Italy City Council 2014 Candidate Questionnaire: Steven Farmer

1) Please tell us a little about yourself (current work, education, experience, background).

I graduated from Italy High School in 1998. I then moved away to attend college. After a few years I decided I wanted to serve my Country. So I joined the United States Marine Corps. I am a Combat Veteran and really appreciated the time I spent serving. It gave me the tools that I need to be successful. It taught me respect and how to be a leader. It also taught me to always be honorable in everything that I do. I have applied this in everyday life. For example, being a great father and role model to my 6 year old son Gavin all the way to getting my degree in Criminal Justice and my current job.

Currently, I work for one of the biggest Marketing Firms in the United States. My knowledge on how to take the clients focus and implement a strategy to achieve overall goals for them have been proven to have a positive success rate. Keeping the Clients best interest in mind is key for my success. This will be the same focus I give the City of Italy and the individuals that live here.

2) How many council meetings did you attend in the last 12 months?

I attended 11 regular scheduled council meetings and every called meeting. Also attended the budget workshop.

3) Why are you seeking to be a council member?

Our community has been hurting for some time now and I think we need new leadership to help bring this town back to what it once was. I personally am running because I want to be a voice for the community.

If elected I promise there will be no personal agendas and there will be more transparency.

4) What qualifications or experience do you possess that voters should consider?

I am a leader with a proven record of success in driving growth for my company. I have 10+ years in managing budgets and employees. The following is a snapshot of my skills:

Leadership Training, Strategy Development for Revenue Growth, Business Channel Development, Human Resources

Those skills above will help run the City more like a business.

5) What do you consider the most important issue facing our city today?

There are so many issues that is facing our city and it wouldn’t be fair to pick just one. I think the following are the top issues:

Roads, Water, Budget (Spending), Accountability, How the Community is treated by leadership of the town, and the Perception of Italy

6) What do you hope to accomplish during the next 2 years?

Everything that I have listed in Question #5 will be fixed but most important the citizens will matter in every decision that is made. There will be no more personal agendas.

7) What do you consider the most important and least important duties a council member has?

To always make the right decisions for the community and not for a persons personal agenda.

I think all duties are important because Council serves the public.

8) What do you think should be the top priorities of the city after this election?

There are so many top issues but I do believe that the “ROADS” need to be addressed immediately. We need to start on Harris Street because that has to be the worst road in all of Italy. However, I am not the type that will only focus on top priorities but all issues that is facing our town,

9) Is there anything you would want to change about the way our city is run?

Yes, a lot of things!

10) What do you think could be done to cut expenses in the city budget if any?

There are several things that can be done. First, since the City Attorney is based out of Richardson Texas we should find an Attorney either closer or for a flat yearly rate. Currently, we are way over budget for what was set aside for this expense.

Second, I think that the Chief of Police shouldn’t have a take home car, since he lives so far away. He stated at the budget meeting last year he spends about $400.00 a month on gas. So gas alone is $4,800 a year not to mention the oil changes, and tires. I know this isn’t a big expense but in the overall scheme of things this will help.

Last would be controlled spending from all city employees. City Council has already put a per diem in place after I discussed this on the agenda at one of the meetings but I also think that putting a cap on rental cars and hotels is a good idea as well.

Keep in mind there are so many other things that we could utilize to keep the City under budget but just the few things I mentioned would help significantly. These are concerns that individuals have brought to me. Wanting to be a voice for the community this is a concern for them and needs to be addressed but will help in saving money

11) What do you think the city should do to draw new businesses or industry to Italy?

We have to fix the perception of Italy first. How can we fix this? We can fix this by holding people accountable for their actions during City time. We have to make sure that we are a customer service environment. We need to make sure all city employees are nice and respectful because the citizens and individuals that visit are the customers. Once the perception is changed we can then begin to move forward and get new businesses in but it all falls on the leadership of the City to make a change.

12) What community service have you given any community in the past?

When I was growing up every summer I helped my grandpa take care of the cemetery.

13) What volunteer work have you done in the Italy Community?

I have coached IYAA football and baseball.

14) What do you want the voters to know that they may not know?

I want people to vote for me because they want change and they want this Town to move forward. I have ruffled feathers and I have upset certain people. I am sorry for this but I will not hide things and will always attack issues head on. However, I will treat each individual with respect. I will listen and address all issues/concerns. The leadership now, not only do they not listen to the individuals but they disrespect them by either yelling, rolling their eyes, or some other disrespectful gesture. If given a chance to be a public servant I promise that you as citizens will not be disrespected from employees or governing officials again.

It’s Time For A Change!!!!

Comment from Italy Police Chief, Diron Hill – 4/4/1014-5:04pm

I would like to comment regarding the answer Mr. Farmer gave in his questionare on how he would save money for the city by terminating the police chief’s take home vehicle. Mr. Farmer is only partially correct. He stated that I indicated that my average monthly fuel consumption is about $400.00 per month which equals about $4800.00 per year. He is making it seem that I spend $4800.00 per year for only driving to and from my residence. His statement would be correct, if all I did in the patrol car was to drive to and from my residence in Burleson. Driving to and from my residence is only a fraction of my fuel consumption. Mr. Farmer is not calculating the mileage and fuel consumption of when I patrol the city, respond to calls for service, drive to various locations for follow up investigations, delivering council packets, report to meetings as a representative of the Italy Police Department, deliver cases to the Ellis County DA, respond to calls in Milford or Ellis County, training classes, etc. Also, Mr. Farmer is very aware as well as all of the current City Council that when I was hired by Italy, the take home car issue was made a benefit as a part of my salary negotiation because I was taking a very large pay cut from my previous employment to become the Chief of Police for Italy. For the City Council or Mr. Farmer to take away my take home vehicle, would be likened to taking away Health Care (which is benefit) from an employee. I just wanted to provide the citizens of Italy with factual information.

Comment from Steven Farmer – 4/7/14 3:27pm

I would like to address Mr.Hill’s comment that he posted under my questionnaire. Mr. Hill is correct about me not factoring in “Official City Business”. I am only talking about personal use to and from his residence to the City of Italy. In addition to the personal use, Mr Hill drives every other Thursday when he gets paid to Burleson on his lunch and deposits his check and then drives back to finish his shift. I also did leave out how Mr.Hill drives the police car to Hill College because he is an instructor for them. Let’s not forget that Mr. Hill stated the interview panel he would be moving to the community within 6 months of employment. This has still not taken place.
This isn’t a personal attack on Mr. Hill. I previously asked you why you were driving the City Vehicle for personal use and you said," City Council allows you to. This bad decision falls on the City Council and this is one of the many reasons I am running. Chief I appreciate the passion that you have for the Police Department but these decisions are made at the Council Level. Thank you for your comments!