Colusa City Council candidate: Acree
Marilyn Acree said the city faces a number of critical issues that need to be addressed right away, but she concedes getting a qualified city manager on board is near the top of her list.
She also favors someone who is a true top administrator, rather than a hybrid position as other candidates have suggested.
That person, she said, needs to be prepared to take the point on economic development to reduce the reliance on consultants. She believes the city has a blueprint to move forward, and while it may take the public to help in some areas, the city manager should be charged with the heavy lifting.
And while Acree, 62, is not set on hiring someone who necessarily has a background in public administration, it would be a plus to have a working knowledge of budgets and government codes.
However, she lists leadership and communication as the highest skill set for whomever is hired.
Acree's concerns about the past city manager and the decision-making of the City Council over the past year or so led to her decision to run for City Council in June.
She did not think enough questions were being asked, or the right kind of questions, and felt that at least some on the council relied too heavily on the city manager and staff for their information. With the election just 10 days away, Acree said she still has those concerns.
Acree said the only criticism she has heard about herself is why she did not play up her Hickel family name in the campaign. She can only smile at what she admits would have been an obvious political ploy.
However, there have been questions raised about her candidacy.
Among the concerns is she researches issues down to the smallest details and could bring the council process to a stop if she piles up the minutiae.
Some also have raised concerns about whether her reliance on her own research will build a wall between herself and the staff, or between herself and the citizens.
Acree said being prepared does not mean she cannot make decisions in a timely manner, or that she is unwilling to work with the staff and listen to the public in reaching those decisions.
She said it is the same process she uses in her work in the insurance industry all the time, and notes she has had success working with the utility committee members, and is the lead in the Christmas Tyme event in Colusa team as well.
Acree is careful to note it will be up to the new city manager to evaluate the department managers and the rest of the staff, and it is not the role of the council to micro-manage City Hall.
The campaign has raised up one other issue and that is whether or not a new voting block has been created among certain candidates.
Acree said she has maintained her independence, and believes creating a voting alliance is the wrong way to go in Colusa.
She understands some people will have the same views on certain issues, but cautions that an election-built voting block that follows each other's lead would be no different than a council majority taking the lead of a city manager.
Acree also notes the council will have to quickly come to terms with the Riverbend lawsuit in the new year.