The Union Recorder

Election 2013

October 31, 2013

District 6 Q&A: Andrew Strickland

Challenger Andrew Strickland has been involved in public service for the past 10 years, delivering emergency care to the sick and injured as a paramedic.

District 6 Q&A: Andrew Strickland

Challenger Andrew Strickland has been involved in public service for the past 10 years, delivering emergency care to the sick and injured as a paramedic.

He is married to Gracie Strickland, who is a registered nurse at Oconee Regional Medical Center. They have two children, son Gavin, who is in the second grade at John Milledge Academy and Sawyer Grace, 15 months old.

Q: Why should citizens of your district vote for you?

A: I have a plan for our city that is achievable and reasonable. First, I want to increase transparency. I want to do this in two ways. One is enabling the citizens to view the work sessions from home. This is crucial, in that it gives citizens the insight as to how they are represented through thought and debate. The second way I want to increase transparency is include clear goals for every department on the city webpage, with the ability to track every departments progress in achieving those goals. This could be anything from implementation of a new service project, to cost savings. Increasing transparency is key in creating accountability, and accountability is what keeps Government effective and efficient.  
My second initiative is regulatory reform. I have spoken with numerous business owners in Milledgeville who have told me that starting a business here was extremely difficult. In many cases, they spent considerable time and money in an attempt to please government, whether it was a steal beam that was a few inches off or a grease trap that cost thousands more than necessary. Milledgeville needs to be the easiest place around to do business. That's why I want to work hand-in-hand with the Chamber of Commerce and other business owners to create responsible regulatory reform that supports establishing businesses. Together we can do this in a reasonable and responsible way.
My third initiative, we need an aggressive plan to root out waste and inefficiencies. We need to do this so we can balance the budget without using the water and sewer fund. Our goal needs to be 10 percent reduction in the general expenditure. This is achievable by examining our service delivery models and supply chains.  This will enable us to isolate inefficient areas of government, create an action plan with a set of goals as I mentioned earlier, and track our progress towards those goals in a transparent manner. I have implemented the program with success in the past and I can do it again. 
Lastly, once we have increased transparency, created a business-friendly environment, and corrected our budget shortfalls, we can improve our infrastructure. We will have the water and sewer fund to improve our roads and help beautify our city without adding to the general expenditure. 
This is a sound and reasonable plan that gets us on the right track again. We are in need of dedicated leadership that is determined to unleash our potential. That is why I think you should vote for me.

Q: How would you describe your job as councilman?

A: The job of Councilman is to understand what  issues there are to solve in the given district and have a plan to address them. Additionally to serve as advocate for the people of your district and community. 

Q: Will you support allowing a unification measure to go to ballot for citizens to decide — yes or no? Explain your answer.

A:  I will support a unification measure. The current charter is under revision and I hope to review those revisions as they become available.

Q: How will you implement your vision for Milledgeville?

A: I will implement my vision for Milledgeville through working with others on council and citizens. I will also work everyday to move the agenda forward by setting a series of goals and moving to accomplish them one by one.

Q: What should the city do to address emergency service issues/concerns with the county?

A: The biggest issue I'm aware of is the separation of MPD dispatchers from the county dispatch center. In the instance of a “multi-agency” response, it is critical that the dispatchers of city and county entities be located in one area. This makes the unfortunate situation of a mass casualty incident run smoother and faster. A unified dispatch center only increases interoperability, creates a more reliable service to the citizens and is ultimately safer for our public safety personnel. This is achieved through our current service contract with the county, in which the city pays for the service to be provided. I believe this is the best model.  

Q: Do you think the city’s ethic policy makes a strong enough statement? Should changes be made to the policy?

A: The ethics policy should have more teeth in it. Specifically, if someone on council is found misusing taxpayer dollars, they should have to pay that money back. Also, I think the document should be a fluid one so that we can make improvements as needed through the learning process.

Q: What, if anything, do you feel the city should have done differently in handling its first ethics complaint under the new policy?

A: I think it should have been handled in a more timely manner. As I understand it, the matter has not been before council yet. It sits lingering around election time, which inevitably leaves people wondering if and how the current leadership will handle the violation.

Q: How can city officials strengthen communication between city and county leaders and departments?

A: It is imperative for the city and county governments to work together. The ball is currently rolling with the city-county joint meetings but these meetings need to be more frequent.  I intend to continue what has been taking place and build upon that.

Q: As a member of Council, how will you support the Central State Hospital redevelopment efforts?

A: I look forward to continued support for the CSH Redevelopment Authority. It is our biggest untapped resource and I look for big things to be happening in the near future. Really it comes down to funding from council, which I think is necessary to the revitalization. [CSHRA Executive Director] Mike Couch is making headway and I support him in his efforts there. As issues may arise, I will handle them keeping in mind the necessary nature of the project.

Q: What is your view of the chain of command in city government and who holds city officials accountable?

A:  It is only by the consent of the governed that government exists at all. Therefore, the people of Milledgeville hold the vast majority of power. From there it trickles down to Council, mayor, city manage, and department heads. Ultimately, it is the citizens responsibility to hold officials accountable through the ethics committee and/or the power of the ballot.

Q: How will you support the Milledgeville-Baldwin County Communiversity project at the former Shaw building and what other efforts can be made to retain young professionals in this community after they graduate?

A: I think the Communiverisity project is a breath of fresh air to our community. It can help us in two areas; the stagnant middle class job growth and student retention. I applaud David Sinclair and his team for assembling investors and making this dream a reality. I will be watching the progress of this project closely and will certainly call on the major players in this project as I address regulatory concerns.

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Election 2013
  • District 6 Q&A: Steve Chambers

    Incumbent Steve Chambers, 56, is married to Teresa Wilkinson Chambers.

    November 4, 2013

  • District 6 Q&A: Andrew Strickland

    Challenger Andrew Strickland has been involved in public service for the past 10 years, delivering emergency care to the sick and injured as a paramedic.

    October 31, 2013

  • District 5 Q&A: Daniel McDonald

    Challenger Daniel McDonald, 32, is a graduate of the University of Georgia and an AmeriCorps alumnus who moved to Milledgeville in 2008 to report on local government for The Union Recorder.

    October 30, 2013

  • District 5 Q&A: Pam Beer

    District 5 City Council challenger Pam Beer and her husband, Pat, have lived in Milledgeville for 16 years.

    October 30, 2013

  • District 5 Q&A: Richard Mullins

    Incumbent Richard Mullins Jr. is a lifelong resident of Milledgeville and most importantly of District 5.

    October 30, 2013

  • District 4 Q&A: Walter Reynolds

    Walter Reynolds is a lifelong resident of Milledgeville and Baldwin County. He is a graduate of Baldwin High School and Georgia Military College.

    October 29, 2013

  • District 3 Q&A: Denese Shinholster

    Incumbent Denese R. Shinholster is currently one of the senior most elected officials serving in city government.

    October 28, 2013

  • District 3 Q&A: Phillip Smith

    Phillip Smith is a native of Milledgeville. He grew up on the south side of town in Hardwick, near Central State Hospital. He is married with two children and works as a business manager.

    October 28, 2013

  • District 2 Q&A: Jeanette Walden

    Incumbent Jeanette Walden, District 2, is running unopposed.

    October 25, 2013

  • District 1 Q&A: Dr. Collinda Lee

    Incumbent Dr. Collinda Lee, District 1, is running unopposed in the Nov. 5 Municipal Election.

    October 24, 2013

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