Six Town Council Candidates Discuss The Area's Vital Issues

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A total of six candidates are running in the March 12 primary election for the three seats on the Payson Town Council being vacated by Ken Murphy, Hoby Herron and Jim Spencer, whose terms are expiring. The candidates are:

Judy Buettner

Buettner, who says she wants to further the vision of Payson as a strong, healthy community meeting the needs of all its citizens, has four children, four grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.

She has a degree in accounting and is a retired business administrator who has been active for many years in the Republican Party.

Robert Henley

Henley, who wants to address the challenges facing the town by aggressively seeking and analyzing information and then making a reasoned decision, has two grown daughters. He has a masters degree in business administration and is retired from a management position in the high-technology industry.

Andy Kaiser

Kaiser, who wants to "participate in the development of a prosperous Payson as an economic hub of northern Gila County," has three children and five grandchildren. He has a degree in economics and owned a specialty printing and manufacturing business in Vermont prior to retiring.

Ken Knapp

Knapp, who stands for "taking care of our own first, with growth coming second," has one son and two grandchildren. His higher education is in business administration and he worked for Arizona Public Service for 25 years five of them in management.

Dick Reese

Reese, who wants to reach out to all segments of the Payson community "listening, learning, responding and representing," has three children and nine grandchildren. His degree is in business and electrical engineering, and he founded and served as CEO of a leading construction project management company.

John Wilson

Wilson, who says he is running for town council for a simple reason he cares, has seven children and 14 grandchildren. A graduate of Northern Arizona University, he is a certified public accountant who retired from a 32-year career with the Internal Revenue Service.

Each of the candidates responded to a set of questions posed by the Roundup. Following, in a linear, easy-to-follow format, are the first three of six questions and responses:

1. What is your pertinent experience, including education, government, occupation?

BUETTNER: Past president, Library Friends of Payson; member, Library Policy Committee; Chairwoman, Payson Board of Adjustments; retired business administrator, dental office; past finance chairwoman, county Republican Party; Township Board Treasurer, 14 years (elected position); co-owner of a furniture and carpet store; degree in accounting. Secretary, Mountain View Homeowners Association.

HENLEY: My undergraduate business degree is from Oklahoma State University and my master of business administration is from the University of Denver. I have 28 years experience in the high technology industry, 20 of those years in management, with extensive experience in managing people, projects and budgets. Most of my career focused on outside customers, providing sales, customer support and consulting services.

I learned that success came from listening to my customers and developing solutions to meet their needs. This experience is what I will bring to the citizens and businesses of Payson.

KAISER: 1945-46 U.S. Navy; 1950 Graduated from Yale, BA in Economics; 1950-1971 General Electric Company. Audit staff, headquarters financial staff; comptroller of Mexican Subsidiaries (1959-65); Financial and Marketing Director of South African Subsidiary (1965-69); Latin America Planning, Mergers and Business Development (1969-71); 1971-1988, with wife, Anne, owned and operated a "mom and pop" specialty printing and manufacturing business in Middlebury, VT. Sold business and retired to Rio Verde, Ariz. in 1988.

KNAPP: High School graduate, Paterson, N.J. Two years business administration at Glendale Community College, Phoenix. Various management seminars through employer, Arizona Public Service. Also, a U.S. Army veteran. Was employed for 25 years with APS, five of them in management.

REESE: Graduated in business and electrical engineering. I worked my way through college, learning how to earn trust and lead other people in successful team efforts. Army veteran, Korea, Commissioned officer. Founded and served as CEO of Arizona's leading Construction Project Management company, overseeing all kinds and sizes of public and private sector projects through planning, design and construction as the owner's representative. Principal in the development and ownership of a 27 million gallon per day drinking water treatment plant which today serves the city of Scottsdale. Vice chairman, Arizona Legislative District 26.

WILSON: Graduate of Northern Arizona University. Retired from a 32-year career with the Internal Revenue Service. During this time I had the opportunity of working directly with individuals, their representatives and legal counsel. Advancement within the IRS requires the ability to examine businesses of all types and sizes. I have knowledge and expertise of businesses from the smallest individual proprietorship through multi-national, Fortune 500 Corporations. Retired at the highest level of expertise within the IRS. In Payson I am currently serving on The Payson General Plan Technical Advisory Committee and the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. Prior to the completion of the library I served on the Library Project Policy Committee.

I am a Certified Public Accountant. I currently provide opinions on the accuracy of books and records of various local entities. I have a small tax practice; however, the majority of my work is volunteer.

2. Why are you running for council?

BUETTNER: I have devoted a large part of my life to public service. This experience has given me leadership, coalition building and organizational skills I can bring to the Payson Town Council to improve the quality of life for all citizens.

HENLEY: I have always been interested in government and the integrity of the process. For the past two years, because of my interest in local government and the welfare of the Town of Payson, I have attended Town Council, Planning and Zoning and advisory board meetings. I was a member of the Town Hall 2020 meeting and am currently a member of the Technical Advisory Committee for the Town's General Plan Update. Through this process I have become more informed on the Town's issues. I started this without any consideration of running for an office; however, my wife and I plan to live here for a long time and I want to see Payson prosper. I believe all citizens or business owners should have input to decisions made by the Council and I will listen to all sides before making my decision.

KAISER: I am running for Town Council because I would like to participate in the development of Payson as the hub of Northern Gila County. I believe that the town can be much more than a convenient stopping place for travelers on the way to another destination. Its location, the beauty of its environment and its pleasant year-round climate make Payson a logical center for regional influence serving a growing population in the Rim country. We have limitations with respect to water, land and financial resources that require careful planning and execution to assure measured progress in the area. I would like to work to achieve this broad objective.

KNAPP: It certainly is not to satisfy my ego or to partner-up with special interest groups. I want to bring unity between councilmen, mayor and town staff. I would like to see leadership in Town Hall to carry this unity over to the citizens. We need to address citizens' needs, such as an adequate water supply, maintain street and storm drains, citizens' recreational needs, and address the shifting of budget monies from one area to another. We must return credibility, concern and compassion for all taxpayers to our town government.

REESE: On one hand I looked at the needs and concerns most of us have about our town and its future. On the other I looked realistically at my background and qualifications to serve you. Putting that all together, I know the time has come to really get involved. I love this place and can make a difference.

WILSON: I feel that I can provide knowledge, balance and expertise on the council for the future of Payson. I will not support a temporary fix that will create future problems.

3. What do you offer the town that the other candidates don't?

BUETTNER: Demonstrated leadership and experienced public service. I was pleased to be able to provide the leadership to bring the new Payson Public Library to completion. This position provided me the opportunity to work with the mayor and town council members, as well as the town manager and staff on behalf of the Library Friends of Payson. Working together, we accomplished what had been impossible before. I am a coalition builder. I have the skills to promote a spirit of cooperation and negotiation between different interests to reach compromise without sacrificing ideals. I plan to use these skills to bring together different factions in Payson to work out differences without rancor, and to find consensus on each issue based on what is best for our community's future.

HENLEY: I have spent two years studying the issues that affect the businesses and citizens of Payson. I have a strong business background where my success was tied to listening to my customers and designing a solution that met their needs, was within budget and was delivered on time. My job experience was in the high technology industry where management sought input from all stakeholders and stressed a collaborative decision making process. We need that kind of approach here in Payson and I will use this approach if elected to the Town Council.

KAISER: I have an extensive background of planning and management experience in a variety of locations in the US and abroad. This experience has exposed me to a broad spectrum of relationship responsibilities. I know the importance of bringing people and ideas together and achieving results that meet the balanced, best interests of all concerned. I have no personal agenda or ambition that is in conflict with Payson's effective progress and development. I strive to achieve consensus and to avoid divisive and disruptive conflict.

KNAPP: Humility, concern for all, ability to work with others. The ability to treat everyone the same even if we disagree. I have no axe to grind. I am a "people person" and know what their needs are. I know the difference between "needs" and "wants." I am both a listener and a man of action. I have lived in Payson longer than any other candidate.

REESE: Ability to bring people together. I can unify town, government and community. I will lead the way in getting to the truth and communicating it concerning water, business development, housing, traffic, responsible spending and planning. I have an exceptional track record of success, creativity and leadership. For example, I believe Town government should not necessarily be in the real estate business. Let's investigate potential benefits of selling existing government-owned buildings, putting the cash to work for us to meet some priority needs such as improving our streets, and leasing the space town government needs to function efficiently.

WILSON: I am not a newcomer to Payson, and I am no longer the youngest kid on the block. My length of residency and maturity will provide leadership to other members of the council. I am fiscally conservative and will manage town finances responsibly. As a Payson resident, I have always been involved with projects that have improved our town. I will work with our Payson residents and the town council in resolving issues. I will consider all alternatives before reaching a final conclusion. My prior career required success in negotiation, while maintaining the end result, considering all alternatives.

See Part 2 of the council candidates' responses in the Tuesday, Jan. 22 issue of the Payson Roundup.

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