Americans tend to have short memories, so it’s easy for us to forget what Saginaw was like just four or five years ago.
By a 5-4 vote, City Council fired one city manager. A year later, it fired her successor, also in a 5-4 vote.
The City’s audit, delayed for months because of poor record-keeping, cites eight material weaknesses. The auditing firm says it can’t start the following year’s audit, already a month late, because Saginaw’s financial records are in such disarray.
The city manager says the solution is to hire a new auditing firm.
Millions of dollars in taxes and fees go uncollected because of lax controls.
Council is deadlocked for two months before choosing someone to fill a vacancy.
Labor contracts languish. Employee morale sinks. Ranks of police and firefighters continue to shrink. And among Saginaw residents and the local business community, confidence in Saginaw’s leadership reaches new lows.
That was only four or five years ago … and that’s only the highlights.
Since then, Saginaw has hired a highly effective city manager who has not been afraid to make difficult decisions that are in the best interest of the city.
Saginaw’s financial management systems are cleaned up and current. For the first time in years, Council can get up-to-date quarterly and monthly reports on the city’s financial condition.
Audits are filed on time. Material weaknesses found in past audits are corrected. Saginaw’s budget documents are recognized for their quality.
Millions of dollars in uncollected revenue is collected.
For the first time in years, the city adds police officers and firefighters. Council works together – along with city staff – as a team determined to make the city better.
I’m not about to take credit for all the good things that have happened in the four years since I was elected to Council. But I think my business experience, common sense and skill in building consensus have been factors that have made a huge difference. And I think my Council colleagues and I have created tremendous positive momentum in the long, difficult task of helping Saginaw become, once again, a great city.
As we face new economic, social and legislative challenges, Saginaw cannot afford to lose that momentum. Nor can it afford to lose the dedicated, experienced people who helped create it.
That’s why I’m asking you to help re-elect me to Saginaw’s City Council on Tuesday, Nov. 3.