At the bottom of this article, you will find a list of questions
posed to the candidates and a key to listening to their responses.
The crowd consisted of a cross section of people interested in the
city and government process. There were a number of city officials
and department heads, county officials, members of the chamber of
commerce and the development partnership, business owners and
industry leaders, college leaders, teachers, students, residents,
and family members of the candidates.
The Lincoln College Student Senate and the Lincoln/Logan County
Chamber of Commerce Government/Education Committee co-sponsored the
mayoral candidate forum, which was held in Lincoln College's Johnson
Center. Lincoln College President John Hutchinson read the
Beyond their own opening and closing statements, the candidates
were asked to respond to eight questions. They were permitted three
minutes each round and could include any rebuttals to previous
questions in that time. The order of speaking began with Michael
"Mike" Thornton, Pat O'Neill and Keith Snyder, and then alternated
the order, with each candidate allowed to be first every third
Candidates were courteous, exercised decorum and showed
congeniality toward one another throughout, sometimes mirroring each
other's ideas and crediting one another. Yet each candidate stood
out in where his emphasis would be placed in generating revenue and
in where funds would go to first in the city. Property cleanup,
infrastructure, business marketing and development, and tourism were
on each candidate's platform, but their formulas for progress
differed greatly at some points.
Most of the responses were delivered in a serious business tone,
but there were some lighter moments that brought laughter to all.
You can listen to hear what candidates considered of greatest
importance, and if forced to it, how they would handle the potential
loss of revenue created by the current economic crisis affecting the
(Counter times estimated)
1:30 Michael Thornton
2:40 Pat O'Neill
4:45 Keith Snyder
Question 1: Are you in favor of the continued financial support
of the Lincoln & Logan County Development Partnership? How do you
see your administration interacting with the partnership?
Question 2: Given the current economic conditions, city revenue
will decrease. Anticipating this, how would you handle a revenue
shortfall and what other sources of revenue would you access?
Question 3: Can you prioritize infrastructure updates: for
example, roads, sidewalks and buildings? How do you plan to exercise
Which candidate proposes creating a comprehensive plan, following
the county's plan, that would be used to prioritize city needs?
Question 4: How do you see your office being structured? Would
you have a full-time mayor? Would you have a full-time city
[to top of second column]
One candidate does not think there is a need for either full-time
Another candidate is in favor of having a city administrator. He
suggested that transferring some responsibilities that are now
performed by the city attorney would fund the position.
And, another candidate said that two-thirds of the cities in the
nation with a population over 2,500 have a full-time chief
administrator. He saw that having such a position would help the
city with continuity between administrations and that it would
relieve the clerk and treasurer to do more in their jobs. He would
explore the possibilities as it could be afforded.
Question 5: Do you have a plan for updating municipality codes
and enforcing existing codes?
Unkempt properties were frequently a point of attention in the
evening's responses. In this, too, the candidates differed in how
they would attempt to bring about changes. This question was maybe
the best in getting an understanding of where each person stands.
Question 6: How would you propose to make the city of Lincoln
One candidate admits to not really buying into all the
environmental alarms but does support beautification and other
efforts that would aid the city with going green.
Hear who commented, "The only green I like to see is out on
baseball fields and a few dead presidents in my pockets."
Another candidate was strongly committed to the city and
individuals taking responsibility for energy use and recycling
And another candidate would look into the city using several
different renewable clean-energy sources that might even be at a
savings, as well as actively supporting a tree program, getting
youth, neighborhoods and businesses involved in different efforts.
Question 7: What is your personal long-term commitment to this
Question 8: What do you see as the roles of the colleges in
Question 8: What are the strengths of the city of Lincoln and
what are your plans to capitalize on those strengths?
candidate forum (audio replay)