Overland Park mayoral candidates on the issues: Camaraderie and collegiality

Overland Park Wards mayoral candidates weigh in on how to encourage cooperation among disagreeing councilmembers. File photo.

In August, we asked our readers about the issues you wanted to hear the candidates running for Overland Park Mayor address.

Based on your feedback, we developed a five-item questionnaire touching on the most important issues to the citizens of Overland Park.

Each day this week, we will publish the candidates’ responses to one of five questions. Today, we are publishing candidates’ responses to the following question:

Over the course of the past few years, there appears to have been a growing level of tension and animosity among members of the governing body. As mayor, what would you do to foster a culture of civility and collegiality among members of the council? How would you encourage cooperation and compromise among members who disagree?

Below are the answers the Post received from the candidates on the issue:

Curt Skoog

In my 16 years on city council I have been a collaborative leader, working through differences with my colleagues to make sure we do the right thing for our constituents. That’s why I’m supported by 21 current or former city council members.

The vast majority of votes taken by city council pass unanimously and only rarely are votes made by a split decision. It’s been my experience that most of my colleagues over the years only want to represent their constituents and communicate openly and honestly. Some of the issues we face on city council can be complicated, but when we all remember to listen to residents and work with each other respectfully, we can achieve great things.

On city council, I have brought all relevant stakeholders to the table when discussing big changes for our city. That includes residents, city staff, businesses and other elected leaders. As Mayor, my approach to leadership won’t change.

Mike Czinege

First, council members are adults and they should conduct themselves accordingly. It’s an embarrassment to our city that the question posed even needs to be asked. The council should work together as a body towards solutions, rather than council proceedings being used as a stage for tantrums and disrespectful behavior. The greatest failing of the current council is that such dismal antics aren’t contained just between council members, but too often are directed at residents attending meetings.

On Tuesday, we will publish the candidates’ responses to the following question:

The use of tax incentives for developers has become a hot button issue among members of the governing body. Some suggest that important development projects wouldn’t move forward without them. Others say they’ve been overused and applied in situations where they weren’t needed. Please give us an example of a project you thought was appropriate use of development incentives in Overland Park and one that was not. Why did you choose these projects?