MAYORAL CANDIDATES: FOLLOWUP QUESTIONS
What tangible efforts are you or will you make to bring all the views of your constituency together as opposed to being a polarizing leader?
Jean Hennagin responds: Get the Citizen Engagement Committee seated and although I will not lead that committee I will implore them to put out a citizen satisfaction/communication survey immediately. Find out what’s on the minds of citizens, what kind of information they want from the city, and what vehicles of communication work for them. We can make quick and easy changes to the website to be more user-friendly. Opt-in to city Newsflashes that provide substantive information rather than fluff. Fluff is good (art exhibits, concerts around town, etc.), but must be accompanied by real information (i.e., city council agendas before the fact not after, plans for development before they are finalized, large expenditures and the necessity for them before the money is spent.) Energize and encourage citizen participation on committees, boards and commissions by utilizing a fair volunteer selection process. Bring diverse groups of citizens together to work on city problems and issues. Be visible, accessible and engaged.
Tiffany McMillan responds: The foundation of my campaign is access and inclusion, and I will continue with this standard. The exclusion of so many people is one of the big reasons I’m running for office, and I welcome everyone.
I will develop access for all citizens through our entire City Council. Is it time to have representation in each of our eight precincts, rather than “at large”? It’s definitely something to consider. There are about 12,000 registered voters in Lakeway, and seven City Council members. This means each CC person represents about 1700 constituents. We need to develop a strategic plan to ensure we’re reaching the citizens effectively, developing active communication, and measuring those results.
Easy things we can do are “open door” activities such as weekly community coffees, monthly “Brown Bag Luncheons.” I think it’s essential the CC is out in the community engaging with citizens and business owners, developing relationships, and getting valuable input and feedback from attending community meetings, events, HOA meetings, etc.
I pledge to utilize modern technology avenues so that we have easy and accessible ways for the community to participate in decisions and give real-time feedback on any given topic.
I pledge to host a “State of the Union” every year in January – led by citizens. I envision the SOTU being an evaluation of how we’re doing, as well as, a community plan for objectives for the coming year.
I pledge to directly inform the community about projects coming doing the pipeline, programs that are being developed, changes / improvements at City Hall. I will do this through social media using tools such as Facebook Live, emails, texts, a blog (run by the City, not Tiffany), etc.
I will serve the community by representing the citizens.
Sandy Cox responds: I believe how your run your campaign sets the tone for how you will lead as Mayor. I have purposefully stayed above the fray and spent the time talking about my merits instead of disparaging my opponents. I have remained positive, forward looking, and solution oriented. I have also committed in many public forums that I will include anyone that has run for Lakeway elected office in one of the many Committees or Commissions as I value diverse views. I have met or have scheduled to meet with all Mayoral and Council Candidates to begin building a working relationship. I believe in listening and involving various viewpoints in problem-solving to help us find the win/win solutions. I will create a regular Community Conversation with the residents to provide a forum for dialog and I will overhaul our City communications to make it easier for our residents to stay informed and find critical information.
What in your past experience would make you a great Mayor?
Jean Hennagin responds: Ten years of Lakeway volunteerism, three years on Zoning & Planning, two years on City Council. A proven record of challenging the current thinking, which is why I am not the “establishment” candidate and do not boast of having the support of the ex-mayors, current mayor and city council. I have a record of opposing large developments and requests for variances. I am a Certified Municipal Officer. I’ve dedicated the last year to learning all I can about the functioning of municipal governments.
Tiffany McMillan responds: Being an advocate for three decades, with a nonprofit leadership background, gives me a unique perspective to serve the community and represent citizens. My focus is on representing people, and serving the greater good, not on politics.
I believe one of the most critical issues our city is facing right now is that of our City not listening to citizens. I’m a listener. That’s what advocates do. I believe we all bring insight and wisdom to the challenges we face together.
Another huge issue is our City’s lack of open and transparent government. Real or imagined, citizens feel left out of decisions and perceive information is censored by the time it’s made public. 25+ years in nonprofit, where leadership is accountable to the Board of Directors, supporters, volunteers, and funders, where everything is open and accessible, sets a standard of access, inclusion and transparency.
Sandy Cox responds: I have built working relationships and have gained the respect of our community's business leaders, past mayors, council members, Chamber of Commerce leadership, school board members and many devoted members of the community. Because, I am strategic, collaborative, a consensus builder, a win-win negotiator, a long time Lakeway resident (19 years), a Wife (23 years), and a Mom (soon-to-be empty-nester).
I am an Experienced Leader
21 -years technology career at Freescale, Motorola & IBM
Electrical and Computer Engineer from Georgia Tech
Managed a $6B global supply chain
Successful in leading large turn-around organizations
Proven organizational "Change Agent"
Former Lakeway City Councilmember
I am Dedicated to the Community
Safeplace Board (10 years)
TexARTS Board Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer (6 years)
LTISD 2011 $156M Bond PAC President
City of Lakeway Visitor Commission Chairman (2 years)
Texas State University Mathworks Advisory Board (3 years)
I have been Recognized
City of Lakeway - 2013 "Volunteer of the Year"
Freescale "Top 100 Leaders" every year of tenure
Austin Business Journal "Profiles in Power" Finalist 2006 & 2007
Freescale CEO Development Program
Although The Hills cannot vote in this election, will The Hills be affected by this new development and should the hills have a voice in this election?
Jean Hennagin responds: The Hills will be greatly impacted by over-development of the land behind HEB. They should have a voice on the topic of development. I’m not so sure they should have a voice in the “election”. These are our issues, but we must take our neighbors into consideration.
Tiffany McMillan responds: I have been including residents from The Hills in my campaign as I believe they’re very much a part of our community. Our children go to school together, we shop at the same grocery stores, we socialize together and serve our community together. I do believe the Aldermen of the Hills should be included in conversations, even if they can’t vote, because their voices and perspective matter and ought to be considered.
Sandy Cox responds: The Hills is affected by any development Lakeway undertakes. I think it is very important for the City of Lakeway to work with our surrounding cities and counties to enable more cohesive regional plans to provide for the necessary infrastructure.
What is your opinion on the deer management issue, and what suggestions or ideas do you have about how this should be handled?
Jean Hennagin responds: I have a common sense approach – Deer monitoring not deer management. Stop the trapping now. Put the money budgeted for the trapper toward annual deer surveys and census and toward an on-call wildlife biologist. Form a new committee dedicated to overseeing all wildlife – not just deer. Seek open-minded citizens to serve on the new committee. Monitor the numbers and attempt to determine carrying capacity. If the deer population starts to grow beyond acceptable levels task the committee with finding a more humane way to control the herd. Pilot programs, experimental techniques, etc.
Tiffany McMillan responds:
- I propose we decommission the “Deer Management Committee” and form a “Wildlife Management Committee”
- I propose we seek experts and citizens to serve on the “Wildlife Management Committee” with backgrounds such as science, biology, wildlife biology, urban development, urban planning, conservation, etc.
- I propose we end our contract with the trapper we’ve contracted with for 18+ years
- I propose we stop T.T.P. Our community doesn’t support this and we must find a better solution.
- Locally, I propose we implement a community education / outreach plan to develop awareness about living among wildlife, why feeding wildlife is bad, what to plant, what not to plant, driving with caution, etc.
- Locally, I propose we install proper warning signs on our roads about driving cautiously around wildlife.
- Collaborate with the Lakeway Police Department to understand the locations of deer / vehicle collisions. What traffic calming things can we do in these spots? Will additional signs help? Is it appropriate to reduce the speed?
- Annual deer census at the optimal time of year – September / October.
- Collaborate with Texas Parks and Wildlife on pilot programs and studies appropriate for Lakeway. Explore possibilities with Texas A & M also.
- If we need to cull our herd, I propose we cull with a prescription selecting specific genders and ages so that the herd remains healthy, doesn’t panic into massive reproduction, and better replicates what happens in the wild. I also propose non-lethal management as the standard, and lethal as the last resort.
Sandy Cox responds: The deer are an asset to our community. When I first moved to Lakeway in 1999, the deer were abundant and scrawny. Which is what preempted the introduction of a management program. Lakeway has been recognized by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) as having a benchmark deer management program in the state of Texas. As with any program, you have to monitor the results and determine if the program is meeting its goals. There are only a few TPWD approved methods for controlling the deer population. Trapping and Transporting is the most cost effective, but Sharpshooters and fertility controls are options. Lakeway currently processes the deer and donates the meat to a local food bank. What would l change about the program?
• Review the latest and historical data to understand how the program is or isn't meeting its goals (safety of our residents and a healthy herd). I believe we need a current census & carrying capacity of our city. Then propose modifications to the program.
• If we continue to trap, find a way to release the deer on another ranch.
• Revisit where the trap sites are located and move traps away from resident's homes.
Can you tell us what special interest groups/individuals you’ve received money from, not just developers?
Jean Hennagin responds: My financial support initially came from friends and family. However, the majority of my donations come from citizens who are tired of the way we’ve been doing things at City Hall and are seeking an experienced leader who does not have a learning curve and can hit the ground running to enact the change needed in city government. I’ve been in the trenches. I didn’t quit and I didn’t come out of left field. I’ve been on the inside but I’m not an “insider”. I know what we need to change and I know what we need to preserve.
Tiffany McMillan responds: I’m not sure what you consider a “special interest” group, but, depending on your definition, these may be considered “special”:
- Honorable John Lipscombe, Travis County Court #3;
- Stacey Suits, Travis County Constable;
- Mark Lehman, VP of Governmental Affairs at Texas Association of Realtors;
- Joy Authur, Director of Development at People’s Community Clinic;
- Dan Lovallo, Economist;
- Rita Cross, President of *C.A.F.A. – Citizen Advocates for Animals *C.A.F.A. has also recently endorsed me.
*Full disclosure: I don’t know every donor who has supported my campaign.
Sandy Cox responds: The Sandy Cox Campaign has raised over $17,000 from 80+ individuals and couples. I'm especially grateful for the incredible support from my neighbors, friends, work associates and community leaders. You will find that different groups of people have donated to my campaign. Republicans, Democrats and Independent voters have given to my campaign. Younger residents and older ones have donated along with teachers, police officers, and small business owners. Even a State Farm, Watkins, and Farmers Insurance professional can agree on something.
What special powers does the Mayor have compared to City Council?
Jean Hennagin responds: The mayor is the head of city government for ceremonial purposes only and as head of government in emergency situations only. I have worked hard to ensure that Lakeway governs to its City Charter. We are a city manager-council form of government. There is no provision for the mayor to have any more power than a councilmember who presides over council meetings. We do not need any more kings or queens of Lakeway.
Tiffany McMillan responds:
The Lakeway Mayor is a volunteer City Council member with ceremonial duties such as calling a spelling be or shoveling dirt at a groundbreaking ceremony. The Mayor has equal voting power and cannot veto a vote.
That said, the Mayor does set the tone for the City, and that tone with me is access and inclusion, where every citizen is welcomed and valued.
I also believe “many hands makes light work” and intend to provide opportunities for all City Council members who wish to perform ceremonial duties representing Lakeway.
Sandy Cox responds:
The Mayor: Is the ceremonial head of City Council; Works with the City Manager to strategize approaches to city issues; Represents the city at meetings, community functions, and negotiations; Drives the community conversations and policies; Develops the Strategic, Operational and Fiscal Plan with the City Manager.
However, the Mayor has only 1 vote of the 7 on council. There is no veto power, super vote, or any case that the Mayor can unilaterally make a decision for council (except in case of a Disaster). It is critical that the Mayor is capable of building relationships, working across political ideologies, and finding win/win solutions. It is even more important that the Mayor has the respect of the Council I am the only Mayoral candidate that is supported by the vast majority of council. Now, some would say it's because “I'm part of the establishment” or “I'm for the status quo.” That cannot be further from the truth. It's because my Council peers and myself have respectfully disagreed, challenged each other, and worked to arrive at consensus. I have not made wild accusations about their character, nor have I filed frivolous ethics complaints. We respect one another.
Is this position a political stepping stone and do you have other political aspirations?
Jean Hennagin responds: At this point I have no other political aspirations.
Tiffany McMillan responds: I’m not a politician and have no aspiration to be one. My goal is to get elected and serve the community making meaningful contributions. The purpose of me running is to break through the establishment and bring a fresh perspective to Lakeway by representing the citizens. I hope to get elected, do good work, get our City on firm foundation, then return to my private, quiet life.
Sandy Cox responds: I am not a politician - I'm a business woman, a community advocate/volunteer, a wife and a mom. I decided to run for the Mayor's office because I felt like I could make a difference for our community. I have no political aspirations other than roles that directly serve our community.
How will candidates maintain good ethical behavior if candidates are willing to accept financial contributions from builders? Is this a problem and how can this be fixed?
Jean Hennagin responds: Ethical and legal are two different things and I think it comes down to good judgement. While not illegal to accept donations from developers or special interest groups like the Arts, for instance, it becomes an issue if these groups are seeking to benefit individually from the donation. For example, if a large development is being considered by city council or if that development would somehow provide an amenity that serves only one special interest group. I believe that is wrong and I would not accept such a donation. I am not and will not be beholden to any special interest group.
Tiffany McMillan responds: I believe having a citizen-led administration, with an open and transparent government, will prevent ethical issues, as well as, provide oversight. I also believe the City should have ongoing training such as skills development, etiquette, communicating in the age of social media, conflict resolution, alternative dispute, ethics training, legal training, etc. I envision ongoing education, outreach and development for our City Council so we’re growing personally and professionally in our roles of serving the public.
Sandy Cox responds: There is nothing unethical or illegal about accepting campaign contributions. What is unethical is disparaging an opponent's character to win the election. I'd rather have our next Mayor be someone that has been transparent, forward thinking, positive, and ethical. A person that uses fear, uncertainty and doubt is more ethically concerning in my opinion. The city government structure is built to safe guard against individual unethical behavior (7 council members plus a city manager and staff). And, specifically with regards to builders and developers, any plan that comes before the council for a vote will have to have first passed ZAPCO. A Mayor alone (with one vote) cannot “fast track” any development.
Jean, where were you last year on the police station issues and when Mayor Bain was acting as John Smart? You weren’t speaking out. Explain why we should expect you to confront these issues when you did not last year?
Jean Hennagin responds: I supported the bond issue for the new police facility so had no reason to confront anyone. I supported it because I spent time with Chief Radford. We went over the plans in his office. I asked him specifically about the necessity of every aspect of the building plans. I didn’t support it because the council supported it. I didn’t support it because Dave DeOme told me to. I didn’t support it because Mayor Bain told me to. I supported it because our Chief is a man of high integrity and I trust him very much. In my opinion, I supported a project that will serve Lakeway forever. I still believe that to be true.I looked at other projects. The Lake Travis Community Library was underbuilt after about one year. The Swim Center was operating at capacity and fully programmed within two years of opening in 2003. The Activity Center also reached capacity quickly. City Hall was also underbuilt. We will not run into these same issues with the police facility.
I was disappointed and angered by our mayor’s behavior. I answered every email I received. I stated that I believed his behavior to be unethical and unacceptable. I talked to our city manager. I talked to our city attorney. I asked the city manager to convene the Board of Ethics to investigate. That same morning a formal charge was filed and the Board would be convening anyway. There were processes in place to address Mayor Bain’s behavior. Nothing I could have done or said would have changed anything. The citizens voted him in and they could vote him out. In addition, other state agencies were investigating. I still believe our first course of action should be to employ the processes in place.
Sandy, what will you do differently in order to work with all the citizens of Lakeway and avoid the current level of ethical issues?
Sandy Cox responds: I think how you run your campaign is an indication of how you will run the Mayor's office. How do you bring people together if you use your campaign to polarize and cast aspersions about your fellow council members, opponents, and key business leaders? As Mayor, you have to be able to work with everyone. You do not get to pick your team. You are only 1 vote out of 7. You must have the respect of the entire Council and be able to find consensus. Listening and embracing diverse opinions are key to working with all the residents. As a starting point for this type of discourse, I have committed in many public forums that I will find a place for all City Council and Mayoral candidates in our many Committees and Commissions. Additionally, we need to address the City's communication. We need to change the process of how we are going to get information out to the public as well as provide ways to have conversations. As your Mayor, I will create Community Conversations to improve 2-way communications between Lakeway residents and City Hall.
Tiffany, given your lack of governing experience, how will you effectively manage difficult governmental issues?
Tiffany McMillan responds: I believe it’s an asset that I haven’t been mentored by or influenced by the status quo of the current and immediate past administrations. That’s a big part of why I’m running because I think that for the changes we need in Lakeway, we need someone who is citizen-focused and has a fresh perspective. My plan is to work closely with the City staff and learn everything I need to know about day to day operations unique to Lakeway. In regard to managing difficult government issues, that’s where the citizens come in. I will develop an open and transparent administration, that includes citizens, and together we’ll make decisions. If I don’t know something, I’ll learn. If we need expert input, I’ll seek it. I have a huge network of experts in every industry from nonprofit to Fortune 500, and everything in between. I trust there’s a solution for every problem, and I’ll take the time, effort and energy to effectively manage solutions. I don’t think my job as Mayor is to govern, I believe my job is to serve by representing. I will manage decisions with the citizens.