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Monday, June 27, 2016

One-party forum covers city issues

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Lee Reberger reads questions from the audience at the open forum Thursday night at the Clay Co. YMCA. Every candidate had the opportunity to answer any of the questions. Pictured are (from left) Cindy Schmaltz, Janet Wallace, Jim Sheese, Lee Reberger, Sam Glover, Erich Erst and Pat Heffner. Melinda Quasius Photo.
Despite only one party being represented in the candidates, a bi-partisan crowd attended the open forum at the Clay County YMCA Thursday.

The six Republican candidates for Brazil City elections fielded questions from the public, asked through County Prosecutor Lee Reberger.

City infrastructure was brought up several times in questions about the city water tower and road repairs.

A concerned audience also posed financial questions for the candidates.

The first question posed regarded where fixing or replacing the water tower was on the candidates priority list.

Sam Glover took the first opportunity to answer the question, and called the current water tower situation "an eyesore."

"There has to be grants and funds available for us to hotly pursue, to rectify that situation. It's also a matter of community pride," Glover said.

Mayor candidate Jim Sheese also answered the question.

"The water tower has to be one of our major priorities," Sheese said.

"Anytime you enter a small town or city, it's one of the first things you look at."

Sheese said the first thing is to make a decision between repairing and replacing the water tower.

Replacing the tower could be easier than repairing, and more cost efficient, according to Sheese.

"Our water is good," Sheese said.

"The water we have coming in from Big Walnut River is as good as any water there is, it's just the tower we have."

The second question addressed the state of city finances.

Sheese answered the question, saying that the most recent audit does not fully explain the city's finances because there was missing information.

A follow up question about grant money being accounted for was answered similarly.

As Sheese gave his answer, Clerk/Treasurer candidate Janet Wallace shook her head.

Later in the evening, Wallace explained that the computer ledgers were not matched to the deposit slips, and the auditor could not track deposits.

Wallace also said while she was in office, she kept a hard-copy log, as well as the computer log, and made sure that they reconciled with all bank statements.

In a lighter moment, a question addressed Sheese's pledge to return a year of his mayoral salary back to the city.

Sheese affirmed his pledge, and then Reberger asked the candidates if "anyone else would like to address Jim's salary."

Sheese and Glover addressed questions on drug addiction and recovery programs and working with the county on projects.

A question that earned a response from all candidates was "When did you receive an invitation, and if not when did you know about (tonight's forum)."

Glover and Cindy Schmaltz, a candidate for city council, both said they were aware of a fall debate since the spring primary debates.

Sheese referred to the Oct. 12 , Times article previewing the debate, as did Pat Heffner, the current council at-large representative, and Erich Erst, who is also running for city council.

Wallace said that she was very much looking forward to the debate since the spring primary and was very appreciative of the public attending the forum.

Candidates answered questions on heavy trash removal and property maintenance, as well as the current lack of a street sweeper.

Questions were also raised about where borrowed money for street repair was, and none of the candidates had any answers, delegating the question to members of the board of works.

Heffner said that everything that the council does is open to the public, except personnel, and Schmaltz defended Wallace, saying her supervisors were the ones accountable for the current financial discrepancies.

Schmaltz said the city administration needs to make someone accountable.

After the forum, candidates met with members of the community to answer any other concerns.

Marshall Nuckolls, president of the Farm Bureau, said he was disappointed that the Democratic candidate did not attend the forum and "they missed a great opportunity."

The forum was sponsored by the Farm Bureau, and cookies and beverages were provided by the chamber of commerce.

The 2007 General Election takes place Tuesday, Nov. 6.

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I understand that Candidate Sheese used his time to criticize city employees. Mr. Sheese should realize that city employees are the backbone of the community and serve with pride. They often work for less than they could make at other jobs because they want to make a lifelong contribution to their community that will last into future generations. If elected, Mr. Sheese will have to work with those employees. It becomes extremely difficult to do that after being so critical. Mr. Sheese said he will donate a portion of his check to the community if elected mayor. If he were sincere in his pledge, he would already be donating his council salary to the city. Mr. Sheese will simply be donating the portion he would have to give back for the salary that exceeeds Social Security income limitations. It is obvious that Sheese is not a team player. He needs to find the positive, especially when it comes to our hard working city employees!!

-- Posted by scwh1974 on Fri, Oct 26, 2007, at 7:42 AM

Well, Lets see here... A debate that had only 1 has side attend. That's not a debate but a meet the Republican Party forum. According to the Democratic Party, they were not told about the debate until reading it in the paper in October at which time party officials notified the person in charge of the debate of their intentions to abstain. The Republican side says they new about the debate in the spring (shouldn't somebody have been talking to somebody). I thought this was supposed to be a clean campaign between friends who have worked side by side on the city council for years. What I see here is instead of the republican candidate for mayor saying, since the democrats didn't know about the debate in a timely manor we will reschedule the event so the public will here both candidates, the Republican Party instead seized the moment and went for the kill. I see politics as usual at hand here! It doesn't matter if you are Republican or Democrat; we are all citizens of a Great City! A city that I love and have been proud to live, work and raise my children in. I think we who reside in Brazil deserve a fair chance to speak with and listen to both candidates. By fair, I mean both parties should be notified in a timely manor and agree on a date that does not conflict with prior engagements. What if the Democrats had known since the spring and it was the Republican Party that wasn't notified? Would it still be fair then for the debate to have continued without them? I just hope that when this election is over and the dust clears, there will still be friends at city hall instead of just politicians (although I don't see it happening). We don't need Politics As Usual. What we need is leadership that is above reproach; after all, itâ**s OUR City to be proud of or ashamed of in the end.

-- Posted by Just_Politics_As_Usual on Fri, Oct 26, 2007, at 8:22 AM

Although I will not be casting a vote for Jim Sheese, my hat is off to him for opening himself up to questioning by the voters. No matter what the circumstance of the invitation the Dems should have been there. Once again we are back to depending on what is printed in the paper and word of mouth to know where the democratic canditates stand on the issues important to us. This was just a republican meet and greet only because the Dems decided to not attend. Are you (democrats) going to have any forum to educate us citizens about your stand on the issues discussed last evening? Or are you going to count on the paper and Bill Lovett to educate the voters on your stance?

Bill Lovett is setting an example of old fashion, down home campaigning that the canditates from both parties should take serious note of. I learned more in 10 minutes standing in my my front yard about his position on matters that are important to me than all I heard last evening and have read to date. I will be voting fo him.

-- Posted by Gizmo on Fri, Oct 26, 2007, at 9:41 AM

Well, after reading the comments of the first two responders concerning last night's political forum, it is obvious that they did not attend.

It is unfortunate that the candidates from the Democratic Party did not attend. Neither Party recieved formal invitations to the event, but the article in the Brazil Times about the forum was at least 2 weeks ago and you can't convince me that any of the Democratic candidates had pressing prior commitments that should have taken precedence over this opportunity to appear before the voters and express their views on the future direction of our city.

Mr Sheese did NOT criticize city employees. When a question was posed from the audience (by a city employee, I might add) about city employees who don't do their jobs, Mr. Sheese responded that Department Supervisors need to be accountable for their employees to work a full day for a full day's pay. I don't believe that any citizen of our city would expect any less from the people who work for the City of Brazil.

Overall, I believe the evening went as well as it could have with the glaring absence of one party. The questions were written after people arrrived and were fairly presented. It is a real shame that the candidates who missed this event were unable to see the value of being before the voters. Perhaps it shows a lack of passion to serve the people of this city. Just an oppinion, but one I hope the voters take in to account on election day.

I have never recieved an invitation to go vote on election day, but through all the regular channels of communication I find out what day that is and I show up and do my civic duty.

Think about it!

-- Posted by SNG621 on Fri, Oct 26, 2007, at 10:04 AM

scwh1974: did you attend the debate last night?

-- Posted by JJBrazil on Fri, Oct 26, 2007, at 10:05 AM

Regarding scwh1974, candidate Sheese said he would hold dept. supervisors accountable for work done by employees,

not the employees themselves. There were no critical remarks made toward that group. If you'd been there you would have known this. As for his donating a portion of his pay back to the city so as to not lose Social Security benefits, candidate Sheese does not have any income limitations and can make all he wants and not lose

any Social Security pay. That's the law as it now stands. Of course, you didn't know this either. And lastly, the backbone of any city is it's citizens, not any particular group, no matter how important they may be.

-- Posted by tell_it_like_it_is on Fri, Oct 26, 2007, at 12:52 PM

In response to scwh1974, your information about the forum that you did not attend is completely inaccurate. Mr.Sheese was not at all, in any way, critical of city employees. At one time he even mentioned Jerry and Terry Robison and praised them. I was present for the entire forum and I think Mr. Sheese at all times took the high road on all issues and when questioned had positive solutions to difficult problems. I thought he had a great understanding of the workings of the city and was able to communicate this very effectively. To scwh1974- I don't think it is fair to comment on something that you didn't witness.

-- Posted by 5longyears on Fri, Oct 26, 2007, at 3:52 PM

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