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The LIVING Interview (continued) continued from page 23... issue is the proposed community center and a final disposition of the old high school auditorium. The voters approved the construction of the Community Center in a bond election in 2006. It was always intended to be the last project to be completed after the new Public Safety Building, Fire Station, a second library and several other smaller projects. Over the years several things changed and the Council is just now moving forward with this project. The community center needs to be completed to allow us to deal with the old Auditorium because our Community Services Department occupies part of the building. GC LIVING: What is the worst thing that happened to – or worst failure of – the city government process while you were mayor? MAYOR JACKSON: One of the challenges with being on any board is it takes a majority to do anything. So while you may have a good idea and think this is what we need to do, if you can’t drag three other people along with you it isn’t going to be done. And it’s compounded when it’s a controversial issue and you have people who are diametrically opposed on the other side. And, certainly as you look at some of the things that we’ve voted on over the years, I think the council generally gets along really well with each other or really good about not holding no votes against each other . And I can only think of one time when I was on the short end of a four-two vote and I frankly don’t even remember what it was. But, oh I do it was a land use issue. And it was a weird set up where they needed a super majority of the council, and it ended up being a four two vote and they needed five people, and the seventh person wasn’t ... I mean it was ... GC LIVING: Was that the car crusher by any chance? MAYOR JACKSON: No, no the car crusher never made it to us. They kind of fell apart before they got there, you know? But, super frustrating, and while it’s a good mix of council ... I mean we’ve got young viewpoints, we’ve got old viewpoints, we’ve got conservative people, we’ve got liberal people, we’ve got women for the first time in a long time, we’ve got small business people, we’ve got a non-profit person. We’re going through an issue right now

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on this employee PTO [Personal Time Off] thing. Oh my God, you know we have spent hours talking about PTO. And I’ve managed people before so I understand that if you manage a lot of people you’re not going to keep all of them happy all the time, that’s just the way it works. So you have to do what you think is right for the most people at work in that organization. We have a small group of people that have gotten to a couple of council people who have said, “This PTO plan is the worst thing in the world.” You talk to most people un-

“...one of the things I’ve learned about being the mayor: four votes wins.” der the age of forty, they would much rather work under a PTO program than the kind of program that we have. We had a traditional, government-operated plan where you get eight hours of vacation and eight hours of sick leave a month. You can only use sick leave if you’re sick and everything else you have to use vacation. And the younger generation looks at total time off. We had a police officer last night who got up and spoke to the issue and he said, “I’ve been with the department nine years. I’m a huge supporter of the PTO program; I’ve got four kids at home. My worst nightmare is if something happens to me and I don’t have enough sick leave to be able to recover from whatever the problem is...” And he said, “Not only that, when they’re sick I have to take a day of vacation when it’s my turn to watch them.” So I think that the vast majority of the employees want it. The industry is going to PTO, but we’ve had a couple of council people that are just out of it, that they don’t like PTO. I think one of them doesn’t fully understand the difference, and I think the other one is really catering to that small group of employees that are saying, “We don’t like this as a plan.” And I think at least in my case, we have fifty thousand residents that we’re responsible to. We have four hundred city employees who we try to do the best job we can for, and overwhelmingly, our em-

ployees said, “We like this PTO program, would you like to do this PTO program?” We had a handful of people that said, “We don’t like it, we want more.” And that’s what was up for two months, just frustrating. GC LIVING: Okay, perfect set up for this question. On any controversial issue that ever comes before the council, invariably there was one council member who gets press. The newspaper runs a story with his opinion, his picture, his name, pull quotes, highlighted elsewhere in the article, continuations, and yet I don’t see any of the other council members ever being quoted in the paper nor the mayor. Why is that and do you think that would help? MAYOR JACKSON: I can’t speak to why the story doesn’t quote everybody; you know I don’t own the newspaper. So I don’t know what makes them tick. My style as a mayor is that I let all of the council members ask their questions first. And if I had the same question, I’m not going to ask it again. So consequently, a lot of the time when we’re having a discussion, my questions have been answered. It’s time to vote, if I need to be persuasive about an argument I’ll engage at that point. So that’s probably one of the reasons why you don’t see me quoted in the papers as often as others. GC LIVING: So the faction that looks to the public like it’s the one that gets more press doesn’t really prevail very often. But the reasonable part generally sets the directions, but never, ever gets any press? MAYOR JACKSON: Yeah, let me tell you though… one of the things I’ve learned about being the mayor: four votes wins. If I’m pretty sure that there are three votes that are in favor of the way I think I want to go, I want to call for the vote and do it, because if you continue to discuss it you run the risk of having that four-three vote become a three-four vote. And, you know people ask all the time, you know, what’s different? There is no difference between being the mayor and being a council member. The only difference is you get to run the meeting. And so, if you see that the issue is, we’re done talking about it, and you know it’s a four-three vote, why continue to talk about it? Vote it and move on. We don’t have a lot of four-three votes but we do have them occasionally. GC LIVING: In your opinion what’s the worst

continued on page 60... THE THE LEADERSHIP LEADERSHIPEDITION EDITION

Profile for ROX Media Group

Golden Corridor Living Magazine  

Fall 2015

Golden Corridor Living Magazine  

Fall 2015