It is often hard to get information about city council candidates, so in an effort to help people become more informed about pressing issues, I have spent the time interviewing the candidates for you. Please still feel free to reach out to them if you have additional questions.
Staci Carroll has a background in family science and has studied how groups work together. She has worked for several different companies, from a small tech startup to being a marketing manager at NuSkin. She has also served on the PARC tax advisory board and has seen many positive things already come from the PARC tax.
Staci feels that she brings a different voice to the city, as a young mother with kids in the fray. With a father who served as a state senator, Staci feels that she understands how to effectively work with others. She said that so-called back room deals are really just people building consensus ahead of a public meeting, so better solutions are developed.
When talking about growth, she said that we will be seeing a changing and younger demographic. We need to not be afraid of growth. She is glad that city council meetings are available on YouTube and wishes the website was more dynamic and the city Facebook page was used more to provide information to residents. She would also like to have a list of calls and complaints available to residents, along with how each was resolved and how long the resolution took.
To measure success, she wants citizens to feel like they are being listened to, and a specific plan for roads to be implemented. She wants to be seen as a collaborative problem solver who does a lot of work ahead of time before meetings.
Barbara Christiansen has a background in communication, having written for the American Fork Citizen and Daily Herald for 29 years. She wants to use her experience to help the city better communicate with their citizens.
Barbara said that in order to be able to communicate with a growing population, you have to use technology. You need to make sure to be trustworthy and accurate, so readers keep reading. You also need to make sure that you have relevant content, so that they care. A citizen may not care much about something passed in city council meeting, but they will care about how it affects them.
Data metrics can be used to measure how engaged citizens are with the content. Changes can then be measured as you modify the approach. You can also ask for feedback from citizens.
Barbara also wants to make it easier for people to engage with the city, whether it is giving feedback or complaining about a problem. She said people are always going to complain, but you can measure the size of the complaint. Is it a huge issue or something small? She said you can use this to measure success, and check things like Twitter feeds to see how people are doing in the city.
She said the city needs to be fair with all citizens, including renters. Most renters want to have a good relationship with their neighbors. We must make sure to be respectful to each other and share the burden of running a city.
Jeff Shorter has already served one term and is looking to serve another. He has a background as an attorney and feels his biggest accomplishment is keeping taxes down.
Jeff didn’t sign the ethics pledge about how you treat other candidates. He said that he acts ethically and doesn’t need to sign a paper to act ethically.
When asked about infrastructure liabilities, he said that lack of infrastructure maintenance doesn’t count as debt. We need to repair as we go and have a plan and deal with catastrophic problems like water mains breaking, when it happens.
For growth, he wants to follow the master plan for city zoning. He supports tax breaks for new development of businesses and considers them an investment to gain much more in taxes in the future. He said that the city organization was fine, and we may need to add another fire station in the future.
When asked about the role of technology, Jeff said he wanted to automate things like payments to the city. He said he has helped Rob Shelton, as he has figured out technology improvements.
He wants to measure success by the city working well and people being able to find things easily. He wants to move quickly and safely and act efficiently. Also, he wants to see the south side of the freeway be well developed.
Kyle Barratt has a Masters degree in public administration and has worked with construction and real estate. He believes that having a long history of his family being involved with city leadership will help him, because he will be able to get a historical understanding of certain problems. He feels being well informed is his biggest asset. He has attended most city council meetings or watched them on YouTube.
Kyle feels that proper preparation is key to the proper growth, especially on the south side of the freeway. As American Fork rapidly expands, he wants to make sure that we learn from other cities, such as Lehi, so we don’t make the same mistakes, and also learn from their successes.
He wants to make the website better and more efficient to find things. It needs more links to things, and more city meetings need to be put on YouTube. The city could take more advantage of local talent to help, and needs to help keep citizens more engaged.
Kyle’s biggest concern is infrastructure. He said that infrastructure liability is definitely considered debt. The city needs to make sure to manage those liabilities before they become disasters. He likened it to a hairline fracture. You can take care of it when it is small, or you can wait until it shatters and becomes a much bigger problem.
He wants to measure success by meeting the essential needs of the residents. He wants to measure how happy people are living in the city by sending out surveys.
Doug Richards has a background in environmental engineering and business management, and recently retired as a corporate executive. He believes that his family history of serving the city helps. Seeing the accomplishments of his father and grandfather inspires him to do his part. He also spent 10 years as a volunteer firefighter.
Doug has lived in several other cities, including Salt Lake City, Ogden, Mesa, Cedar City, and Las Vegas, while always maintaining some sort of residence in American Fork. He feels that this gives him an outside perspective, as he has seen how other cities have dealt with massive growth.
He is concerned with problems such as panhandlers, and they have become a much bigger problem in other cities and even become aggressive. Doug wants to educate people about how to more effectively help people that are actually in need, and about how many of the panhandlers don’t really need the help or are drug addicts.
Doug has worked with pharmaceutical companies and has been involved in finding ways to prevent problems with drug addiction, such as more diseases coming from sharing needles and STDs. He sees opioid addiction as a huge problem and hopes to see less addictive pain medication.
He also wants to help make sure we are prepared for other aspects of growth. He wonders about the wisdom of the Transit Oriented Development project by the train station, and if impact fees are too high for developers.
He hopes to see technology play a big part but wasn’t specific. He wants to combine with other nearby cities to outsource some of the human resource work to ADP to be more cost effective. He also wants to see if the city can utilize local technology companies. He believes that city resources need to speed up and get more done. He feels this can be done by offering incentives to employees.
He wants to see residents be more proactive in dealing with their issues, instead of just relying on the city. He gave a story about an abandoned irrigation ditch in front of his house. He called the city and received permission to fix it himself, while a neighbor just wanted to wait for the city to fix it, even with Doug’s offer of help.
Ernie John didn’t show up for the interview that he scheduled. Instead of the basing this off of an interview, it will be based off meet the candidate events.
Ernie has a history of participating in many different things from Scouts, to being a band dad, to being on several different boards concerning water. There are some concerns that he is so busy on different things that he will not be able serve effectively in the city council.
Ernie has a worked with the city’s water for his profession. He is very knowledgeable about how that works and about how things need to be expanded to meet the needs of a growing population. He was asked if it was a conflict of interest. He said he talked to the city and found out that it wasn’t.
Aaron Clegg was contacted via email, as he did not have a phone number listed on the city website about the candidates. He failed to respond.