Political party or slate, if any: Rockville Forward
Current occupation and employer (if retired, list your last job): retired (affiliated with county government for almost three decades) — deputy director/chief operating officer (five years, six months), Department of General Services, Montgomery County government
Previous work experience (up to two previous jobs before current or last one): Senior manager (14 years), Office of Management and Budget, Montgomery County government; Budget Lead, Department of Health and Human Services, Montgomery County government
Political experience (public offices held and when, as well as other unsuccessful campaigns for office): Elected to Rockville City Council 2013; re-elected in 2015 with highest number of councilmember votes
Campaign contact information (website, email, Facebook, Twitter, other):
1. Why are you the most qualified to hold this position?
• Elected to the City Council in 2013 and 2015
• Prior to my election, appointed to the City’s Board of Supervisors of Elections, and Finance and Budget Task Force, and graduated from ‘Rockville University’
• Three decades of proven public policy budgeting and program analysis in Montgomery County Government senior leadership positions, including at the Office of Management and Budget
• Leadership Montgomery graduate
• Montgomery Hospice, Past Board Member and Chair
• Collaboration Council for Children, Youth and Families, Past Board Member
• MBA and master’s in Library Science
• Experienced, fiscally responsible leadership; Initiated budget development reforms
2. What are the top two issues in this campaign? What specific ideas do you have to address them?
Acknowledging that personnel costs increase yearly without staffing increases:
• Create a ‘Vacancy Review Board’ to hold the line on adding positions and instead reallocate vacant positions
• Require departments to submit operating budgets with efficiency reductions to create capacity for new expenditures
• Keep reserves at adopted target levels for potential economic slowdown and ‘rainy day’ needs
• Ask front-line staff for suggestions on reducing processes and expenditures
• Continue my proposal that after 10 years of no retiree COLAs, funded 1% COLAs each of the last two years.
• Maintain AAA bond rating
• No tax increase
Managed Growth and Infrastructure Needs
Adequate Public Facilities Ordinances were adopted in the county in 1973 and in Rockville in 2003, with the recognition that development outpaced infrastructure needs for school capacity, water and sewer services, transportation needs, police and fire protection. Decades later, scarce resources still outpace demands for education, safety, and public works.
Economic vitality is essential for vibrant communities and generate tax revenues. However, not when developments encroach neighborhoods. So-called ‘up-zoning’ and density isn’t the panacea; in fact, it generates more housing but not necessarily affordable housing, nor does the increased housing supply decrease rental fees.
3. What has been your biggest accomplishment in office? If you have not held office, what is your biggest accomplishment that has prepared you to hold office?
Greatest accomplishment is strengthening Rockville’s safety — both emergency preparedness and pedestrian and bicycle safety.
Identified need and initiated priority for a dedicated professional emergency manager to provide the leadership with residents, city staff, and businesses for strategic planning, drilling, for weather and non-weather emergencies. Outcome was successful hire and resources to better prepare Rockville to keep us safe, with the goal of a self-sufficient Emergency Operations Center.
Similarly, worked collaboratively with several neighborhoods and staff for crosswalks, lane markings, stop signs, reduced speed limits and pedestrian-activated signal devices to enhance safety for bicyclists and walkers on our streets.
4. Have the current mayor and/or council taken any actions with which you disagreed? If so, what is the most significant one and what would you have done instead?
While a strong supporter of the Rockville Housing Enterprise’s (RHE) affordable housing mission, as councilmember, I have a fiduciary responsibility.
RHE sought to refinance loans on Fireside Apartments and requested a $500,000 grant from Rockville and $2.7 million from the county. The county approved as a loan, but in a 3-2 vote, the city approved as an outright grant. This was with the knowledge that RHE, for at least two years, failed to make principal loan payments on existing debt and proposed a $2 million management fee. I would have approved as a loan.
5. What went wrong with RedGate Golf Course? How should the property be used next?
Following the closure of the golf course on December 31, 2018, and subsequent professional assessment of the physical and fiscal condition of the 144-acre RedGate property, the Mayor and Council agreed that the costs were too prohibitive to revitalize it as a golf course.
Future decisions will consider resident input and public hearings. Opportunities should include: limited housing for veterans and persons with disabilities; walking trails and recreation areas; and perhaps some “missing middle” homes for teachers, police, and firefighters. What I don’t want is sale of the property for a huge development campus.
6. How would you describe the city’s progress in revitalizing Rockville Town Center? Would you do anything else or instead?
Reinvigorating Town Center is a top priority. Parking, signage, wayfinding, and making connections with Montgomery College Rockville campus students/faculty to shop, dine and use the library requires immediate attention, resolution and will of the entire Mayor/Council to improve its vibrancy.
All stakeholders — business representatives, residents, elected officials, Federal Realty Investment Trust leadership, city staff, the Rockville Chamber of Commerce and REDI, county government, court leadership — must convene to develop an action plan with short- and long-term goals to stop the restaurant/business turnover and motivate businesses to locate in Rockville Town Center. Projects are currently under construction.