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Mayfield Heights Mayor Hopefuls Answer Questions at Candidates Night

Here are some of the questions and responses from Candidate's Night at Executive Caterers of Landerhaven.

Mayfield Heights mayor candidates Anthony DiCicco and Donna Finney are pictured at Candidate's Night at Executive Caterers of Landerhaven. Photo Credit: Brandon Baker.
Mayfield Heights mayor candidates Anthony DiCicco and Donna Finney are pictured at Candidate's Night at Executive Caterers of Landerhaven. Photo Credit: Brandon Baker.
A room full of Mayfield Heights residents packed Executive Caterers at Landerhaven Tuesday night for a Candidate's Night event, aimed at helping voters with their selections for mayor and city council on Nov. 5.

All candidates gave opening and closing statements and were asked a couple of questions by John D. Swartz, president of the Mayfield Area Chamber of Commerce. Swartz also asked some questions that were submitted from audience members.

The prepared statements sounded very similar to those read at similar "meet the candidates" events earlier this month, but the questions gave attendees a further glimpse into the candidates' beliefs and visions. Mayoral candidates Donna Finney and incumbent Anthony DiCiccio didn't receive many questions because they also shared the panel with four of the six city council candidates.

Here's a look at a couple of questions and responses from Finney and DiCicco. The third candidate for mayor, Diane Snider, was unable to attend, due to a death in her family. Tomorrow, we'll review council candidate questions and answers.

DiCicco

Do you feel that the city needs a (full-time) mayor, and why? Would it include doubling the salary in additional cost to the city?

"As far as part-time mayor, it's part-time in that you are not paid full-time, but you're around a lot, you're answering a lot of questions. I'm available 24-7, email, 24-7 cell phone. Always available to any department heads or anyone working in the city or any residents. The department heads that we have are a phenomenal group of people. I don't believe that they need a full-time mayor to micromanage them. They're very good at what they do, trained and have a lot of experience in their departments. They're very good at what they do. So, no, I would say that the part-time mayor is a good position for this city at this time, and as you mentioned, it would be double the salary. At this time, I don't think the city can afford that, to tell you the truth. We are getting quality leadership from all of the part-time mayors that we've had. So I would say that no, we do not need a full-time mayor."

How is the city better prepared for an emergency like the blackout that occurred 10 years ago with police and fire?

"The new police chief, the new fire chief, they are young guys who are up on the latest training procedures, grants, all the things that they need to make sure that our city is prepared for the future and prepared for unexpected emergencies. The police chief and fire chief have just signed up for Ready Cuyahoga certification program, which is a county-monitored program that comes to go over your preparedness in a the event of an emergency situation, so they are proactive. They are looking for ways that they can serve the city and make sure that all the residents are safe. So, they are taking action daily, they're looking over all the latest implements they can to ensure the safety of our residents."

Other communities, if not most, have gone to live coverage of their council meetings on the government TV channel. Can we in Mayfield Heights also enjoy live coverage in the near future?

"We are looking into it. I think it will happen. The question is we need to upgrade our equipment. We're looking at it. It's a possibility, we just have to look at all the costs. It seems like the way to go. The way we're taping it now, it's not easy to see on the TV or on our web page. We are looking into it. We're going to weigh the cost, but I think it's going to be the way we decide to go in the future just because of residents asking for it, and I really do think it's the way to go."

Finney

Do you feel that the city needs a (full-time) mayor, and why? Would it include doubling the salary in additional cost to the city?

"I feel that we need a full-time mayor in the terms of somebody who's available to the residents and the businesses. You don't have to double the pay. The mayor makes quite a bit of money for what they do. It's not about the money, it's about being there for the people. When I say 24-7, I mean people can call you and feel comfortable calling your cell phone, feel comfortable emailing you and knowing that they're going to get a response very quickly. They don't have to wait days to get an answer. As far as being there full-time at City Hall, I think that the departments have to run their own departments. I think some weeks you're going to be at city hall 40 hours and the next week you may be at City Hall 10 hours. It's about the needs of the community. It's about being out in the community. It's about talking to the residents, talking to the business owners, seeing what we could do to improve the city.

What are your thoughts on regionalism that's been making its way around Cuyahoga County?

"I have mixed views on it. I think our city has excellent services. Our police, our fire, our service department—every department is excellent. I don't want to see any of those departments have to be shared with other cities if we are going to lose some of those services. If we can find a way to share services and make sure that everybody's needs are met, then I'm fine with regionalism. One of the things we just did was regionalize a pool house and field house. I thought it was a great idea. The schools did it and now we have a place for people to go swim, work out. That was great. Those kinds of things are what we need ... as far as combining all of our areas, that's something I'd have to look at in the future. I think that we need to look at our city and say, 'we have these strong services. Are we willing to jeopardize them by sharing them with other cities?' I see that when some of these other cities are taking building departments and combining them, and it's still in the early stages so it's hard to say if they will be successful or not. So, I'd like to step back and look at what other cities are doing and take it from there and see what could benefit our city."

Other communities, if not most, have gone to live coverage of their council meetings on the government TV channel. Can we in Mayfield Heights also enjoy live coverage in the near future?

"I am knocking on tons of doors and you would be shocked at how many people open the door and say, 'we watch the council meeting, but we really can't hear you guys. We really can't see you.' So, this is something that's important. With modern technology, there's no reason these meetings can't be clear, can't be mainstreamed and that the people at home can't watch them immediately as the council meeting is going on. The soundtrack needs to be repaired, the equipment is completely outdated. So it's time to look toward the future and get this all updated."

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