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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Kennesaw Council, At Large, Post 4

The councilmember proposes bills, holds votes, and passes laws to help govern the city.
CHOOSE TWO CANDIDATES FROM BELOW TO COMPARE
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    Jimmy Devall Dickens Sr. Barber

  • Chris Henderson

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    James V. Sebastian Jr. Consultant/Broker

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Biographical Information

What experience do you bring to the job to set policy for your city and what is your motivation to serve?

What, in your opinion, is the biggest budget issue facing your city and how, if elected would you propose to address it?

How should your city address the issues of lobbyist gifts, ethical behavior, and transparency in government?

Legal Permanent Residents and naturalized citizens contribute over a billion dollars in state and local taxes each year. How will you help ensure your city is a welcoming place for foreign born entrepreneurs and their families?

Cities across the country are embracing aggressive goals to reduce carbon pollution. What do you believe your municipality should do to support cleaner air?

Campaign Phone (770) 882-5180
My experience that I bring to the job to set policy for the city of Kennesaw is that I have had the privilege to serve on the City Council for the past two years. I have also been an entrepreneur for the last twenty years. My motivation is the people that I serve in our city. To the ones that feel they have no voice and to the ones that are leaders and have accomplished much. My motivation is that I am just like them… I have my fears, doubts, insecurities, but I also have my strengths, passion, and most importantly my faith.
Reflecting on my first term as serving on the City Council, the three biggest challenges that we should still focus on for the city of Kennesaw are as follows: Transparency: We must be committed to financial transparency. Our city must continue to create a financial porter that provides citizens a transparent view of how funds are invested and used.  Citizens should be able to access budget documents, financial reports, as well as interact with financial data through a financial portal on the City Of Kennesaw’s website.   Collaboration:  We must continue to create a collaborative partnership between the mayor and the City Council members to support all citizens in the city of Kennesaw. We must be open to hear viewpoints and issues from all constituents and make informed decisions and policies that will create a positive and inviting community for all citizens.     Financial Reserve:  We must continue to make informed financial decisions. This will allow the creation of a strong financial reserve.
I believe that we should continue to increase transparency and promote good government practices to curb unethical behavior in government.
As an entrepreneur for the past twenty years, I understand the hardships and difficulties that entrepreneurs confront. I will continue to work to cultivate an environment where entrepreneurs and businesses can thrive to increase the well- being our citizens.  
Our City Council has been very intentional in creating policies to support cleaner air. I believe that we should continue to create policies that support walking, biking, and carpooling. Additionally, policies should be created to protect and preserve green space. I also believe that we should continue to encourage growth of businesses in downtown Kennesaw where families are able to walk to their destinations
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Campaign Phone (770) 424-5886
Website http://N/A
I have a BBA from the University of Michigan majoring in business development and operations management. Later, I attended classes at night and summers completing an MBA specializing in business development, operations and finance from Kennesaw State University graduating with Honors and a member of Phi Kappa Phi.

Thirty-five years of hands-on management experience in all disciplines of business with profit and loss responsibilities. The last 16 years, I have owned a consulting, administration and brokering firm specializing in Manufacturer Product Warranties and Retail Contracts.

Volunteer time spent with numerous entities including Boy Scouts, churches, special needs children’s groups with mental disorders, Men’s groups and Chairman of the Kennesaw Citizens Advisory Council. Currently, I am an elected Councilperson for the City of Kennesaw. The last four years on Council uncovered numerous opportunities for betterment, especially in the financial stability of the City.
As mentioned earlier, fiscal stability is the largest threat to the future of Kennesaw. Most governments claim they are perpetual and cannot go bankrupt. Did anyone tell that to Detroit? Over 50% of the $20 Billion deficit was attributable to retirement and OPEB with bonds and loans accounting for another 25%. This resulted in retirees loosing substantial portions of their expected retirement and benefits.

Retirement and Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) are two of the main constrictions to a financially healthy City. Most public and private companies have eliminated retirement accounts; migrating to 401K programs for employees. OPEB has been significantly reduced or eliminated. These are only two of the many other areas that need review.
There have been several stories in the media lately of government employee abuse of position in various forms. While a majority of civil servants are honest and ethical, there are always those that abuse their position and blemish the image of those having political careers.

A part-time elected official should not expect to be educated, fed and entertained by taxpayers. Especially when some full-time employees are not eligible for such. Full accountability of all elected official spending is an absolute minimum. Eliminate government credit cards where elected officials are not liable for charges made. Provide reimbursement for required classes and conferences only. Enact more than a ‘slap on the hand’ for those that abuse their position or try to profit personally.
There is an ‘Open Arms’ policy regarding and supporting all aspects of the ‘Quality of Life’ goal adopted by Kennesaw. Any business or individual, by Ordinance, is treated equally. Kennesaw, has numerous businesses, both large and small, owned and operated by foreign born individuals. Likewise, there is a broad mix of nationalities, religions and genres enjoying the broad array of housing options available in Kennesaw.
One of Kennesaw’s primary goals is the ‘Quality of Life’ agenda mandated by both citizens and businesses. Recently, the City’s Parks & Recreation department received the Healthy Georgia All-Star Award for Communities along with numerous other ‘Clean City’ awards and recognitions.

Keep Kennesaw Beautiful is a very active committee in the City focused exclusively on all facets of ‘Quality of Life’ deliverables. Public education of various pollutants, their impact on the environment and ways to mitigate or eliminate harmful elements or practices are constantly addressed by this group of City personnel and area volunteers.

Stormwater and its potential to contaminate the environment is also addressed both by enacted regulations and public awareness programs.

There is more Kennesaw can do and more programs and initiatives will be developed as funds become available.

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