Running for: OS Council Position 1. Running Against: Susan Conniry (her answers tomorrow)
What is your relationship with Rich Hartman and Lisa Scott?
I did not know Rich or Lisa before the election season began. I have gotten to know them through our campaigning and meet and greets and what I know of them both now is they are highly qualified and experienced people with a high level of integrity. I feel honored to have gotten to know them.
What have you done as a council representative to be worthy of being elected?
I was appointed to the council in September 2018 and elected to that position in November 2019. I am asking for your vote for Position #1 in 2021!
During my time on the city council:
We have paid down over $13 million in debt while still being able to continue to move the city forward in a strong common-sense direction.
We have addressed the needs of the golf course, an urban gem, to fix the Back 9 irrigation system that had not been revisited since the 1960s.
We are in the process of realizing a High Dunes Trail initial project (slated to run from Damon Road to the Chance a la Mer approach) that will draw tourists from across the state and offer residents an exciting and healthy place to enjoy our community.
I have supported the police and fire departments as we continue to grow and the departments have taken on new responsibilities.
I have championed the new Comprehensive Plan that will help set the city up for success for the next 20 years as we continue to flourish.
I believe in a strong balance of not spending beyond our means and continuing to invest in the infrastructure and projects needed to make this the Best Little Beach Town on the coast.
Piper Marie Leslie entered an Alford Plea (agreeing a conviction was likely) to charges of theft of funds from the Ocean Shores Chamber of Commerce when she served as director in 2018 and 2019. You were treasurer then. Did you know about this behavior? If you did not, should you have been more aware of what was happening with the chamber’s funds?
Regarding my time as Treasurer of the North Beach Chamber of Commerce:
I have been hearing rumors for a while now that imply I was involved in the demise of the North Beach Chamber of Commerce. I did not put much thought into those rumors as I don’t with most; but since I have been publicly called out by a former council candidate implying I was somehow involved in the trouble that ended the chamber, I now feel a response is necessary.
What I find concerning is I have never had any conversation with this person regarding the Chamber, nor has she or anyone else ever contacted me to ask any questions before believing and spreading this narrative. I have had a couple of in-person conversations during which I have readily explained my time on the Chamber. I would challenge this former council candidate, and
anyone else who is concerned, to do your due diligence and look into what happened, or better yet, have a conversation with me. As she has attempted to slander me and my integrity regarding this issue, I will state the facts, which can be verified by others involved.
I joined the Chamber Board in 2016 and was appointed treasurer at that meeting. It was also at this meeting that the new Executive Director was hired. What I soon learned was that the finances had been an issue for a long period of time; I was told they were “a bit of a mess.” In looking into the finances, I did see that they were marginal and there was reason to be
concerned. Mainly, expenses were more than income. The main source of income at that time was the dues paid by businesses to join the Chamber, which had not been well taken care of for a while and many businesses were no longer paying. I learned that the financial history had been lost during an upgrade of the financial software that had been done a couple of years prior.
But what I could find was easy to understand, and I saw where the income and expenses were coded. We were able to keep the chamber viable through initiatives that raised some money, mainly a few committed businesses that paid up to five years of dues in advance. That kept the doors open for a bit. We next approached the city for funding to help out; we were going to use
the funding to put on the Razor Clam and Sand and Sawdust festivals.
During my time as treasurer I would always bring the financial report each month to the board meeting and shared with everyone exactly where we were. I would never sign a check without proper documentation, and we had a policy of two signatures on every check. I was beginning to see some problems in the management of the organization and voiced my concern with
then-president Jeff Daniel. We did have an executive meeting where my concern was discussed; this was after the 2018 Razor Clam Festival. Any of the board members who were on during my time as treasurer will tell you about the financial report I brought to the board every month. In September 2018, I was appointed to the Ocean Shores City Council. As the Chamber was
asking for $30,000 for events, I felt that it would be a conflict of interest to be treasurer of the Chamber at the same time as being a sitting council member. So, I resigned as Treasurer in October 2018. I still had strong concerns about the leadership of the organization. After Jeff Daniel passed away in January 2019, I asked for a meeting with the then- president and vice president of the Chamber. I met with them in February 2019 to again voice my concerns that the Chamber was not going in a positive direction. I suspected that they were having financial problems again and was worried that it might not be sustainable. Unfortunately, after the 2019 Sand and Sawdust Festival, it became insolvent and had to close shortly after.
During my time with the North Beach Chamber of Commerce, it was financially viable, and I did all I could to make sure the finances were transparent and the whole board always knew the position we were in. After I stepped down, I do not know what reporting was done or what procedures, if any, were followed. There are many past board members who can verify my time as Treasurer. If anyone needs further information, please feel free to reach out to me. Thank You.
What I do know is the organization was viable when I stepped down as treasurer and looked like it could have sustained itself, any questions on its demise would need to be asked of the board members who were there when it closed.
Why are you running for Position 1 instead of Position 7? Did you have any discussions with Rich Hartman about this beforehand?
This is a question that has been asked numerous times. It is interesting that this has happened in past elections, yet no one had asked why other council members switched in the same way I am. That alone is worth looking into.
I am running for Ocean Shores City Council Position 1 because I want to be on a council that gets things done. It is always crucial to listen to people and get as much input as one can from citizens; once all the information is gathered, a decision should be made. Not everyone might agree with that decision, but at the end of the day we need to move the city forward.
It has been difficult at best over the last 18 months to get much done. There has been a great deal of chatter about this council not working well together, and to a point I can see that, the last budgeting process is a good example. I do believe I can work with anyone, and my opponent and I have worked well together on the ad hoc committee for the Comprehensive Plan. I also feel that decisions on where the city should be going and how we should get there need to be made.
I am a results-oriented person who listens and then decides. I do feel my opponent listens well but does not make many firm decisions, nor does she take a consistent stand on issues. That is why I am running for Position 1.
And no I did not discuss with Rich Hartman, I decided to switch before I met him.