I served as the Mayor of Okanogan for 14 years. During that time, I developed and administered annual budgets, became familiar with public financing, personnel laws, union negotiations and working with public/private partnerships.
While mayor, I was able to learn how to develop and work with budgets and public funds. I have been fiscally responsible and avoided legal pitfalls.
I was able to develop a team that was hard working and conscientious. It reinforced my understanding that making a great team is essential to any success.
One of the advantages of being in a long term leadership position, was that I was able to see the long term effects of my decisions, learning from my own mistakes, and reinforcing my strengths.
I had the opportunity to oversee numerous beneficial projects. In addition to developing and overseeing many annual budgets, I have listed below, several major projects that allowed me to learn how to navigate working with various agencies, rules, and supplemental budgets.
- Okanogan Sports Complex – We were able to take the vision that was laid out for us and bring it to life. I was pleased to see local contractors donate manpower and equipment to make the project better than possible with existing funding. The city, contractors and volunteers came together to create a great project. This was an awesome example of a public-private partnership and good people coming together.
- Oak Street and Mill Street Bridge replacements. These were very technical projects with various state and federal agencies involved. State, Federal and local monies were used to make these projects happen. I was able to wade through the mire of regulation, with a staff of well trained and conscientious people who remained mindful of the various regulations and agencies that scrutinized every issue from fish to funding.
- Water Reservoir additions. We added two new water reservoirs to the system as well as a tremendous amount of water mains. These projects improved water efficiency, and added fire fighting ability to the city allowing some insurance rates to drop.
- Street replacements and overlays. I wanted to provide good streets in the city. We were able to secure funding to allow us to fully replace streets that had previously been built without having a proper road bed. Cobblestones would push up and break up the road surface, until we were able to remove and replace water and sewer mains, roadbed and resurface.
- Sidewalk replacement. Working with the Department of Transportation, as well as another public – private partnership, we replaced most all of the downtown sidewalks. This improved the look and walking safety in the city, setting the stage to allow businesses the benefit of a better looking downtown.
- Arsenic removal. Taking advantage of a national pilot program, we were able to save a city well that was threatened by arsenic. Well replacement was estimated at just over one million dollars, and there was no guarantee that the new well would be arsenic free. By winning the bid to be a pilot project, we were able to use grant, local, and federal dollars to build the arsenic treatment plant and provide clean, safe water, with much lower local expense.
- Airport expansion. For many years, the Okanogan Airport was under no build order from the EPA. Working with the EPA, and requiring movement, we were able to clear the airport and allow for several new hangers as well as runway and taxiway improvements.
I owned my own small business. I know the struggles that small business deal with. I know how important issues like shoplifting and security really are. I know how to work hard.
The question was brought, should we have a transit system. I felt it was important that the public made the decision. I assisted in facilitating this process. When the public voted to provide a transit system, I was chosen to be the Interim CEO. I was responsible for all aspects of forming and running the business operations while recruitment of permanent CEO occurred. I secured funding, ordered buses, and set up the office.