Editor’s note: This article has been updated to correct the spelling of La Monte Mayor Paul Wilbern’s name.
Two candidates are vying for the office of City of La Monte mayor, newcomer Ronnie McNeive and incumbent Paul Wilbern, who missed the filing deadline but has entered the race as a write-in candidate. Term is for two years. Each candidate was asked to fill out a questionnaire about their candidacy; Wilbern did not submit any responses. Answers may have been edited for length.
Why are you running for office?
Ronnie McNeive: “As a La Monte homeowner, over the past year I have attended regular city council meetings and have spoken for and against issues. During the past year I have dedicated a large amount of my personal time working on projects because I care about the image and the future of our neighborhood and city. I see a great opportunity and need for daily leadership skills to propel the city forward for a positive future. I know that I can work diligently toward a more efficient, fiscally responsible, and ethical leadership that will represent the interest of our citizens.”
What are your qualifications?
McNeive: “I have owned and operated my own farm for 35 years, in addition to maintaining full-time employment. I have 25 years experience as a manager in retail environments. In my experience, I have learned to be able to first listen to the customer for their wants and needs. It is very satisfying to help solve problems and give ideas that accomplish what is best for the customer’s needs.
“I am able to see what is best for the long-term and not just a temporary quick fix. A rapid response is sometimes necessary, with a permanent well thought out plan as a follow up. Over the years I have dealt with preparing a budget and being held accountable for the outcome for the fiscal year. My family has learned to live with a budget without the use of a credit card. I understand what a budget is for and how to accomplish a goal. An old saying is to plan your work, then work your plan.”
What do you think are some top issues facing the City of La Monte that need to be addressed soon?
McNeive: “We must focus on the core functions of our city infrastructure with upgrades that will be able to meet with EPA and DNR requirements for now and in the future with both the water and sewer systems.”
What goals do you have for office if you are elected?
McNeive: “I want to keep the homeowners and residents of the city informed on our city business decisions. We will be starting a monthly newsletter that informs readers about past results and upcoming business projects. I would like to promote youth and adults working on special town projects with the police and fire department. I would like to start more voluntary group efforts that will work together as a team for the betterment of our community.”
Why should people vote for you?
McNeive: “Working along with the board of alderman will make a team effort on solving situations. I will not be receptive of the statement that ‘we have always done it that way.’ We must seek out what is best for today and for the future of our community. I will be a working mayor with a wide variety of knowledge and experience from my past jobs. I am currently employed but will be available Monday through Thursday for the daily activities of the city. My motto has always been ‘I will make every penny count’ and that will continue.”