City of residence
Ethan (son - 6 years old);
Henry (son - 3 years old);
Thomas M. Cooley Law School (Juris Doctorate);
Western Michigan University (BA - English);
Charlotte High School
2008 Saturn Vue;
2009 Lincoln MKZ
Collins Einhorn Farrell PC (Attorney) (2012-Present)
Kenney Shelton Liptak Nowak LLP (Attorney) (2010-2012)
Phillips Lytle LLP (Attorney) (2008-2010)
Michigan Senate (Legislative Aide, Policy Analyst) (2006-2008, 2014)
Wayne County is a great place to live, work and raise a family; however, the County must make significant, long-term changes if it wants to experience further revitalization and development. For too long, the County has failed to address its chronic overspending, its aging infrastructure and its lack of regional public transportation. Moreover, the County has failed to retain enough qualified, skilled employees to provide necessary services, because it does not offer competitive wages or benefits and because it has not kept its promises to retirees.
I will fight for competitive wages and to keep our promises, for replacing aging infrastructure and for developing regional transportation.
While I agree that major long-term change has been and still is needed to address Wayne County's financial challenges, those changes can and must be made with the tools already available and not by declaring financial emergencies, imposing new terms on existing contracts and by balancing the budget at the expense of County employee and retirees.
County employees and retirees have dedicated their careers to public service, and the County must honor that dedication. Moreover, the County must keep the promises made to retirees for those years of service -- namely, their pensions and health care.
I believe that change must happen, but not at the expense of County employees and retirees.
Wayne County must provide services, encourage development and assist in regional growth in a fiscally responsible manner. This first requires a comprehensive review and audit of prior budgets to identify how the County spends tax dollars and to develop ways to run the County more efficiently and cost effectively.
The County must use those funds in areas that can assist in the its continued revitalization, including (1) training and retaining excellent County employees; (2) replacing and modernizing aging infrastructure; and (3) developing and implementing a regional public transportation system.
The jail project also must be addressed as we cannot continue to pay while we watch it rust.
In order for the County to continue its recovery, it must attract business and talent to the region. However, to support that growth and development, the County must ensure that children have access to quality schools, that residents have access to affordable and safe housing, and that the region has a safe, reliable and efficient public transportation system.
If the County can provide the infrastructure for growth, employment opportunities and a vibrant culture, people will move here and will help with Wayne County's continued revitalization.
Wayne County can foster and support employment possibilities throughout the County by connecting the region (especially the suburban cities with downtown Detroit and its neighborhoods) through public transportation, by encouraging development and entrepreneurship, and by ensuring that every child receives an excellent education.
If we can make Wayne County attractive to new development, businesses and families, and if we can connect all residents to those businesses through public transportation, Wayne County will have excellent employment opportunities available to all residents regardless of where they live within the County.
Much of the frustration with County-provided services is that they are not provided timely or sufficiently. This has more to do with the lack of enough County workers than the quality of the work. Wayne County must focus on hiring and retaining enough qualified employees to provide basic services timely, efficiently and cost-effectively. This begins by offering competitive wages and benefits in order to attract and retain talent.
Additionally, the County must do more to address the County-controlled roads, including working more efficiently to identify and repair problem roads, to better coordinate those repairs with the local communities and to clear the roads more quickly in the winter.
Wayne County's greatest assets are its size, its layout and its diversity. The County has the potential to foster regional economic development and growth by revitalizing existing areas, by connecting the suburbs with Detroit and by encouraging a mindset that we grow more and better as a region than as a collection of individual communities.
The County is uniquely positioned to showcase opportunities throughout the area, and to help create community- and regional-partnerships that take advantage of the County's size, diversity, and incredible talent pool. The County then can market those partnerships to attract new development and investment in the region.
Much of the County's loss of talent is due to its inability to offer competitive wages and benefits. County employees have not received a raise in over 10 years and they now have to pay more for healthcare. Change begins by recognizing that the County must make public service attractive to potential employees. We do this by asking people to be a part of helping to reinvent and revitalize Wayne County, by providing competitive wages and benefits and by offering flexible work schedules, job training, tuition assistance, and paid maternity and paternity leave.
We must have a engaged, dedicated workforce in order to reshape the County.
I understand the anger and frustration leading this effort, and I am running for the Commission in order to offer a fresh perspective and new ideas. Moreover, I respect efforts to hold Commissioners accountable for their decisions and agree that Wayne County residents must have the opportunity to decide whether their Commissioners are effective. However, I always have believed that the best way to address an ineffective legislator is to elect someone better.
Regardless of the salary or status, I intend to work hard to correct the decades-worth of financial challenges facing the County, because I am certain that we need much more change than simply reducing Commissioners' salaries.
I strongly believe that the County must act proactively regarding its aging infrastructure, beginning with local-community partnerships to identify the oldest and most-dangerous roads, bridges, pipes, and lines, and to budget for and begin repairing and replacing those systems.
As we fix the County's infrastructure, we also must look to modernize it, including by reassessing the design, by incorporating clean and renewable energy sources and by working to develop redundancies and safety features to prevent failures and tragedies.
The County cannot wait until its infrastructure crumbles before it corrects the problems. Being proactive is fiscally responsible and it saves lives.
I support outfitting the sheriff's department with body cameras, because I believe that transparency is the best way to protect deputies and the communities they serve. However, I am concerned about the costs, including the initial costs to purchase the cameras, the ongoing costs to indefinitely store years worth of video, and the additional costs required to review and utilize the video.
I will work with the Wayne County Sheriff and Prosecutor to identify and prepare for these costs, and I will look to other jurisdictions already using this technology in order to develop best practices.
I support efforts to place the legalization question on the ballot, as I believe that Wayne County residents must be afforded the chance to decide this issue.
Wayne County is home to 33 school districts in 43 communities serving approximately 226,000 students. Organizations such as the Wayne RESA work to support teachers and students through a variety of services. The County must continue to support and expand that work so that educators have the resources and support needed to efficiently and effectively provide a quality education to all Wayne County children.
The County also must work to bring transparency and accountability to all schools -- public, private and charter -- so that no matter what school a child attends, he or she receives the same quality education and is afforded the same opportunities.
While Wayne County must focus on addressing its own financial challenges, it must be mindful of the numerous struggling cities within the region and assist where it can.
While the County cannot replace the services provided by those communities, it is in a unique position to step in on a temporary basis to ensure that residents continue to receive necessary services and then to partner with those cities to help restore fiscal stability.
Again, while we all live in individual communities, we are part of Wayne County and the region as a whole, and we must begin to think and act like one region.
I believe that the County can and must work to prevent gun violence in several ways. It must strengthen mental health services in order to identify and treat those with mental health issues, it must fund and support mental health diversion courts in order to treat offenders and to help keep them from re-offending, and it must continue and expand programs, such as the Cash for Caliber gun buy-back, which seek to reduce the number of guns on the streets.
I believe that regional public transportation is one of the keys to the County's continued growth and development. I support the RTA's master transit plan, because I don't believe that we can implement public transportation solely on a community- or county-wide basis but, instead, we must address it regionally.
While it will take time, effort and resources to create the system, it is an investment in our future, and it will attract new businesses, employment and people. Moreover, it will help to eliminate community bias, because the system will make it easier for everyone to live, work and play anywhere in the region.
City of residence
Married to Mark. 4 Children- Jordyn (John), Brynn, Aaren, Andrei. Grandmother to 4 boys.
BS- General Dietietics, Madonna University.
Prior employment- University of Michigan Medical Center, University of Cincinnati Hospitals
Wayne County Commissioner 2015-present,
Livonia City Clerk 2010-2014,
Livonia City Council 2004-2010 (VP),
Livonia Board of Education 2001-2004 (VP, Secretary)
Jail. This site is costing taxpayers 1.3 million/month and the 2 nearby jails continue to deteriorate. There have been new plans presented to the Commission in the past months, but every time they have been introduced, something has changed and the plans have been altered or eliminated. The CEO has been working on finding solutions and they will continue to bring these plans to the Commission, the legislative branch. The company Carter Goble Ass. has been approved by the Commission to complete a request for proposal to design and build the jail. This is the first affirmative vote I have made to approve plans to go forward on this project.
Elected for only a few months, I was stunned when the CEO declared a financial emergency. Once he declared that, the Commission had to determine what road we went down to get out of it. Most unions had open contracts and with the "consent agreement" the CEO was able to settle these himself. One of changes was to put the retirees on Obama Care. Another was to put the employees on a very high deductible health care. Not every employee was hit monetarily. There were 12 appointees of the CEO who received very significant raises during this time. The mantra was "shared sacrifice" but that is not what happened. My feelings are very mixed on how this entire process took place.
The projected GFGP fund balance should be around $65 million dollars at the end of this fiscal year (2015/16). This is one year after entering into a consent agreement. As a member of the Ways and Means Committee we are now looking at not only next years budget, but the following year budget as well. We need to approve a balanced two year budget before we can leave the consent agreement and move financially forward on our own. In the future, we must continue to tighten our belt and consolidate our services. Plans to do some of this will be brought forward in the near future. As Commissioners, we have worked very hard to get to this point.
Wayne County has some of the highest tax rates in the state. When people want to locate or relocate, taxes play a significant role. As the County is turning around fiscally, we need to be cautious of over spending. At some point we need to start bringing down the tax levels. Additionally we need to maintain and fix all our roads. In order to compete with surrounding areas, we need to be competitive. Offering similar services at a similar rate.
Be business friendly and fix the roads. WC needs to be somewhere where businesses want to do business. If they need to travel over crumbling roads or take months to get a simple permit, we are not being "business friendly". I hear all the time about the problems businesses have in obtaining permits. Sometimes they are cost prohibitive or businesses are just charged for evaluations on whether they will even have a chance to be approved by WC. This should not be happening. The County should be encouraging and helpful, not bureaucratic and full of red tape.
The services offered under the Health and Human Services Department needed revamping to make it easier and less cumbersome for citizens who used these. There have been great improvements in the flow and communication between the service areas, benefiting WC customers. Road repair is a county service that needs improvement, not because we don't have an excellent road and engineering department, but because road repair and construction is hugely expensive.
WC is rural, urban, suburban, water access, blue collar, white collar, public, private and charter schools. Nearly every community in WC is a 30-45 minute drive to Metro Airport. Many of our communities have direct bus access. WC offers something for everyone and we have many of the assets the entire State of Michigan has to offer. We need to market the County as a region and show people and businesses that we have something for everyone.
The employees in this county have been hit very hard with the new, high deductible health care plan they were put on. In many cases, these are employees who must pay $8000.00 in payments, deductibles and co-pays/year. Many of these people make under $50,000/yr. No other health plans were considered for the employees, although it appears there were programs available, readily accessible, with a lower deductible and still saved the County money. The job market is getting somewhat better in Michigan and people are looking elsewhere. The CEO needs to address this issue and make this county more attractive for high quality candidates. The Commissioners will gladly be part of this discussion.
No. I have not heard how the unions chose the salary they "think" Commissioners should make. One reason they want to reduce the salary is that they feel Commissioners are "part time". There is nothing in the Wayne County Charter that deems Commissioners part time. I am an elected official, not only hired to work for the County but also to work in my communities- who are part of Wayne County. We have very erratic meeting schedules that are held at the whim of events and timing. It is almost impossible to have a job outside of the Commission. I don't know the unions motivation in this drive, but if they want quality people in these positions, cutting the salary is not the answer.
This is something most communities are facing. We need to work together with our local governments to develop a plan to both maintain and rebuild. This will need to be a team effort for all involved. From the planning stages to the permitting process.
This was not necessarily the sheriffs decision to do this, but a federal mandate. Many local police agencies are in the beginning phases of using body cameras and working on best practices to implement them. It isn't a choice anymore whether or not to outfit with body cameras. It will be of the utmost importance for the safety of our officers and citizens that the best practices are used. In saying this, the new law requirement will be very expensive for WC. Although the feds will be providing body cameras, the personnel costs to fund people to analyze and evaluate the footage, and the expensive of the new technology needed to store the data will cost millions of dollars for the County.
Wayne County needs to focus on the finances of Wayne County. The role of improving education lies at the local government and state levels.
The County financial track record is not one to mirror. Before the County is able to sufficiently aid struggling cities, it needs to get on its own solid financial, permanent track. Until that time, Commissioners need to ensure that roads are being done, permits are being issued, sheriffs are being used appropriately, thus taking some of the burdens off the cities.
Preventing gun violence starts at home and within our local communities. The Prosecutors office is responsible in many cases of upholding the gun laws and prosecuting people who break those laws. I am a big fan of the Prosecutors office.
No, It is a multi billion dollar tax increase on something that hasn't been proven to be used in the past. Some communities have opted out of the current bus system because their citizens were not using them. We only recently started coming out of a recession and getting locked into a very long, expensive millage is short sighted.