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North Olmsted council president race 2013: Dennis Lambert

Incumbent North Olmsted City Council President Nicole Dailey Jones and challenger Dennis Lambert were asked identical questions concerning the job for which they are running.

1. Since the North Olmsted Council president does not vote except to break ties, how do you go about expressing your views and beliefs when it comes to legislation?

“Point of Information,” the right to express a concern regarding something specifically attached to the matters before us; however, all questionable matters should be satisfied in the Committee process before the regular Council Session.

Right now this is not being done since Council rarely examines legislation that is passed under suspension of the rules.

And when it occurs, the committee process is basically a “Do you like it or don’t you like it” approach.  This is wrong and needs correcting.

2. How do you see your role when it comes to working with the rest of council? The administration and the public?

The president serves by presiding over the regular sessions of Council. The fundamental role is outlined in the City Charter. Council should be functioning as a separate branch of government. I see my duties to include being the Parliamentarian at meetings along with offering guidance, suggestions and alternatives to what is brought before us. I will be an educator and Mentor to those members of Council who wish to legislate. My intent is not to be a “standout performer” in the process. Committee Chairpersons will be taking a more active role, especially when we meet as an entire body for fact-finding and to get public input. It will be the Chairperson of the committee who has the matter in committee that will chair the Council as a whole meeting.

City Council is the “direct connect” to the citizens of North Olmsted and I will be working with the public to make certain that their concerns and ideas are addressed fully and appropriately. I will be working with the administration in partnership to ensure that there is mutual respect for the separate duties and responsibilities that each of us performs. That means, we will work to accomplish the goals set by the administration while at the same time, the administration will need to be timely with their requests so that we can fully perform our duties as fiduciaries of the public trust.

3. During the past several administrations, there have been criticisms of City Council for either being too contentious and argumentative with the mayor or too much of a rubber stamp for a mayor and administration. How do you see council’s role in dealing with mayors and their administrations and how do you help facilitate that as council president?

The President of Council maintains order and focus. Our mission is that of a Legislative body. It begins with respect for the job each of us must do, both administratively and legislatively. By emphasizing the Committee process and resolving issues there, that should reduce or eliminate arguments and contentious behavior during meetings.

Council members will often pontificate about issues but rarely will they write an ordinance or resolution as a remedy. I will be working to correct that by sending issues of merit to committee. I will work with those who wish to author legislation. I will author concept ordinances and resolutions from time to time and utilize our Law Department as needed. The whole idea is to eliminate the rhetoric, back and forth, and work on solutions.

4. What do you see as the major issues in the city of North Olmsted and how do you as council president go about dealing with them?

Waste, that’s the major issue for North Olmsted – wasted time getting things done and wasted money doing them.

Today, North Olmsted operates top down administratively, in an authoritarian manner. City Council is a mere formality of little meaningful consequence in the process – just there to fulfill the requirements of the Charter to be there. The mayor determines what needs to be done, but Council should be a partner in how it gets done. It’s not happening that way. Once that is corrected, the people should begin to see results in the things they want.

5. Are there any changes that you would like to see in the responsibilities and powers of the council president? And if so, what are they and how do you enact them?

I would like to see the President have the exclusive power to assign members of Council to committees and appoint the Chair and Co-chairs of those committees. I would also want council to operate under Roberts Rules of Order with the Rules of Council being codified. These things can be established either by ordinance or by Charter. Ultimately the body makes these decisions.

 

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