Eudora News and Information – www.eudorareporter.com
Over the coming weeks we plan on bringing you profiles of the candidates for both Eudora City Council and the Eudora School Board. We sent out a questionnaire to all candidates and asked them the exact same questions. Their responses to the questions will be printed verbatim. This is opportunity for you, the reader, to see not only their responses but how they respond. The questions in the survey came from both editorial board decisions and reader input.
The first candidate to profile is Kenny Massey. Massey currently serves as the Eudora School Board President and is turning his attention to Eudora City Council.
Mr. Massey, please tell about your background.
I am a lifelong resident of Eudora, graduating from USD 491 in 1975. I have approximately one and half years of college I have been in law enforcement for 27 years with 11 ½ of those years working for the Eudora Police Department. I am currently employed by Douglas County Sheriff’s Office as Undersheriff of the Corrections Division (Jail). Our budget within the Corrections Division is 5.6 million dollars, with approximately 100 staff members, volunteers, and outside contract providers. I am a 4 term (16 year) member of the Eudora School Board, Member of the Douglas County Senior Center Board of Directors, The Farm Incorporated Visitation and Exchange Center Advisory Board, and Eudora Library Board. A 2009 Graduate of the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia, and a graduate of the Kansas Certified Public Manager Program at the University of Kansas in 2007.
What qualifications do you have for a seat on the City Council?
As mentioned above I have vast experience of serving on Boards both in Douglas County but in particular Eudora. I feel my time on the Board of Education is valuable in understanding the needs of Eudora and those who live and work here. Due to being responsible for the 5.6 million dollar budget at the Correctional Facility I bring knowledge and experience to the budget process within the City of Eudora. I understand personnel matters both from the hiring, development, retention, and termination standpoint. I also understand that our employees are our most valuable resources. As a lifelong resident of Eudora I care deeply for the city and those who reside/work within our boundaries. I also believe it is imperative the City of Eudora continue to foster a working partnership with the Eudora School District, Douglas County, and other stakeholders within this area.
What do you think is the most important issue that faces the City Council?
I feel the most important issue facing the City Council is to be “good stewards” of the money set forth in the budget and to provide quality services within the budgetary constraints set forth. A huge concept one must understand in the public sector is that there is no “status quo” the city or any organization for that matter is either moving forward or going backwards. The current City Council has done a good job moving forward and I hope to continue this forward movement. As a council member I will continue to be a “good steward” of the money while providing what is needed to the city, residents, and employees within reason and budgetary limits.
How would you help improve that issue?
Managing any budget in particular a budget as large as the City of Eudora, School Districts, or Correctional Facility is like peeling an onion. The budget must be peeled back one layer at a time while taking the time to examine each layer in detail and exploring the consequences of budget cuts or expansions. In order to accomplish this task in a meaningful manner one must have a clear understanding of what the priorities of the city are, what the vision of the city is, and what the Mission Statement of the city outlines. “Improving the city budget” is a rather large scoped question allowing many general answers. I don’t know that I can “Improve the city budget” but I do feel as though I can assist the City Council in managing the budget while still providing quality services to the residents and employees of the city.
Many citizens complain about the water quality in the city. Do you have ideas on how to improve the water conditions?
I am one who agrees with the lack of water quality in Eudora. At this time I do not have enough information or understanding of the water production process within the city to provide an adequate answer to this question. I will say improving the quality of the water in Eudora will be something if elected I will focus on as it is an area of great importance to many residents of Eudora.
Many citizens feel taxes and utility costs are high. What are your opinions on taxes and utility costs?
Taxes are “high” throughout our entire area but I must admit I don’t see them being reduced anytime soon. I think what are more important to examine are what services and advantages are being provided from the taxes. Are the patrons getting the “bang for the buck” as it relates to the taxes they are paying? If not, those handling the spending of the tax dollars should examine more closely what they are spending the money on.
Utility costs in Eudora are “high” but the funds from utilities are a major source of income to the city and in reality guides what can be done in the future related to city infrastructure. Again, although I agree the cost of utilities are “high” in Eudora we need to examine what these funds are being spent on and what are the benefits to the residents of Eudora. If a shifting of priorities is needed in the management of these funds I will not hesitate to initiate these conversations.
What ideas do you have to increases businesses and jobs in Eudora?
First of all the city just can’t “increase businesses and jobs” within the city. A clear set of priorities need to be outlined as to the types of jobs and businesses we want within the city. I feel the city needs to strive to bring meaningful jobs and businesses here. Those that add life and vitality to the city while providing those who might chose to work within one of the jobs a meaningful and productive lifestyle. Just bringing “jobs and businesses” to Eudora isn’t the answer. Meaningful thought must be put into this process with again the best interest of the city in mind.
What other issues do you feel are important to the City Council?
1) Hiring, development, retention, and continued training of city staff. Employees are the backbone of any great organization or business. I feel there is a need for further professional development within the city and its staff members. City employees deserve the opportunity to grow and serve our needs in a more efficient manner.
2) Controlled growth within the city is vital to further progress. This controlled growth relates to both residential and commercial. I personally just don’t want to see Eudora growing to grow. We must provide thought and look into the future when planning for growth. Bigger isn’t always better.
Why do you want to sit on the City Council?
1) Passion for the City of Eudora and the future development of the city while providing for a vibrant life style for those who live within our city limits.
2) To add experience and knowledge to the government process in which the City Council is empowered to deliver to the citizens
3) My desire to be involved with the governing process of the city with no underlying agenda, meaning I have “no axes to grind” if elected to the City Council.
4) To continue the ongoing collaborative atmosphere between the City Of Eudora and School District while attempting to further collaborative efforts with other stake holders in the area such as Douglas County, surrounding cities, and the State of Kansas.
Again, we will be bringing you the responses from all the candidates over the coming days and weeks leading up to the election. You will have the opportunity to meet the candidates face to face on March 23rd when The Eudora Chamber of Commerce and Eudorareporter.com co-sponsor our “Meet the Candidates” forum. The forum will begin at 6:30PM. For more information about the forum you can click on this link: http://www.eudorareporter.com/eudora-news-meet-the-candidates/. Election day is Tuesday, April 5th.