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Wayne County Commission District 1

Choose one candidate. Wayne County commissioners serve two-year terms and receive an annual salary of $61,800.

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  • Tim Killeen
    (Dem)

  • Candidate picture

    John W. Steininger
    (Rep)

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Biographical Information

What do you view as Wayne County’s most pressing problems, and how would you start to solve them?

How do you feel about the actions taken by the administration of Wayne County Executive Warren Evans both in requesting a declaration of financial emergency to deal with the county’s financial situation and in the steps taken to address the financial emergency, such as through employee and retiree healthcare changes?

What efforts would you pursue to improve Wayne County’s financial situation?

What can Wayne County do to reverse its ongoing population loss?

What can Wayne County do to improve employment possibilities across the county?

Which county-provided services need the most improvement, and what suggestions can you offer for making them better?

Aside from its people, what are Wayne County’s greatest assets and how can the county better use or market them?

Many county officials have complained in recent months about a loss of talent from the ranks of Wayne County government. How would you make Wayne County government a more attractive option for quality candidates in light of the county’s financial challenges?

Do you support the union-led petition effort to reduce the base pay of Wayne County commissioners from $61,800 to $45,000? Why or why not?

How would your policies help to fix aging infrastructure in Wayne?

What is your position on outfitting the county sheriff’s department with body cameras?

Do you support the legalization of recreational marijuana?

With reports showing Michigan behind on education, what role if any do you see the county taking to improve education?

What is the county’s role in assisting financially struggling cities?

Has the county taken appropriate steps to prevent gun violence?

Do you support the proposed millage to fund regional transit in metro Detroit? Why or why not?

Do you support and will you appear at campaign events with your party’s presidential nominee?

Have you ever filed for personal bankruptcy? If so, explain.

Have you ever been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor? If so, explain.

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City of residence Grosse Pointe Farms, MI
Age 66
Family son: John Edward Steininger
Education Bachelor of Science in Education, Wayne State University 1974
Vehicles owned 2011 Jeep Grand Cherokee
Professional Experience Business founder Grosse Pointe Moving & Storage. Chief executive since 1984
Political Experience Grosse Pointe Board of Education Trustee 2008-2011, Board President 2010-2011
Race/ethnicity Caucasian
Campaign Website http://not available
Incumbent? false
Wayne County's most pressing problem is it's unfunded pension liability. The fund is woefully short of it's necessary & obligatory contributions and remains a fundamental obstacle toward the county's future financial integrity. The chronic waste of revenue through misguided projects and lack of self discipline exacerbate the overall financial issues. The jail project is a perfect example of the county's lack of vision. Started but remaining unfinished it drains county coffers to the extent of over $40,000 a day! It is the business equivalent of failing to complete a major stadium then charging the ticket holders for games never played.
The declaration of financial emergency was a necessary step towards an attempt to right the county's finances. Unfortunately healthcare costs have become an integral part of any cost restructuring. While pension costs have an obligatory & defined contribution schedule healthcare costs are a yearly budget line item and as healthcare costs continually increase, budgets are unable to sustain them. The Wayne County commissioners have failed to accept the same cuts imposed upon other employees and should be publicly sanctioned by the county executive.
Expenditures must be brought into line with revenue projections despite the difficulty in doing so. Work with the county's bargaining groups to understand the dire consequences of a bankruptcy. Forge an attitude of relaxed work rules to accommodate flexibility in addressing infrastructure repairs. Streamline permitting and inspection processes to increase the county's attractiveness for new construction. Work to make the county business friendly and encourage job creation to build a better tax base.
To retain population and increase your tax base you have to offer competitive services and benefits to residents. Without budgetary funding for benefits & services residents leave. This amounts to a classic catch 22 and a repetitive downward spiral. Tax incentives for job creation and to attract businesses are absolutely necessary. Too often the city & county look at businesses as revenue sources they can exploit. Failure to change this outlook exacerbates the problem.
Small businesses create the most new jobs and should therefore be enticed to relocate to or open in Wayne County. The use of tax incentives for relocation and job creation should be explored and developed. Wayne County should offer workshops on entrepreneurship thru Wayne County Community college and establish a countywide business mentoring program for new business owners. Wayne County could also offer incentives for new construction of industrial parks and encourage the county develop a preferential bidding process for company's that are located within the county limits. Spend county tax dollars with local businesses that can offer competitive rates.
County roads and infrastructure repair services need the most improvement. Nothing is more debilitating to residents than projects that stretch on for months with little or no activity toward completion. Work with contractors and offer incentives for completing projects within given time frames. Schedule project work to subject residents to the least inconvenience. Treat the county residents as you would like to be treated if the infrastructure failure was taking place in your front yard.
Wayne county has a relatively temperate climate and excellent access to the Detroit River and the Great Lakes. Working with the state to improve our parks and recreation facilities would be an excellent start.
Altruism has it's limits and qualified candidates need adequate compensation to provide for their families. Offering competitive compensation is fundamentally necessary in attracting those individuals who have the ability to change a broken system. Resentment issues from those less well paid are increasingly part of an equation that restricts the employment of talented individuals. By clearly defining what you expect to achieve through the hiring of expensive talent you may minimize that factor. Continual progress updates should show the public if it was money well spent. Failure to achieve the specified goals on an agreed timeline should lead to immediate dismissal.
To retain talent compensation must remain attractive however I would support a pay reduction for Wayne County commissioners. They have long been the mostly highly paid county commissioners in Michigan and have clearly been the most incompetent. Their consistent failure to pass necessary legislation and deal effectively with ongoing issues is a continuing affront to every Wayne County resident. They consistently rate themselves above other county employees when they decline to accept the cuts they impose on others. They have been instrumental in the county's descent into financial chaos.
Nothing is going to fix the aging infrastructure in Wayne County but an extensive cash infusion. And to a certain extent every county in the state with a mature infrastructure is facing similar issues. The State will have to assist the county in the process of infrastructure repair but it should be apparent that the State has repair issues of it's own as well. Tax incentives for job creation and to bring businesses to the county offer the best chance of increasing the tax base to provide revenue for infrastructure repair.
In a perfect world body cameras are a great idea. However Wayne County doesn't have the financial ability at present to make body cameras and their related costs a viable option.
No. Life is hard enough without trying to regulate, test for and avoid the repercussions of misuse.
The county has enough on it's own plate in regards to other issues. Primary and secondary educational improvement should be addressed at the State and local district levels. The county already offers an excellent Community College program to improve the educational opportunities of it's residents.
Other than potentially supplying necessary law enforcement personnel I believe assisting financially struggling cities is more of a State responsibility.
Given the parameters of the 2nd amendment I believe the county has taken the necessary steps to prevent gun violence.
An effective regional transit system is essential to job creation and a precursor of tax revenue growth. It has the potential to improve Wayne County for the benefit of all it's residents whether you use it or not. I would support a millage to create a viable system.
The political office I am running for is a local position. Partisan politics have no place in serving the residents of Wayne County. In truth I believe the position of county commissioner should be a non-partisan office similar to the Detroit city council. Presidential politics are not related in any way to the county commissioners office and I would therefore not be appearing at any national level campaign event.
I have never filed for personal bankruptcy.
I have never been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor.

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