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Hello everyone!

 

Thank you for visiting my website.  I especially want to welcome all the Springfield residents who are interested in our city's wellbeing and who are taking time to check out my background and past accomplishments.

 

I look forward to meeting you in the future. 

 

Please feel free to

e-mail me with any questions or comments.

 

Best regards,

Christopher M. Donegan

 

Springfield, MO - Skyline

 

 

Take a look at some of the articles that I have written and interviews that I have given in the past:

 

Firefighters Questionnaire

 

Community Free Press Response before Primary

 

News-Leader General Election Questions

 

Jakehammer Questions

 

Life of Jason before Primary

 

Life of Jason before General Election

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you for taking the time to visit my web site and

getting to know more about me and my views.

 

 

Life of Jason before General Election 2009

 

Jim & Chris:

   Good luck to both of you.  I have a list of new questions that I would appreciate if you could answer and allow for posting on my website.


1.  The police/fire pension is still a problem for the city.  Some are proposing a plan that would return the plan to 60% funding by not renewing the CIP tax.  Do you feel that's the best solution or are there other alternatives that have not been seriously considered? 

 

I think the proposal brought forth by SOS – Save Our Springfield is viable, given the current condition of the economy and the desire by many to keep taxes low.  If a sales tax for the pension fund is not passed by voters, there are other options.  One of these options is to provide more money from the general fund.  This general fund number would have to continue to grow, though, from $13 million in FY2009 to almost $20 million by FY2019 to keep up with the actuarial recommendations.

 
2.  Did you vote for the one cent tax for police/fire pension and why do you think it failed? 

 

No I did not vote for the sales tax.  I think it failed because it was rushed to the voters.  The City Council voted for it to be put on the ballot just mere days before the deadline to get it on the February ballot.  I also think it failed because of the shear tax increase itself.  An extra $200.00 consumption tax is a lot for a family of four who only make $20,000-$25,000 per year and have other federal, state, and local taxes to pay.  Finally, I think it failed because citizens were turned off because facts were being turned into scare tactics to get voters to say yes to the tax.

3.  What is your opinion of the performance of new city manager Greg Burris? 

 

Mr. Burris has been asked to manage a ‘house of cards’ financial situation here in Springfield.  As a citizen, I would have preferred the City Council have waited until a new council was sworn in before hiring a City Manager.  This became more evident when the men and women doing the hiring all decided to leave their positions, with the exception of Mr. Whayne.  His insistence of a one cent sales tax as the only option backfired when a majority of voters in February rejected this option.  I think the willingness of Mr. Burris to work with both liberal and conservative council members will allow him to keep this position for many years.  If he chooses not to, the Council will hire someone who will. 

4.  How can you as mayor try to cross and heal the harsh divisions that seem to have developed in Springfield regarding how our local government is operating?  What is missing on Springfield City Council is more than one person consistently asking the question, “Are we spending the people’s money wisely.” 

 

The only way to solve this problem is to elect a person, or group of people, that are willing to ask this question on every project, regardless of the dollar amount or where the money is coming from. 

5.  As mayor, what would you to stay in contact with the citizens and get their direct feedback on your performance, Council's performance and city staff performance? 

 

I would encourage emailing, more so than we do now.  I would be willing to become a regular guest on KWTO-AM and KSGF-FM and talk to citizens via telephone.  I would participate in a Mayoral Webcast Address, similar to the one President Obama started before taking office in January.  Finally, I would try to attend more open to the public events (i.e. Symphony, Local High School and College Sporting Events, Neighborhood Association Meetings) to give citizens the opportunity to see me and feel more comfortable approaching me with their compliments and concerns.

6.  Would you support examination of the city charter to make the Mayor's or City Councilmembers' positions paid full-time jobs?  Why or why not? 

 

Yes.  I think starting with a paid Mayor would be a positive step in keeping our City Manager more accountable.  A paid Mayor could also help other Councilmen and Councilwomen prepare for the meetings by providing research and statistical data.  Finally, a paid Mayor would get to know what each City Staff employee does, and how difficult their job is, before voting to approve cuts to employee pay or before voting to freeze positions in departments.  I do not expect a paycheck as your Mayor.  I am speaking for the men and women who would come after me.  I would also support pay for the other City Council members.

7.  As people look at the city budget, many have suggestions about "non-essential" services that could be cut to save money.   If as Mayor you were forced to look at cutting items, what would be the first three city services you would cut and why? 

 

Of the cuts Mr. Burris proposed on January 6, 2009, the easiest cut would be to eliminate the new security system recently installed at the Busch Municipal Building and City Hall.  The second I would agree to is eliminating city funding for the 13 nonprofit groups the city currently assists.  The third cut I would agree to is suspending the deferred compensation matching program for long-time city employees.  This third cut would make it harder for Springfield to attract Kansas City and St. Louis type managers, but is appropriate given the mismanagement of taxpayer money by the previous long-time City Manager.

8.  Recently the wayfinding signs passed Council twice despite some harsh citizen criticism.  If you were faced with a situation where you are having loud objections from segments of the community but you feel strongly that doing what they don't want is best for Springfield, what do you feel would be the best way to communicate that information to the citizens as a whole? 

 

There are a number of ways that you, as a City Council member, will base your vote.  The first has to be personal conviction.  The citizens voted for you because of who you are and what you think about the issues.  The second has to be constituent desire.  If 100 people email you from your zone, or the city as a whole, and 90 out of the 100 want you to vote a certain way, you must at the very least seriously consider their request.  This is what Councilman Manley did when voting no on funding the Wayfinding sign program.  The third is the so-called “mandate of the ballot box.”  This is how a majority of the City Council based their vote on the Wayfinding signs, and this is also the reason my opponent, Jim O’Neal, would support the Wayfinding sign program.  This third basis for voting has its merits.  If this was how you would always vote on issues, though, there would not be any need for a City Council.  The City Manager could just propose a two year plan for the city, the voters would pass or fail the plan, and the City Manager would execute the plan.

9.  Part of the wayfinding discussion was the fact the CIP was passed by the voters and Council members didn't want to override what the voters had said to them.  Do you feel that sometimes, especially when there is voter turnout in the 15-20% range, that the majority of those voting could be making the wrong decision?  Why or why not? 

 

No.  Taxes are presented to the public, and the voters who really care show up to make their desire known.  The renewal of the CIP has become almost second nature to voters since being introduced in 1989.  Until recently, most Springfield residents assumed the city was in relatively good shape financially, and liked the idea or more, more, more in the way of amenities and actual needs the CIP tax provides.  To increase the percentage of turnout, I would suggest offering tax rate changes in conjunction with tax rate changes and bond issues of other overlapping political subdivisions such as Greene County or the Springfield R-12 School District.  I would also like to see major tax increase intitiatives offered for public vote sometime other than February, if possible.  

10.  With reports of layoffs and climbing unemployment numbers, what could you do as Mayor of Springfield to increase employment opportunities and bring businesses (and jobs) to Springfield? 

 

You, as a member of the workforce, are why businesses want to relocate to Springfield.  I don’t feel its right to spend large amounts of taxpayer money, via tax abatement or free to the new business infrastructure, to entice large employers to relocate to Springfield.  I want to create jobs in the region, not take away jobs from another municipality close by. Businesses will continue to come to Springfield, Missouri if the city continues to offer lower taxes, fewer regulations, stronger infrastructure, and an educated workforce.  As Mayor, I will make sure our zoning regulations and sign regulations give new and existing businesses more flexibility.  I will make sure new and existing businesses are protected from crime and property destruction by putting Police and Fire protection as the top priority.  I will vote for the completion of infrastructure projects that are needed first and wanted second.  Finally, I will encourage young people to finish High School, learn a trade, and graduate from college with the help of the members of the Mayor’s Commission for Children.

 

Greene County, MO

Greene County, MO

Greene County, MO

   

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Paid for by Donegan for Council - Christopher Donegan, Treasurer