Janet Dillon is one of four candidates running for Saline City Council. She is running along with fellow incumbent Dean Girbach and Christen Mitchell and Mike Gudith. In November, city voters will elect three candidates to two-year terms on council. The terms begin in January.
Meet Janet Dillon.
NAME: Janet Dillon
FAMILY: Husband, Matt; Children, Sydney (13), Grace (12) & Cooper (8)
EDUCATION: National Academy of Paralegal Studies; Paralegal Certification
Saline Leadership Institute; Certification Ann Arbor Area Tourism Bureau; Certified Tourism Ambassador
CAREER EXPERIENCE: Paralegal
GOVERNMENT EXPERIENCE: Council Member, Saline City Council
Chair, Saline Community Addiction Prevention Task Force
Co-Chair, Saline 150th Celebration Task Force
Member, Saline Area Fire Board
Commissioner, Saline Historic District Commission
VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCE: Team Member, Saline Main Street Organization Team
General Volunteer, Saline Main Street
Volunteer, St. Andrew Catholic Church
Volunteer, Saline Area Schools
Member, Pleasant Ridge PTA & Saline Middle School PTO
WHY ARE YOU RUNNING FOR ELECTION?
I am seeking re-election to Saline City Council to further contribute to my community and our local government. I sincerely believe that I can be an effective participant in the formation and continuation of a prosperous and economically stable future for Saline.
WHY SHOULD SALINE VOTERS ELECT YOU?
Currently I am an engaged and respected member of Saline City Council. I will continue to work diligently with my fellow council members, the Mayor and City staff utilizing the knowledge and skills I have gained during these last two years. Outside of Council Chambers, I am an involved member in Saline; I am a Saline Area School parent, volunteer, and neighbor. I know the people, participate in the community, and understand how issues impact our residents. I am genuine, hardworking and committed to the betterment of Saline and its citizens.
DESCRIBE YOUR APPROACH TO SOLVING PROBLEMS AND MAKING DECISIONS IN A GROUP SETTING:
Any opportunity to problem solve in a group setting should always be encouraged. It is through open discussions that various interests, opinions, and suggested solutions come to light. Problem solving must be addressed as a process with decision making the final result. Tim Hicks wrote, “ … the biggest challenge [in problem solving] is to overcome the tendency to immediately come up with a solution”. I believe we must thoroughly and without pressure understand the issue(s), scrutinize the possibilities and understand both the direct and indirect consequences of the action. It is also important to acknowledge that every decision should have a post due diligence to evaluate its impact to aid in future problem solving.
THE CITY OF SALINE HAS MANY IDENTIFIED NEEDS, BUT LIMITED FINANCIAL RESOURCES. WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE PRIORITIES FOR SPENDING?
Infrastructure. We must prioritize our needs so as to be effective, responsible and proactive in economic and strategic planning of the City’s needs. Postponing improvements is a short-term response which will lead to greater long-term issues.
Unfunded Liability. It is the white elephant in the room and an issue which is not uncommon to municipalities. The City must continue to diligently pay down this debt.
Quality of Life. There is an expectation of greatness in our schools, community and municipal services. Our community events continue to forge a sense of togetherness. We need to address those issues which are not meeting their anticipated threshold. Whether it is an ominous odor, pedestrian connectivity deficiency, or other, we have a duty to sustain the expectation, within reason. We must also ensure that Saline remains a safe and welcoming community.
HOW SHOULD A CITY COUNCIL MEMBER ENGAGE WITH THE PUBLIC?
Engagement is very subjective. Some people, like myself, are people people — I enjoy being around people and participating in events which create involvement and interaction. For others, their comfort zone may be a more subtle approach. No matter the platform, Council members have a duty to know the residents, the community and the issues of both. Availability and willingness to take the time to listen are essential.
WHAT FACTORS WILL YOU CONSIDER WHEN DECIDING ON REQUESTS FOR TAX BREAKS, ZONING VARIANCES, PRICE CUTS, ETC. FROM DEVELOPERS AND BUSINESS INTERESTS?
The City has established customary practices and protocol which are used as a baseline for business dealings. Each consideration is contemplated on a case-by-case evaluation of the contingency versus the benefit. We must be thorough in evaluating the options and must be able to definitively answer “yes” to whether the decision will positively impact Saline and its residents.
WHEN CITY EMPLOYEES IDENTIFY PERCEIVED PROBLEMS WITHIN CITY GOVERNMENT, DO WANT THEM TO COME TO YOU WITH THOSE ISSUES?
City employees must follow the chain of command when they seek conflict resolution or encounter work place issues. A direct supervisor should always be the first stop unless the issue directly relates to that individual. In that instance, the supervisor’s manager should be contacted. Employees should not solicit resolution from co-workers as this may create a negative workplace environment issues.
It is the responsibility of City Council to develop policy and City management staff to implement those policies. Further, it is the responsibility of the City management staff to bring issues, perceived or otherwise to the attention of City Council. If an individual does not feel that this avenue has been taken, they should then direct their concern to all of City Council. I do support the proposition of forming Advisory Boards to mediate employee/employer issues.