I received a call from the Mayor earlier this week. He seemed excited and wanted to organize a public question and answer meeting with him and me at the Klondyke. Yesterday I received an email communication from the Office of the Mayor indicating he has asked his office to organize that meeting at the location of my choice.
I am beyond honored that the Mayor holds my efforts in such high regard and requests that I host the event. I also am impressed Mayor Flaggs is willing to be one hundred percent transparent and put himself out there to answer any and all questions on any topic from me and the public as he indicated in our phone call. It is rare in our modern political times to have an elected official who is willing, while in office, to be so open.
Not only do I accept the offer, I wish to expand it to three question and answer sessions. The first session beginning today are questions from us. The next session will be from the public as gained from communications to Vicksburg Daily News and the communities largest Crime and Discussion group on Facebook. The third session will be follow up questions or any issues that remain less than clear to the public. Since you’ve insisted I choose the location I choose online and in writing at Vicksburg Daily News. The format will be to ask you questions in writing and have you respond in the same way. This way we’ve created a permanent record for the public to review and your intent or meaning will be clear. You will also be able to dispell the endless rumors that always seem to permeate an elected official.
It is our sincere hope it was your intent with these question and answer sessions to explain issues to the voters and not play a game common to lesser politicians. That lesser game is to stack a room full of paid supporters to cheer and jeer on cue. This online, written format will allow a clear and concise question and answer composition on the issues without distraction. Thank you again for your forthright approach to addressing the issues and for not using political chicanery.
So, with that understanding, here we go with the questions. Again, please respond in writing to the email address you sent the invitation. You requested a two two-week time limit, so please respond within two weeks. Here are today’s questions:
- Are you personally offended if a citizen disagrees with you on an issue?
- Do you feel it is a personal attack if a citizen points out an elected officials voting record?
- You’ve been photographed with President Donald Trump. Do you feel he is doing a good job as President? Why or why not?
- Under Mayor Leyens the city payroll was at 63%. It had risen to 71% under Mayor Winfield. What is the current percent of the city budget that goes to payroll?
- How much of that payroll, dollars and percentage please, is for the Water and Gas department?
- How much income is generated annually by billings from the Water and Gas department?
- What is the percentage of gas lost to unbilled accounts? Specifically how much gas is purchased, in storage, used and billed versus how much should be used and billed?
- How much of that payroll is for the Police Department?
- Do you believe the community feels safe? Why or why not?
- How many officers are assigned to only patrol shifts each week(this number would not include officers on leave, military duty, sick leave, reassignment or any other officer other than on patrol)?
- How many dollars are generated by Vicksburg Police Officer traffic tickets of all sorts?
- You’ve publically berated the last Police Chief for not doing what you thought was right. In retrospect, do you feel that was a good approach? Why or why not?
- You’ve recently advertised a budget excess of 1.8 Million and your belief that there are another million dollars of fat in the budget. Could some of that money be used to pay our officers more money? Why or why not?
- Does offering higher pay have any impact on attracting and retaining employees? Why or why not?
- Including medical benefits, retirement, cell phones, vehicles, expense budgets and all other money spent, what is the actual income of the Mayor and Aldermen?
- How do you personally feel about the President’s response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and his response to the issues in Charlottesville last year?
- You’ve openly berated citizens in meetings who have asked questions. Why do you feel that is necessary or productive? Please explain why you use that approach.
- Do you prefer citizens who are informed on the issues and hold elected officials accountable or do you prefer citizens who let you do the thinking for them? Why?
Vicksburg Daily News would like to extend the offer to a question and answer period in this format to all the elected officials in our community. We would like to make a special mention to Alderman Mayfield and Alderman Monsour to also be as transparent and forthcoming as our Mayor via this format.
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