positions.

When I think and talk about diversity, it is more than color, gender, religion and sexual orientation, it includes language, political views, approach to the work, income class and more. I work on including people who haven’t been included in the past.

I attribute much of my professional success to my ability to foster inclusion, acceptance and develop a team that can work together, trust each other, understand and represent the diverse community that we seek to serve. The work starts within ourselves and addressing our own biases. I also seek to learn and understand the views and motivators of the individuals I work with.

I’ve also worked to address micro-aggressions in the workplace. After hearing a sermon on the forgiving heart, I sought to engage with others in the workplace on things that may seem “small” and not worth talking about it. While individually these things are not much, together they make people feel less significant as a human being and they create a hostile environment, which leads to poor performance.

In hiring, I’ve expanded the candidate pool beyond traditional website job postings to reach out to residents and stakeholders to refer candidates with the aptitude and/or attitude for the work.

Question 2: 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 role of policing in a community should be to create a safe social environment through collaboration with residents to proactively identify and mitigate risks and create policing priorities in partnership with the residents. As Village manager, I see my role with the police chief as a partnership and we’ll work collaboratively to provide the best service to residents that we can. This work starts with open, three-way communication with residents, the governing bodies (council, village administration, committees) and our colleagues (staff and police officers).

Question 3: What are your leadership and management styles?

Over the years I’ve focused my development as a motivation and situation leader to create a work environment that is strength based, solution-focused and inspires and motivate others.

I’ve worked on acquiring and building skills in mentoring and coaching employees that lead to creating a coaching organization, which leads to high performance.

With regards to management style, I focus on managing the work, not the people. Organizations and employees excel in an environment with clear expectations, performance standards and performance feedback and evaluation.

Question 4: Discuss your experiences in retaining, growing or enhancing business.

In addition to my MBA training from Virginia Tech, my early business experience was with my mother who often dragged me along for door-to-door sales for Avon, Amway and others. I’ve helped develop her retail business of 16 years that includes a multi-million dollar money services (remittance) business.

During my time at the Mayor’s Office, and as a grant manager, I managed investments of small business capacity building grants to help businesses improve their business practices and invest in staff development, products and services to meet market demands. Among my greatest impact was helping to reposition Latino businesses to meet the market demand of a changing demographic (gentrifying neighborhoods) and competition from big box retailers moving into their geographic space. 

As a business leader, I’ve led planning and execution of strategic initiatives, business intelligence, operational enhancements and innovative programming with the purpose of expanding customer base, diversifying into new markets and increasing revenue. These initiatives have included: identified and presented non-traditional and sustainable investment opportunities; drafted proposals, contracts, and grants; negotiated terms and oversaw execution; led major development initiatives for healthcare, education, housing, and arts; and drove operational excellence across multiple functions (finance, operations, HR, technology); and built strong and trusting relationships with government agencies, public/private partners, non-profit organization, banks and community leaders to achieve mutual goals.

Question 5: How will you engage with the public to keep citizens informed and to get feedback on your plans and activities?

I will make sure the administration and staff have all the means (skills and technology) to engage in two-way communication with residents in their preferred method, be it via email, in-person, phone, social, digital and print media. I want residents to have a direct link to me and others within the Village administration that are responsible for providing services.

Among my first acts as Village manager would be engage with residents, representatives, business and staff, to learn what is in place, what is working, what is not working, what we should do more of and what we should stop doing. Citizens should and will have the opportunity to provide input on relevant plans and activities that are under my purview as the Village manager. As Village manager, I will work for the residents and Council.

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