The Union Recorder

Election 2013

November 4, 2013

District 6 Q&A: Steve Chambers

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

District 6 Q&A: Steve Chambers

Incumbent Steve Chambers, 56, is married to Teresa Wilkinson Chambers. They celebrate their 32nd anniversary next month and have two daughters, Casie and Carly June. Chambers has served three full terms and a one-year unexpired term on City Council. He serves on the South Eastern Fabricare Association board that represents dry cleaners in the Southeast and is immediate past president and board chair.

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

A: First, I am a small business owner and I think it is imperative that we have business representation on our city council. Second, I have the time, energy and desire to fulfill the obligations of an elected official. Third, I have the experience, knowledge and leadership skills that are needed to help lead this city through these most difficult times.

Q: How would you describe your job as councilman?

A: This job is first and foremost one of service to this community. It is one that requires an individual to be able to listen, to respond and communicate not only within a district but also throughout the city, county, region and beyond. The job requires an attention to financial details and at the same time a willingness to allow managers, department heads and employees to do their jobs. The job requires leadership skills but also a disposition to work as a team. Economic development knowledge is crucial as well as the insight to help select individuals that serve on various authorities and boards.

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

A: I absolutely will and without hesitation. Unification will raise our city in terms of population into the top 20 of the state. Many grants are now being developed for unified city/county governments. To me though having one common elected voice for this community will be its greatest attribute. We as a community have kicked this idea around for over two decades. It is time to find out from the voters whether unification will go forward.

Q: How will you implement your vision for Milledgeville?

A: Several years ago, I presented a plan to help strengthen our existing signage ordinances as well as introduce language to ordinances to address commonality in store frontage and landscaping. I, as well as other elected officials, felt these changes would enhance our corridors into our city. I will reintroduce a corridor standard this next year, scaling back on the first by concentrating on the U.S. 441 North corridor. Housing and business blight are also a major concern throughout the city and the county. Currently, both governmental entities are discussing ways to strengthen enforcement of our existing laws. The pace of action on this area definitely needs to be hastened. The Main Street Program is the pride of our city but it has taken time to attain our statewide recognition. I think the same can be said for any major achievements in economic development of our industrial park and CSH. We are being recognized and soon results will start to happen.

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

A: The biggest part of this process has already begun with combined city/county meetings. Open, thoughtful communication is the key to addressing any problems, perceived or real. Through a hesitancy to solve any problems other than on our own, each governmental entity has in the past been its own biggest enemy. Whether we unify or not, open dialogue is the key to opening the door of problem solving.

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

A: Our policy was modeled after many others that already exist around the state. Public pressure is and always will be the biggest deterrent to unethical behavior by elected officials. I do believe that continued application of this policy and monitoring what other cities are doing will determine what changes should be made.

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

A: When a parent raises a child or an individual opens a business, it is only after the fact that one can look back and ponder what might have been done differently. We have learned to walk with our first complaint being heard. I am most certain that going forward council will look at ways to streamline the process and therefore determine changes that may need to be made.

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

A: This question almost seems a repeat of an earlier one. Once again, open dialogue through timely and continuous city/county meetings is the key.

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

A: The whole key to success at redeveloping CSH is in the hands of the State Properties Commission and the Georgia Legislature. I will continue supporting the efforts of dialogue until ideas are made into reality to ease the transition of state property into investors’ hands. I will also support continued funding as well as additional investment by the city when needed. This new authority is loaded with talented individuals and I have no doubt that all the work invested will pay dividends to our community in the near future.

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

A: The Mayor and City Council decide policy and procedure. The position of city manager is filled by Council and the manager answers directly to and is held accountable by Council. Department heads answer directly to the city manager and employees answer directly to department heads. If your question is asking who holds elected city officials accountable then that would certainly be the voters. I also think that we as elected officials should to a certain extent hold each other accountable and more often than the general public is aware, I think we already do.

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?

My vote in favor of this venture going forward is already a strong indication of my support for the Communiversity project. We, as council, have been chastised for taking too long to make a decision on moving this project forward. At about the same time as this project was being presented, we were also presented with an interest by a new manufacturing business that wanted to acquire the building as well. If it had come to fruition, the result would have been several hundred new jobs. Sifting through all of this information as well as several proposals that were made on behalf of the Communiversity took not only time but much deliberate thought. The retention of young professionals goes well beyond this single effort and in my opinion will only be enhanced with additional industry more than likely of a higher technological nature. While there is much talk about retaining our graduates, I also think that it is equally important that we continue to focus on the re-education of our existing work force and answer the problems of not only unemployment but under employment.

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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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