On April 2, Oshkosh voters will elect three candidates to serve on the Oshkosh Common Council. The OI has connected with four of the five council candidates to provide a short profile of each.
Oshkosh Common Council Candidate: Tom Pech, Jr.
Current Profession: Inside Sales Representative, Aero-Space Fasteners and Electronics. Over thirty-five (35) years of business experience with continual career advancement and development in sales, marketing and relationship management, public relations and messaging, and accounting and financial analysis.
Education: Bachelor of Business Administration and Master of Science-Accounting from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
Elected Public Service:
– Oshkosh City Council: Incumbent, April 2011 to present
– Winnebago County Board: April 1995 to April 2007
– Race for the Light benefiting Christine Ann Domestic Abuse Services, Founder and Director, 16 years, with the 17th race to be held this December
– USA Hockey, Referee, Mentor new officials, Coach
(OI) List two specific and concrete programs / policies / initiatives that the city needs to change that you will be advocating for if elected to serve the next two years on the council:
Over the past eight years Council created, implemented and updated a strategic plan for Oshkosh. This plan identifies the five (5) key initiatives that support the growth, development and progress of our city.
– Support Economic Development
– Continue to Strengthen Our Neighborhoods
– Improve and Maintain Our Infrastructure
– Improve Our Quality of Life Assets
– Develop an Effective, High Performing Government
I believe that the City should continue this strategic planning process as it, along with public input will identify the programs / policies / initiatives needed to continue to move Oshkosh forward. No plan is perfect but we can make continual improvement, as I and my fellow Council Members have done these past eight (8) years.
As far as specific initiatives are concerned, first, I plan on working with the City Manager, Finance Director, Long Range Planning Committee and Council to review and update the City’s Long-Term Debt Management plan. The plan was implemented to address the significant long-term debt burden the City was carrying and implemented a ten (10) year plan to reduce the debt ratio to under 70%. This goal was achieved five (5) years ahead of schedule.
Second, I will work with all stakeholders in the continued economic development of Oshkosh. Economic development isn’t just about businesses and jobs, it is also about residential revitalization and development, it is about infrastructure, it is about the quality of life assets in Oshkosh. We cannot, and I will not, focus on one of these to the detriment of the others.
In my eight (8) years on Council I have always focused on the betterment of the whole over the few and made decisions that are the in best interests of Oshkosh and not the “special” interests.
Some people look at government as the solution, some people look at government as the problem. I see government as a part of the solution to our problems and a facilitator of taking advantage of opportunities.
(OI) Identify one gap that exists in the city that warrants considerable attention and work from the city and what is your position on what needs to happen:
The largest gap that requires attention is related to the budget. Shared revenues continue to be reduced, grant funding has become more competitive in the application process along with shrinking funding and the state legislature has continued to whittle away at the assessed value that the City can levy taxes against. At the same time, we see increased costs, as all citizens of Oshkosh experience.
The City must continue to deliver the high level of services demanded by the citizens in the most cost-effective manner as possible. With that said, I will advocate for the City at the legislative level to stop and hopefully restore some of the shared revenues the City has lost over the years as well as making the City whole for the revenues lost, the cost of which is and will be borne by the residential and small business tax payer of Oshkosh, due to the personal property tax exemptions passed by the legislature.
Lately there has been discussion about the City providing free bus transportation to all students in the Oshkosh Area School District. There is no such thing as free, someone will have to pay the cost. Further, this is not just a City issue, this is an OASD issue.
I believe that the City can be a part of addressing the transportation deficit that was identified by several groups in our community. To that point, I offered a resolution that would provide a matching grant, $.50 for every $1.00 of private money raised to provide a solution. This resolution was tabled by Council. However, I am not done. Should I be elected to a new term I will work with OASD, non-profits, businesses and the City to solve the problem.
(OI) Why will you be an effective representative of the citizens of Oshkosh:
I have been honored to serve the citizens of Oshkosh for the past (8) years and during that time I have been open and honest with the citizens and stakeholders, have reached out to them for their input and made decisions that were and are in the best interests of ALL citizens and stakeholders.
I said what I was going to do and then went out and did it.
Should I receive the honor of a fifth term I will not change. I will continue to foster and build partnerships and coalitions, seek input from all sources, inform the citizens and always, always make decisions that will make Oshkosh better today than yesterday but not as great as it can and will be tomorrow.
visit www.oshkoshindependent.com for profiles of four of the council candidates and the two mayor candidates. one council candidate did not respond to multiple requests.