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Tom Phillips

by Yes Weekly Election Coverage

Residential address: Greenbrook Drive (map)

Incumbent or challenger? Challenger

Age: 65

Campaign website: tomphillipsformayor.com (link)

Occupation and employer: Financial advisor, Merrill Lynch

Previous electiveexperience (including election campaigns): Served on Greensboro City Council from 1989-1993, 1999-2007 (District3, 1989-1993, 2005-2007; at large, 1999-2005)

Civic and volunteerexperience (including service on city commissions and boards):’ Director, Piedmont Triad Regional Water Authority, 1992-present; Greensboro ZoningCommission, 1985-1989; board member and cofounder, Guilford BattlegroundCompany; past board member, Junior Achievement; 2011 Salvation Army Boys andGirls Club “Investor in Youth” Award

Education (highest degreeattained and name of institution): MSin management, Duke University

Party registration: Republican (nonpartisan contest)

What is the city of yourbirth? Pittsburgh

What year did you movehere? 1975

Paid consultants workingon campaign: None at the time ofinterview (June 28)

Campaign manager: None at the time of interview (June 28)

Treasurer: Self

Do you favor oroppose reopening the White Street Landfill for household waste, beyond thesmall amount of sewer sludge currently accepted? Briefly explain your position.

Aswe learned from Charlotte, the remaining capacity should be reserved as abackup to keep waste haulers competitive and for emergencies. If we use up thatcapacity without another alternative in place, we will be at the mercy of thehauling companies. We need to be focusing on long-term regional solutions thatare closer than Montgomery County.

Where do youstand on the “strong manager” form of city government and why?

Ibelieve in the “strong manager” form of government. I think it allows us toattract professionals who can focus on running the day-to-day operations of thecity without worrying about politics. This form of government has served uswell and I see no reason to change.

Should the cityof Greensboro place more or less emphasis on maintaining a healthy water andsewer fund to plan for future growth? Why or why not?

Ibelieve the city should have more emphasis on maintaining a healthy water andsewer fund. Not only will we need it for future growth, as our system continuesto age, we need to spend larger amounts on preventive maintenance.

The city’s taxbase has remained flat for the past two years in a row, and the foreclosurecrisis continues unabated. As a member of city council, how would you balancethe need to fund services such as police patrol, fire protection and parkmaintenance that citizens care about with the reality that the revenue pictureremains bleak?

Ibelieve this is going to have to be the primary focus of the council for yearsto come. The city council will need to continually redefine the role of thegovernment and prioritize the services that are essential to the city.

Do you believethat city staff deserves council support to implement a program to spendfederal grant money to improve the energy efficiency of residences andbusinesses, or does this program warrant additional oversight from council? Brieflyexplain your position.

Yes.Once the council approves the program, they should get out of the way and letthe staff do their job.

How would youassess the value and effectiveness of Greensboro’s Rental Unit Certificate ofOccupancy program, which is now prohibited by state law?

Iwas the first council liaison to RUCO and became its first chairman. We startedto see positive results almost immediately. While I would have been open tochanges to make it better, I was disappointed that the program was completelygutted.

How should theimpasse over management and operation of the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market beresolved?

Atthis moment, it appears to be resolved. However, one council member appears tobe trying to micro-manage the outcome. If the council had followed the processthey established this would have been settled much sooner.

What, ifanything, should be done to resolve racial tensions, and to enhanceprofessionalism, integrity and fairness within the Greensboro PoliceDepartment?

Ibelieve the council should let the police chief do his job with the help of thecity manager. The council should stay away.

What would youchange about Greensboro’s land use patterns if the decision were yours to make?Please answer the question in terms of places people live, work and shop, interms of the modes of transportation people use to get from point to point andthe vitality of neighborhoods and commercial corridors?

Ideally,we should have clusters of retail, residential and business so that people canchoose to live close to work and have services (grocery, drug stores, etc.) in closeproximity to their homes. That could allow forms of transportation other thancars. We have not grown that way and while we might try to guide developmentthrough our Comprehensive Plan and Land Development Ordinance, market demandwill be the final determinant. It is important that we make sure that there isa good transition between types of development and that infill development iscompatible with the surrounding neighborhood.

What isGreensboro’s greatest asset? What is Greensboro’s most pressing problem?

Ourgreatest asset is our citizens and their willingness to get involved in thecommunity. While we have many problems to address, our most pressing problem isa city council that has become dysfunctional because of poor leadership. Allother problems we face are affected by their discord.

Articles about this candidate:

2011 primary election endorsement and voter guide (link)

Wade, Knight make no apologies for landfill decision (link)

10 BEST mayoral forum moments (link)

Candidate profile: Tom Phillips (link)

Greensboro mayoral race expands (link)

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