by Steve McCoid
The first fifteen months of my first term as a Salem City Council have flown by for me. Certainly, there is a very steep learning curve demanded of any volunteer serving on the City Council. Salem is a large city with a full menu of services for its citizens. Each councilor must learn how each department operates, what their challenges, goals and needs are, and how to effectively interact with them. Add bi-monthly council meetings, reading hundreds of page of staff reports, and you have a full work load for every council member. Include the budget process, service on four or more committees, neighborhood association meetings and attendance at a variety of community events, and you have a full schedule. Quite a load for a volunteer, unpaid positon, isn’t it?
The current city council operates as a team in a collegial, respectful manner. Nine very diverse personalities work together to ensure that Salem’s professional city staff and city manager are providing services and programs that its citizens need, deserve and demand. The key to this collegial working relationship is that the positions are non-partisan. There are no party platforms in play at your city council. Instead, you have the council dealing with one another in an open, non-adversarial, respectful manner that produces frank, open dialog on issues with no rancor or repercussions. This attitude comes from a place of trust in one another based on each of our actions on past issues.
I mention all of this because we’re in campaign season once again and have races for four council positions and mayor. These position are non-partisan. The council isn’t an us against them body and it shouldn’t be treated as such. I urge you to pay careful attention to the approach and messaging you receive. I can tell you there isn’t a current councilor with a hidden agenda. No one comes to an issue with a preconceived answer or vote. Issues are discussed and debated in council – not behind closed doors. If you see candidates that are more concerned about who is supporting who, telling you that this council isn’t working together for the good of the city, making this an us against them issue and telling you the council doesn’t listen to its citizens be aware. All of that isn’t accurate and isn’t occurring. It is most likely the person stating this isn’t a person you want to vote for to represent you on the council.
Steve McCoid serves a city councilor for Ward 4 is South Salem. Steve is a 41 year resident of Salem and was elected to the council in 2014. He is recently retired from a career in non–profit association management, has served on numerous non-profit boards of directors at the local, state and national level. He is married to Collier and has raised four daughters and enjoys his four grandchildren.