The Wetzel Chronicle mailed questions to all political candidates in the upcoming New Martinsville Municipal Election to be held May 13 in conjunction with the Primary Election.
Their responses are being printed in alphabetical order by race.
None of the major races on the county ballot are contested until the General Election; we will print stories on those races at that time.
Jeff Montgomery and Gary Willey
Early voting is now in progress, through Saturday, in person at the Wetzel County Courthouse. Voting takes place between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Wednesday and Friday; 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Thursday; and 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Saturday. On Election Day the polls are open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. A list of polling places can be found on page 8B. Sample ballots are also printed on pages 6B, 7B, and 8B.
Jeff Montgomery is challenging incumbent Gary Willey for the position of Street Commissioner in New Martinsville.
The Wetzel Chronicle mailed questions to both candidates, but only Montgomery replied. Following is his response.
What do you feel is your greatest success in the past that shows your ability to fill this position?
Montgomery: Hello, I'm Jeff Montgomery and a lifelong resident of New Martinsville. I graduated in 1984 from Magnolia High School and the Wetzel County Career Center. I continued my education at Colorado Technical University, earning an associate's degree in Science and I'm a licensed electrician. For the past 30 years I have worked in the construction industry and a strong member of the union. I have been in a supervisor/project manager position for the last 16 years being involved in infrastructure upgrades for the military, the federal government, and the private sector. I have been trained and certified in the operation of all types of equipment and OSHA safety. While obtaining this position, I have been involved in balancing budgets, direction of manpower, and working with grants. My experience will allow me to operate the Street Department in a very efficient manner while serving the citizens of New Martinsville.
Do you have a plan for progress in New Martinsville's Street Department? Give some specific steps to achieve that goal.
Montgomery: If elected, my first step would be to review the current budget, expenditures, and manpower to develop a precise plan to have a balanced budget for the street department. My top priority would be to work with the city council and other department leaders to develop a plan to cut unnecessary expenditures and roll that money over into the paving fund. My next step would be to upgrade the equipment within the street department, allowing the employees to work more efficiently, saving both labor and money overtime. While working to save money on unnecessary expenditures, labor costs, and equipment repairs, I will be able to maintain both the streets and storm drains in a proper manner. I also plan to bring the trees back to Main Street, installing them in the proper manner as to not destroy the sidewalks. My last goal is to bring back spring cleanup, allowing the citizens to have access to keeping the property cleaned up and helping the city look better. I understand that the city of New Martinsville is in a financial crisis, and I'm not sure why. I believe my experience will be an asset in providing progress for the street department to operate more efficiently and provide the citizens the services you deserve.
Understandably budgets are tight, do you have a plan to do more with less? Explain.
Montgomery: In today's economy, to do more with less would take precise planning. The easiest way would be to cut manpower, which I will not do if elected. So, the only other option would be to cut unnecessary expenditures. At the present time, I have not obtained a list of expenditures of the street department, so I can't explain what I would cut. I will work with the city council and the mayor to develop a street department budget that will allow progress and growth within the street department. I personally believe that the current budget can be revised in all departments, allowing the paving of more streets in the city. Now is the time to step up and take action. We are in the middle of the biggest oil and gas boom that the city will ever see, it's time to utilize the people in deciding what is best for the city of New Martinsville. I want to thank everyone and I would really appreciate your support at the voting polls.