Newport City Council candidate Q-and-A: Tom IngemannNewport City Council candidate Tom Ingemann answers questions posed by the Bulletin.
Why are you most qualified to serve as a member of the Newport City Council?
I have been on the City Council so far for a total of 11 years. I speak the truth, and make decisions that benefit the city of Newport and the citizens that live in this city. I have also spent eight years on the Newport Planning Commission, having been the chair for three years. I have spent at least 38 years dedicating my time for the benefit of the residents of Newport. I am very current on the activities that are happening around the area, including all of the mudslinging that is happening. If I say I am going to do something, I usually end up doing it. I do not promise anything that I cannot deliver on. I do not have any aspirations to go on to the county level much less the state or national level.
What is the biggest issue facing Newport, and how would you propose to address it?
The biggest issue is how best bring in new businesses, and to create the transit area into the new development area that folks want to come to with their companies and future employees. The framework has started to happen, and I am willing to work for it to happen. I will not promise anything that I cannot provide. You have to work with the existing business community, because they are the ones that future business owners will talk to about how this city is to work with. In previous years, this city was very difficult to deal with, and so far, this business community is very happy with this administration. I want to keep that movement going forward.
Regarding recent potential financial oversight issues that were raised, are you satisfied with the city’s finances and the current controls in place? Why or why not?
The present finances that the city has are excellent. In the past, with the other bookkeeper leaving, the books were very incomplete and in disarray. It has taken the present bookkeeper and city staff approximately 18 months, along with new accounting software that the old administration was not willing to purchase, to correct the problems and bring us up to date. We provide more financial information online than any other governmental institution in the entire country, and some folks are upset that there is now too much information. I guess we can’t please everyone. This present council and administration has corrected problems from the past and others are trying to cut us down because of the past practices and procedures. I believe in moving forward and not trying to relive the past, much less returning to the ways of the past. There are some out there that want more oversight on the finances, but when given all of the information requested, complain the there is too much information to try to figure out.
I make decisions that are for the benefit the city of Newport. I do not take direction from any individual or group. I have no hidden or personal agenda, and I do not promise something that I cannot deliver, unlike most politicians. Remember, communication is a two-way street and everyone has an opinion. The First Amendment of our Constitution gives us that right.
Occupation: Retired service manager for Qwest Communications 40 years; Newport firefighter 38 years; fire examiner 24 years, Minnesota Fire Certification Board.
Lived in Newport: 39 years
Family: Married, 39 years, two grown sons, 4 grandchildren