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Former Mayor Dooley challenges again for top post

Nelson Daily Staff
By Nelson Daily Staff
September 10th, 2018

Former Mayor John Dooley is stepping back into municipal politics.

Citing the lack of leadership as the prime motivator, the three-term mayor announced Monday his intentions to challenge incumbent Mayor Deb Kozak for the top job at Nelson City Hall.

“I’ve spoken with hundreds of people from all sectors in our community, and their comments are very similar: ‘the City isn’t heading in the right direction’ they tell me,” Dooley said in a media release.

“They’re asking me to run because they see a lack of leadership, and ultimately, the Mayor is responsible for focusing and directing the work of Council.”

Earlier this month, incumbent Mayor Deb Kozak announced she would run be seeking re-election. Kozak defeated Dooley and Pat Severyn for the Mayor’s chair in 2014.

Dooley said in the release that whether citizens approached him about public services, infrastructure, youth issues and more, they all noted that four more years of the same rudderless City Hall wasn’t acceptable.

“People are concerned, and while every elected official – including the current Mayor  – go in with best intentions, we need to pay attention to their impacts, not just their good intentions,” he said. “When I left City Hall in 2014, there was a clear path forward and the City was in very good shape.”

Dooley contrasts that with the current feelings about City Hall, with multiple projects being proposed, while basic services and some other projects are being ignored.  “I question whether consideration is being given to the capacity to deliver.”

Dooley said that grand vision documents without specific plans for action end up wasting millions of dollars, sitting on a shelf.

“We’ll focus on logical priorities that enable us to meet the needs of our citizens,” he explained. “Of course there is short, medium, and long term planning, but all of those plans need to be realistic and focused on taxpayers.”

The disconnect between City Hall and its primary stakeholders – taxpayers and city employees – needs to be addressed, Dooley said.

“When I hear from front-line city workers as well as managers that they just don’t know what to do because Council isn’t clear with direction, it’s a bad sign. When taxpayers aren’t given information to clearly explain why a project is being proposed, and how it will be paid for, they rightfully are upset. Those are easily solvable problems that I can tackle.”

Dooley’s 15 years of experience at City Hall – first as a councilor and then three terms as Mayor – means he has a demonstrated track record of leadership, hard work, and a clear understanding of how City Hall can and should work.

“My goal for the next four years is to give focus and direction on issues like municipal services, fiscal responsibility, the livability of Nelson, and restoring a sense of civic pride,” he explained.

“I’ve got a passion for this beautiful and unique city and our citizens, and I loved every day in the job as Mayor. I want to tap back into that passion, and help get our City moving in a direction that people from all sectors of the community can embrace,” Dooley said. “I also want to work on a leadership succession plan to keep the City on track for future Councils.”

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