More in Community Voices:
By Tim Schaefer–
I am humbled and honored to have been elected by the voters of Citrus Heights in District 3 on Nov. 3, 2020.
Since being sworn-in and seated on Dec. 10 there have been four City Council meetings and one study session. Each meeting having various levels of controversy, from the election of Mayor and Vice Mayor, to the most recent vote to hire William Zenoni on the heels of the very abrupt departure of the Assistant City Manager Ronda Rivera.
To clarify why I have voted “no” to some of these issues I would like to share my philosophy for my decision making as well as how I conduct myself as a member of the community. My guiding principles of governance are:
I am accountable to not only the voters that put their faith in me on election day, but every resident of Citrus Heights. The opinions and thoughts of Citrus Heights residents will always be paramount in my decision-making process. While it is impossible to please everyone, I believe it is important that every Citrus Heights resident can have their opinions heard to make Citrus Heights a better place to live and work.
After considering community input and deciding, I will not change my vote to suit staff or other council members. All topics should be weighed and debated by the members of the Council and unanimous votes should not be the goal.
Transparency in Government
Government is designed to serve the community. Generally, a smaller government is more efficient with less “red-tape” and bureaucracy. This creates more of a “grass-roots” environment with city employees more connected to the community and the public they serve. More employees, more layers of government only create a less efficient, more expensive workforce. The goal of those governing should be creating jobs and ensuring public safety, while maintaining a budget that does not require tax increases.
As a City Council member my role is oversight and to provide ongoing policy decisions and senior staff accountability. An effective manager delegates responsibility and empowers subordinates with the ability to make reasoned and rational decisions. The best reasoned decisions can result in an unintended bad outcome. Good or bad outcome, the focus must be on replication of successes and minimizing failures.
While I may seem oppositional at times, I do believe building relationships with my fellow Council members is important in helping to govern our community. However, I will push hard for reforms where needed and my loyalty resides with the residents of Citrus Heights. All relationships, personal and professional should tolerate and respect differences of opinion.
The spirit of the Brown Act is to maintain a level of truth, fairness, and transparency in government. I strongly believe in those tenets and will make every effort to ensure the Act is adhered to.
My initial priorities are on evaluating, prioritizing and, where appropriate reducing expenses. When the residents of Citrus Heights believe their tax dollars are being managed by great stewards, perhaps there can be a small temporary tax increase to handle some of the bigger ticket items that need funding. To be clear I am not in favor of a tax measure that results in government growth that would require any kind of permanent tax.
Maintaining public safety is a mission that I expect to be prioritized by executive staff. Our law enforcement officers are dedicated professionals I am extremely grateful for their service.
As the recovery from this pandemic begins, focusing on economic development and recovery must be a priority. We need to consider ideas to make our city a destination again. We need to be friendly to new business and renew our commitment to supporting initiatives that bring speedy development and redevelopment to our city.
On March 16, a strategic planning meeting called the “Strategic Planning Retreat” will occur where City Council and staff collaborate and set goals and objectives for the next three years. This meeting happens twice per year to update the Strategic plan. In anticipation of this meeting, please email me your thoughts and ideas. I can be emailed at [email protected]
Tim Schaefer is a 30-year resident of Citrus Heights and was elected to the City Council in 2020 for the newly created District 3 seat.
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