Ward 1 alderwoman says ‘I have been labeled as being negative’
Maureen Saunders will not seek a second term as Brentwood’s Ward 1 alderwoman, she announced today. She plans to withdraw from the April election on Monday morning. That leaves David Dimmitt as the only candidate for the position.
Saunders was elected in 2012. She filed to run for a second term on Jan. 19, the last day of a filing period that began on Dec. 15.
In an email Saunders sent to The Brentwood Spirit and 40 South News at 2:50 p.m. Feb. 6, she wrote the following:
I have enjoyed representing the residents of our fine city. When I took office the city was under fire due to embezzlement, legal issues related to the Meridian, lack of financial procedures and policies, only $500,000 in reserves, fraudulent overtime, illegal health benefits for elected officials, etc. Many of these issues plaguing our city have been resolved; however, in the process, I have been labeled as being negative, when my primary concern has been on moving the city forward with best practices and procedures. Regardless, it takes five votes for legislation to pass or fail and yet somehow only my vote is the primary focus.
I have two last issues to bring forward in my remaining time as an elected official.
The first issue is terminating elected officials’ participation in the noncommissioned (excluding public safety) employee’s LAGERS Pension Plan. Being an elected official is part of civic duty. The time we spend being elected officials, some spend considerably more time than others, comes back to us in the form of civic pride. When we do our jobs, we all benefit by having a wonderful place to call home. Some stipend for our time is understandable; however, benefits should be reserved for full-time employees. Hopefully the pension for elected officials will be terminated, but like all issues, it takes five votes and we not may be in agreement.
The second issue is pay parity for the police and fire employees. My thoughts are that most residents agree [that] in today’s world the police officer’s job has become much more demanding and dangerous. During each police traffic stop or altercation, it is very possible it could result in danger, but definitely results in split-second judgment calls and mounds of paperwork. In the job market, police officers often lag firemen in pay even though their job has increased risk and challenges. Presently, market pay doesn’t recognize these increased challenges and danger in the police jobs. Regardless, many residents, including me, are willing to forge the way for higher pay for all our men in blue.
We may not all agree on these issues but that’s the beauty of the democratic process: we are all entitled to our opinion, no matter how passionate, and our individual vote.
Last, we all should be excited about participating in the update of the 2006 Comprehensive Plan. My goal since taking office has been to update the 2006 Comprehensive Plan. Per the plan, it should have been updated in 2011. It took almost four years but we will begin the update in 2016. This plan is the future vision for our city. It is important that all residents participate in the public sessions, which permit them to express their ideas and goals for our city. For me personally, I would love to see Brentwood Boulevard become walkable neighborhood mix use. Perhaps have a central garage or parking at one end so we can attract independent businesses, not big box, without encroaching on the neighborhood. I’m sure the residents have many ideas to share, and all are worth exploring, so that we can bring back a sense of character and home to our city. I look forward to participating in these sessions as a resident of Brentwood with the hope we develop a plan that we can all rally behind and work together to accomplish.
Thank you for allowing me to serve as your Ward 1 Alderwoman and to represent the concerns of all the residents of Brentwood.
We residents have always taken great pride in our city and schools. We have worked together to move our city in a positive direction and have laid the path to a bright future. Let’s all continue to move Brentwood forward with transparency, accountability, integrity and civic pride!