A Transformative and Proven Leader,
Ready to Serve You
I believe that at the intersection of Quality of Life and Quality of Place is Transformative Leadership! Transformative leadership is focused on relationships, collaborations, and partnerships. A transformative leader adapts to new situations and is better equipped to multitask and is capable of paying attention to goals and to the process for achieving them. I've had a variety of experience to exercise transformative leadership in Muncie, and I'm ready to SERVE you!
Promoting Citizen Engagement, Government Transparency, and Strong Ethics:
In order to address corruption, encourage citizen engagement, promote government transparency, and be more welcoming to all citizens of Muncie I propose the following:
Immediately review existing policies, procedures, statutes, agreements, and contracts to look for openings or loopholes that might allow or enable unlawful, unethical, and corrupt practices to take place.
Alter the processes for the Board of Public Works to grant more appropriate time to review contractual requests, change orders, and public works alterations. Changing these processes will allow agendas to be produced in advance for the public to review in a timely fashion.
Follow and enforce all local, state, and federal laws that include nepotism, conflicts of interest reporting, and Open Door Laws as well as annually train municipal employees and enforce mandatory annual conflict of interest form reporting for all department heads, appointed board members and other team members who work closely with the City Administration.
Create and host an anonymous phone line for residents to phone in and share any information or concerns that they believe to be an illegal activity or unethical practice. We will create a bipartisan commission of individuals that will investigate such concerns and they will report back to the cabinet of my administration. We will work closely and earnestly with Department Heads to look into and address any concerns that are brought to my administration’s attention.
Immediately create a user-friendly ADA compliant website that is mobile device friendly and that will host easily accessible information related to all minutes, agendas, proposed ordinances, resolutions, contracts, and other helpful information we are legally allowed to and responsible to share with the citizens of Muncie. This will also include easily accessible contact information for all Departments within City Government.
Continue to record all important public meetings and archive them on our website and provide live streaming of such meetings through various social media platforms so citizens can watch and view if they are unable to physically be present for such meetings.
Continue to host monthly “5 Minutes with the Mayor” chats, monthly meetings with religious leaders, and consistently visiting all community organizations, neighborhood association meetings, schools, local businesses and any other locations I need to be in order to hear from all citizens of Muncie.
Explore and research options for a Municipal Employee Merit Commission emulating how the Police and Fire Merit Commission function, operate and appoint. Propose and create a Municipal Employee Merit Commission that will have a minimum of 5 appointed members, and no local political party can have a majority of appointed members. Union representation will be granted an appointment.
Promote a civic environment that further democratizes government processes.
I understand that in order to build a stronger economic community, we must put forth a concentrated effort to promote and build a healthy workforce. This means ensuring that we are providing opportunities for our citizens to be recruited, trained and prepared for available positions. This will be accomplished by strengthening the continued community-wide partnerships and collaborations with the Muncie Area Career Center, MadJax Muncie, Purdue Polytechnics, Muncie Community Schools, Ivy Tech Community College, and local business leaders.
A strong economy is only as strong as its workforce. I understand that workforce that can collectively bargain is healthier, more stable, and attractive to skilled tradespersons. I support the use of union labor in development projects throughout the city.
Economic Development, Workforce Training and Living Wage Jobs:
I believe in the importance of building a strong local economy and supporting existing businesses
that are a vital part of our community’s ecosystem. As we continue to encourage new businesses to view
Muncie as their home, we will continue to support the existing business through infrastructure improvements and updates. I will work closely with the Muncie-Delaware County Chamber
of Commerce, local business leaders and the economic development community to ensure that we encourage new business developments that offer living wage jobs and benefits for their employees.
Neighborhood Revitalization and Addressing Blight:
I believe that all neighborhoods are important because they all make up this great City of Muncie. I plan to visit EVERY Muncie neighborhood for Terry Talks in order to listen to the concerns of my constituents and identify practical, efficient and sustainable solutions.
While working in Community Development, I’ve heard from a lot of homeowners and citizens about the need to address blighted and abandoned properties in Muncie. Residents are tired of living next to homes that aren’t habitable, that have broken windows and that are abandoned with a wide-open door or roof exposed to the elements of weather, theft, and in some cases arson. Some of these homes are owned by out of county individuals who have no intention of fixing up the home and bringing it up to code, and such owners need to be held accountable.
I will make blight reduction a top priority of my Administration. In order to address this I believe the City of Muncie and Delaware County must work together prioritizing and addressing specific properties that need to be addressed immediately due to the threat and hazardous conditions they bring to our neighborhoods. We can do this is by using a data-driven approach to code enforcement, land banking, and other best practices to be more proactive in targeting and reducing residential blight. We can immediately change our unsafe building processes to better handle the large number of violations and explore collaborative partnerships through receiverships.
I also plan to work closely with the Muncie Land Bank, that is already working hard to address some of these specific concerns and support their efforts to help revitalize neighborhoods in Muncie.
I believe that we will also need to work closely with our other elected officials from the city, county, and state to simplify the tax sale process to make it easier to get homes back on our tax rolls. We must look to create policies and procedures that help simplify the transferring of specific hazardous homes by cleaning up the transfer process. Doing so would allow a local organization or entity that plans to rehabilitate or demolish a structure to do so without unnecessary delay.
In Muncie, the struggles that we face didn’t just happen overnight. The blight we are currently facing is because of a perpetual decline in jobs, population, and resources. If we really want to make a difference we must focus simultaneously on a macro and micro level, meaning lot by lot, street by street, and neighborhood by neighborhood. If we want to help increase the value of our residents’ homes, we must also work collectively to increase and improve the value of our neighborhoods, schools, and infrastructure.
Youth Programming, Community Collaborations, and Education:
I believe that every student should have access to high-quality public education. I support our local school system and the new partnership with Ball State University. We must continue to work collaboratively with Ball State, the Joint Academic Innovation Council, and their Community Engagement Council to put together a long term academic plan that meets the needs of our families here in Muncie. I will also actively and persistently continue to support all early childhood education programs and work closely with Muncie BY5 to ensure that every child has access to the resources and programs they need from birth to age 5 because we know that 90% of brain development happens during this time. I will always strongly support our Teachers and would like to see more counselors and mental health professionals in our school buildings.
Creating a Mayor’s Senior Advisory Council:
Just as important as children are to our community, older adults are important, too. Many older adults choose to stay in Muncie after retirement; therefore, we need to recognize the need for quality of life opportunities and quality of place options for them. There are organizations like Alpha Center and Muncie-Delaware Senior Center which offer programs that get older adults out of their homes and provide opportunities for socialization, health care screenings, and other lifelong learning opportunities. I would propose to provide additional services in areas where the concentration of older adults is prevalent and/or growing. I would also create a Mayor’s Senior Advisory Council to help me better understand the issues and concerns of our communities most treasured residents.
Drug Rehabilitation and Restorative Justice:
It is time to declare our drug epidemic a public health crisis and work toward building comprehensive drug rehabilitation programs in our community that includes long term addiction recovery programs, medically-assisted treatment options, transitional housing programs and re-entry programs for individuals after serving sentences. I also believe support programs for families of those incarcerated, restorative justice programs and poverty reduction programs would also help us combat this issue.
We must admit that this problem isn’t confined to one race or socioeconomic status. It is a community problem. I will work closely with local healthcare leaders, public safety officials, neighborhood representatives, State Legislators and other people and organizations committed to this effort to seek suggestions, resources, and support.
I would like to create a Muncie Restorative Justice Advisory Council composed of a diverse group of stakeholders and leaders to create and implement a wide range of projects and initiatives that help reduce recidivism with non-violent committed and low-level crimes such as burglary, theft and drug possession.
I believe that if local community stakeholders and leaders come together with local institutions, organizations, law enforcement and neighborhoods that we can help reduce recidivism and low-level non-contact crime rates while simultaneously helping to improve public safety, help rebuild families, address addiction, and create a thriving and healthy community. This would include establishing more reentry campuses or facilities, transitional housing, inpatient and outpatient MAT treatment programs, accountability centers throughout the City, and mediation support staff to help with crisis intervention.
Intentional Inclusivity & Celebrating our Diversity:
As a respected community leader in Muncie who “wears many scarves” I know that people are constantly watching how I handle controversy, community outreach and collaborations. I am the mayoral candidate who has collaborated with and supported a vast array of individuals, groups, organizations, and causes. I have discovered, though, that some people have been mistreated and misinterpreted because they look different, learn differently or have alternative lifestyles. It has not been that difficult for me to handle situations where individuals have felt mistreated or disrespected or discriminated against because, as a person who “wears many scarves” I have been one of those people who has suffered because I look different or have had different experiences than many of the people with whom I interact on a personal and professional level.
What is my approach? How do I embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion? I simply Look, Learn, Listen, Level and Love. I look at the big picture, especially in controversial or unresolved situations. I help others to recognize that there are many parts and pieces to the big picture. There are also different perspectives, positions, policies and written/unwritten rules that help us learn to understand and respect each other. I learn by researching, asking questions, recognizing (not ignoring) the differences and am comfortable in declaring that I don’t know everything. Moreover, I have recognized the value of listening to and hearing what people are saying. I have also come to understand that it is not only important to listen to what people are saying, but we must listen to what people are not saying as a way of embracing differences. Leveling the playing field is a way of reminding myself that I am no better than anyone else. Because of that, I respond quickly to discriminatory actions. I may not have the solutions, but I must recognize unfair hierarchical behavior so that people can reflect on their actions and reactions. Finally, I am commissioned to love everyone, regardless of their backgrounds or beliefs. Because of my visibility in the community, people see that I honor the diversity in myself which, in turn, honors the diversity in others. There are no 2 people, programs or communities that are alike, which is something that a person who truly embraces diversity, equity, and inclusion honors and celebrates.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT/HUMAN CAPTIAL 2
YOUTH AND SENIORS
SPEAKING WITH MAYORAL CANDIDATES