Mike Gudith is one of four candidates for Saline City Council. The other candidates are incumbents Janet Dillon and Dean Girbach and Christen Mitchell.
City voters will elect three council members. Terms are two years.
Meet Mike Gudith
Name: Mike Gudith
Family: Wife: Amanda Children: Mary (5), Anna (2) and Joshua ( 2 months)
Education: Fire Science Certification ( 1 year at Schoolcraft College)
Career experience: Stay at home dad (currently the last 5 years), Owned my own business, Firefighter, 911 Dispatcher, Driver for a Food Bank
Government experience: Employee of the City of Belleville as a Firefighter for 4 years (firefighter of the year 2006) and Employee of the City of Dearborn Heights as a 911 Dispatcher for 1.5 years.
Volunteer experience: Friends of Belleville Fire Department Auxillary Committee, Raised $15,000 by myself for the Wyandotte Fire Department to purchase a thermal imaging camera
Why are you running for election?
I am running for city council to be the voice of the citizens. I want their voices heard at every council meeting. It’s time for a new face on council who will work for the citizens and for the employees of our city. I want to help reduce any wasteful spending so we can save that money for the future.
Why should Saline voters elect you?
I owned my own business so I know how to balance a budget and keep costs down. I was firefighter of the year for a reason (brought in highest number of new recruits in the history of the Belleville Fire Department with my cleaver ideas and achieved receiving a federal grant for funding). I want to work with fellow council members to bring in more family friendly attractions to the city, for example a splash pad in one of our parks. I have served my previous community as a firefighter and I want to serve this community as a council member.
Describe your approach to solving problems and making decisions in a group setting?
I like to stay open minded in a group setting where everyone voices their concerns and opinions. With city council, the majority rules and you can’t hold grudges or stay angry if it doesn’t go in your direction. You have to support your fellow council members decisions regardless if you agree with the decisions made.
The City of Saline has many identified needs, but limited financial resources. What do you see as the priorities for spending?
Priorities for any city government should be the protection of its citizens. We need to provide our police, fire and dpw with updated equipment and training to better serve and protect our citizens. Once that is accomplished and more funds are available, we need to keep our parks clean and safe, reduce the trip hazards in the sidewalks that are still out there and continue to address the wastewater treatment plant issues. Its not just about spending, its about being financially stable and balance the budget to have extra money to update our roads and for pension liabilities.
How should a city council member engage with the public?
A council member should be readily available to its citizens. If the citizens vote you in, you should be responsive to their concerns and questions. As a stay at home dad, I am available all day to answer phone calls and emails. On my first day in office, I will give out my phone number and email for residents to contact me should they need assistance if they can’t get the appropriate department to answer or follow up with their questions or concerns.
What factors will you consider when deciding on requests for tax breaks, zoning variances, price cuts, etc from developers and business interests?
New large corporations or businesses who bring in local jobs and potential tax dollars should be eligible for tax breaks, but if they don’t stay here for x amount of years, they should repay that tax break. Tax breaks should be given to those businesses who are in good standing with local, state and federal laws. Those who violate those laws, should also be required to pay back that tax break. Tax breaks for businesses should also be allowed when a business expands and stays in Saline. This should be done on a case by case basis and only if Saline is financially stable. I would allow zoning variances if it’s going to bring in tax revenue as long as it doesn’t interfere with other land owners.
When city employees identify perceived problems within city government, do you want them to come to you with those issues?
Yes. We need checks and balances. If an employee is having problems within the city, they should not feel threatened or fear retaliation. We should have an open policy with our employees where they should not be terminated or demoted for bringing an issue to the city council. If the issue at hand isn’t resolved within the appropriate department, it needs to be brought to the councils attention so a resolution can be made whether it’s with city council or an outside third party.