Q&A with Saline City Council Candidate Jenn Harmount
Jenn Harmount is one of five candidates running for the three open seats on Saline City Council in the Nov. 7 election. She's joined on the ballot by Christen Mitchell, Brian Cassise, Chuck Lesch and incumbent Jack Ceo.
Here's our Q&A with Jenn Harmount
Education: BA Marketing & Supply Chaing Mgt.
Employment: Toyota R&D Procurement & Project Mgt Lead Sr. Analyst
City Experience: Saline Environmental Commission (Since 2020) Vice Chair
Saline Resident: Since 2016
Other: Cello Player/ Single Mom/Advocate for being a good human
What’s your motivation for running.
During 2016 I was relocated to Michigan for my job at the Toyota R&D facility here in Saline/ York Twp. I picked living in Saline for the schools, proximity to my work and the historic beauty of this town. As a homeowner and resident with limited economic resources, it is important to me that our tax money is adding the value it should. I believe that budget expenditures should be purposeful, strategic, and meet the needs of its community. As a procurement project management specialist, I have much experience in strategy and budget planning. I strongly believe that taking a more proactive approach in budget planning that aligns to long term & short-term strategy are a must to avoid costly reactive spending and help mitigate aging infrastructure cost overburdening the residents and taxpayers.
Why are you the right choice to serve on council?
I am the right choice for Saline City Council as I am invested in this community and have a strong track record of both being involved within the community and of making decisions based on fact-based data and root cause analysis. I believe that data should drive decisions. My experience as a project management lead sr. analyst who specializes in strategic planning and cost analysis is experience unique to other Candidates and would benefit Saline City Council.
What issue will rank as your top priority if elected?
More efficient budget expenditures through planning, processes, and strategy needs to be a top priority of the city. The city and commissions should be all working together toward an overarching city strategy to avoid unnecessary, competing, or redundant spending. I believe the focus of these efforts should be where we see opportunities. Among these: Clean water- vibrant and unique businesses to support our residents- Environmental Sustainability in our event and city infrastructure planning– Collaborative and transparent communication to effectively keep residents in the loop of what decisions are being made and what type of logic and data is being used to arrive at those decisions.
To get an idea about your willingness to use government power to coerce people to do things against their will, and to get an idea of your willingness to stand up against the orders of higher government, we’d like you to answer this question: Before the courts struck down Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate, the city was about to adopt it. How would you have voted? Please explain your answer.
The pandemic brought about a lot of challenges and decisions that the city had not had to previously face. Among those was hard choices was rather or not to adopt a vaccine mandate that was not yet federally mandated. While it is much easier to pass judgment in hindsight, I believe everyone should have a personal choice as an adult on rather or not to be vaccinated and it should not be mandated. However, everyone has to accept the fact that there are consequences for choices. Choosing to get vaccinated or not get vaccinated both have different consequences. If perhaps choosing not to get vaccinated means you cannot enter a certain building or private establishment, then you need to be able to accept that. In all things we should have the freedom of choice, but all choices have consequences, and you have to be able to accept that.
The council recently formed a Human Rights Commission to investigate alleged violations of the NonDiscrimination Ordinance. Do you support the formation of this body? Can you think of any instances/examples where this will be used? While fighting discrimination is important, what assurances can you give people that this commission won’t be used to punish people for wrongthink?
The non-discrimination committee was started to address nationally publicized racism the City of Saline was experiencing. It has been established, not to punish, but rather to help prevent further incidents that make people feel unwelcome. These incidents were hurtful to those they impacted as well as sheds an unflattering light on our city that could potentially impact future businesses and residents from wanting to move to Saline.
Council recently voted to outsource local police dispatch service. Does the city need its own police department? Please explain your answer.
The decision to move from local to central dispatch service was cited to save the city money, however, it is my understanding that the funds would not go back to the taxpayer but rather be diverted back to the Saline Police Dept. I do not believe those diverted savings were specifically earmarked nor was there a clear countermeasure to address the objection of no longer have a 24hr safe- haven. I am not aware of any plans for the City of Saline to dismantle the Saline Police Dept. If this was to become a topic for consideration (not sure I would support this) there would need to be discussion, data, benchmarking, and involve extensive community communication that would need to be voted on.
Can a town of 9,000 people continue to fund a Rec Center that serves the wider community? What solutions can you see?
The Rec center provides many great activities and services. Some of them are unique and some of them are redundant. With this being said, it needs to be solvent thru membership fees. If it cannot be solvent thru membership fees the Saline residents have a right to understand how much of their property taxes go to support the rec center on an annual basis and democratically vote on rather or not to keep it.
The city charter has a plainly narrow definition of the mayor’s duties, yet Saline has a long history of mayors working 20-30 hours a week from city hall. Do you see a problem with this? Or is this a good thing for the city? Please explain your answer.
If the City of Saline and taxpayer money is not being assessed for these extra hours outside of the scope of job description, I say “thank you” to the mayor for the donation of personal time and I am not sure why that would be to the detriment of the city.
Are you satisfied with the direction of the city? Please explain your answer.
The city has problems & opportunities that need addressing, so I am never fully satisfied, that is why I am running. Jenn Harmount for Saline City Council. I am passionate and persistent about helping Saline be the best it can be for its current and future residents and businesses.
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