Zack Matheny, District 3 candidate
Residential address: 205 W. Newlin St., 27408 Incumbent or challenger? Incumbent Age: 36 Campaign website or blog: http://www.mathenyforcouncil.com/, http://www.greensboro-nc.gov/citygovernment/council/zackmatheny.htm Occupation and employer: Investor relations, Bell Partners Previous elective experience (including election campaigns): Elected to represent District 3 in 2007 Civic and volunteer experience (including service on city commissions and boards): 40 Leaders Under Forty Award, 2005; advisory board member, UNCG Business Administration; fundraising chair, Greensboro Bicentennial; financial teaching instructor, GTCC; executive committee member, Chrysler Classic of Greensboro; loaned executive, Greensboro United Way; Chamber Operating Group and Member Services Council, Greensboro Chamber of Commerce; co-chair, Civil Rights Museum Golf Tournament Organizing Committee; member, Greensboro Sports Council; Future Fund Steering Committee member, past social chair and past Chrysler Classic chair; Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro; K for Kids member; Can’t Wait for the Ballpark committee chair and Making Connections Around the Table host, Action Greensboro; Greensboro Opera Board member; board member and past Master Plan Oversight Committee member, Downtown Greensboro; Big Brothers, Big Sisters; former Prelude Steering member and 2005 Vanguard Fundraising Chair, United Arts Council; former Citizen Advisory Board member, Guilford County Comprehensive Plan Update; former zoning commission member, city of Greensboro Education (highest degree attained and name of institution): Bachelor of science, NC State University; series 7, 63 and 66 licenses; life and health insurance and long term care insurance licenses Party registration: Republican (nonpartisan race) What is the city and state of your birth? Shelby If not Greensboro, what year did you move here? 1999 Paid consultants working on your campaign: None Your campaign manager(s): Elizabeth Rankin Your treasurer: Rob Kidwell
Remarks from Oct. 12 candidate forum: Introductory statement For those of you that know me pretty well, you know that typically I don’t use a microphone. For some reason, I think every forum I’ve been to lately it hits on a day that my body decides to give out on me, so bear with me a little bit. My name is Zack Matheny. I do not have the swine flu, so don’t worry. I did go to the doctor today. I do have an antibiotic, and I’m going to be fine, but I am under the weather. I’ve had the privilege to serve as the District 3 representative on the city council; I’m in my first term right now. It has been an honor and a privilege, and I appreciate the folks that put me into office last term. When I stood up here two years ago, I said there were three things that I really wanted to focus on. One of them was pretty easy: We need to be fiscally responsible. We did see that there were not-so-great times coming. I began my career at Cone Mills, for those of you that remember Cone Mills, and then I became a financial advisor, much like my opponent, for the next 10 years. And so having that ability to work within a company in a financial mind as well as looking at budgets day to day helped me the last term with the two budget cycles we had. We did keep a hold-the-line for the two budget cycles I sat on, but we did it without sacrificing city services for the citizens of Greensboro. That’s very important. It’s very tough. You know, I heard earlier that we’re spending like we did in 2006 and we’re not paying attention. With this past budget, we cut $7.5 million out of the budget. So I would argue with you that we’re not spending frivolously. We’re cutting and we did it with the help of city staff. This past budget cycle, as far as it was, I would give our council and our staff, especially, a high grade for maintaining our services and working together. Another thing I said that I wanted to pay attention to is — everybody says — is job creation. If we’re ever given the opportunity to bring jobs into the city, I can assure you, I have supported it and will continue to support it. I would love the opportunity to talk to anyone about bringing jobs, and great jobs, into this city. I will continue to put forth that effort. One of the things that I think is important is, not only our council working together on bringing jobs, which we will do, whether it’s this council or a new council or the councils beyond, is we’ve got to make sure our marketing group, which consists in part by our staff and Andy Scott, but the Greensboro Economic Development Alliance. We’ve got to make sure they’re doing their job because they’re the ones… traveling all over the world practically to put Greensboro forward. So we’ll continue to do that. And the third thing, which was the thing of transparency. Transparency is important. The thing about transparency is — I’ve talked to a lot of other elected officials — is also accessibility. I’ll say one thing about transparency. Transparency is I have a track record. It’s very transparent. How many of you actually watch Channel 13, and watch some of our meetings? More of you do than people realize. That’s transparency. You see it. The media covers it. It’s televised. You can see the rerun. People talk about my campaign contributions. Well, I’ll just say this: I’ve had over 275 people contribute to my campaign. And I tell you what, it’s humbling. I will never apologize for the service of the — excuse me, the contributions and the support that I’ve received from the community from all my years of volunteering. I think it’s an honor. I will continue to be transparent and accessible. I’ve had meetings in Guilford Hills, Westerwood, Fisher Park, downtown, Guilford Park, Irving Park, downtown, throughout my community. I know most of the folks that are in Westerwood and around District 3 because I come to you and listen to you, and I will continue to do so. Hopefully, I’ll be feeling better next time when I do it. I’m Zack Matheny, and I would love your support in District 3, November third. Over the last year what is the most significant issue that has faced your particular neighborhood? And tell us about your role in addressing it. Thank you. The thing that resonates most in my mind. I was sworn in in December, and on Jan. 15, 2008 we had an unfortunate murder in New Irving Park with a young woman by the name of Reagan Bailey. I’ll never forget that day. And so I would say crime indoctrinated me in my seat on city council. How I reacted to that, how I continued to stay on top of it is to work with our neighborhoods. We shortly after that incident held a neighborhood meeting in New Irving Park, where about 850 to 900 people showed up at Mendenhall School. For those of you who know, we have a pretty good crowd here tonight. But when you hold, as a council person, a public meeting and you get 20 people to come, you’re doing pretty good. If you can get 900, you know there’s concern. And so we handled it. We were not able to tell the folks in New Irving Park, to ease their pain, exactly what was going on in the city. But I grew up, and I grew up pretty fast. I know Ann has talked to me about the Kirkwood neighborhood. I’ve had some issues in New Irving Park and outside of it now. Is it the same issue today? But I can tell you that I learned pretty fast and developed a terrific working relationship with our police department and our fire department, and I have significant trust both ways in those departments. It was a sad situation, but that was the most concerning thing that I had when I got into office. What are two steps the city council can take to bring good jobs to Greensboro? Okay. Thank you. You know, this is a tough question because the question is: Give me two things concrete. When you think about it as what I’ve dealt with and what I know, as council members you get bombarded by many different avenues. To provide two concrete things — I’ll close with those two concrete things, but it’s not because I haven’t thought about a multitude of other things, i.e. the tax structures, what we’ve had. We’ve met. We’ve been in rooms. We’ve been in consortiums. We’ve been in all these things, and we’ve figured out that, hey, we’ve got an airport. Our airport’s doing pretty good. We’ve got HondaJet. We’ve got FedEx. We’ve got FedEx Ground over in Kernersville…. So we’ve figured these things out. We’ve got a multi-hundred dollar facility called the Millennial Campus, or Gateway Campus, down on Lee Street. We’ve figured these things out. So one of the things that’s concrete that we need to do, which I said earlier, which is an enormous focus of mine, is we’ve got sales people that are selling the city of Greensboro. And they’re supposed to be selling the city of Greensboro to people throughout the world, to bring them here and to create jobs. Create those jobs. We’ve got to make sure, A, that we’ve got the right people doing it, and that they’re doing it to the best of their abilities. We can’t be lackadaisical. We’ve got to make sure our people are working as hard as all we are in all capacities. We’ve got to make sure our sales team for Greensboro has the resources, has the technology and has the heart to sell our city. The other thing — and again, it goes back to what everybody in the country’s telling us — is we do need those site-ready sites. We have got to have this key word called infrastructure — water, sewer, land. If it’s around our airport, we’ve seen it. We’ve got a facility, O’Reilly Auto Parts, down near 40 that was there because infrastructure was there. So we’ve got to have infrastructure. So the other second concrete thing would be to make sure we’re saving land around the airport, we’re being smart with our land and we’re creating infrastructure. Comment on the best and worst features of this year’s budget-making process in our city and the resulting budget? Best and worst features of this year’s budget. I’ll tell you: I’ll start off, probably, with the best. The best feature about this year’s budget was what a collaborative issue it became. I have to commend Bob Morgan on taking through the situation that he did and bringing a budget to council that he did. He did it in a way that he challenged all the department heads. That’s the first thing anybody wants to do is you’ve got to challenge all your department heads. And so the budget that we initially received, it was the department heads that went to their groups and their departments and said, “We’ve got to cut, where can we cut?” And they all came together. And that’s a collaborative process. Before we went to our final budget meeting, before they presented the final budget to us, Bob Morgan sat down with each department head in the conference room, one on one, Sandy Neerman from the library and Bob, and Bob said, “Sandy, are you okay with what you’re presenting to us?” And he walked through that with each department head.” So it was a collaborative nature. They also split up. And so they, and everybody from Chief Bellamy to fire to field operations, and then they would review each other’s, and challenge. And so, to have that collaborative I thought was very impressive, and I thought Bob did a great job. Contrary to what my opponent’s saying, we’re not looking at things like this nature. We are looking at and analyzing constantly our budget. You will see it. All you got to do is ask if you want. We constantly analyze our budget. Some of the things that I think will be deemed in the “worst” category, although “worst” is a harsh word, there’s still some challenges that we can issue to our manager. I think Rashad Young, when he comes, will issue those challenges to his department heads and say, “So we don’t have to cut more jobs, what are the things we can do to maintain the basic services and quality of life that our citizens have come to enjoy, but let’s also not have to cut jobs.” And so we’ve got to keep challenging. Thank you. Is there more that needs to be done with our substandard housing around the city or are we caught up on that? As it relates to RUCO, I believe Greensboro, North Carolina is above average on what we’re doing throughout the state of North Carolina. The fact that we have RUCO, the fact that we have a RUCO board, and looking at our sister communities throughout the state of North Carolina, we’re above average. We will still have a RUCO board. As long as we have a RUCO board, as long as we have an engineering and inspections person, then we’re going to continue to analyze ourselves, much less be it RUCO or any other situation we’ve got throughout the city of Greensboro. Yes, the playing field may be leveled to a certain degree. We’ll continue to analyze it. I think we’re above average, and hopefully we’ll stay there. Do you support the establishment of a commission to study public funding for our local city council elections? Do you believe this is a decision we should be able to make here in Greensboro, or should it be addressed under state law? I think I’m the poster child for this. I can tell you that, you know, as I said earlier, I won’t apologize for all the support that I’ve gotten because I volunteered extensively throughout this community. I’ve worked on the boards and commissions of this city, and I’ve volunteered extensively that wants to run for city council to volunteer and get to know the constituency. Because if you get to know the constituency and you work hard, you will get contributions from a myriad of people. And that’s what I’ve done. And I don’t think somebody that doesn’t work hard, that doesn’t volunteer and get to know his constituency or her constituency, I don’t think that person should be rewarded with taxpayer dollars when they didn’t work. And that’s where I stand. I’m open to it. I’ve heard other responses but right now, ladies and gentlemen, that’s just where I stand. I’ve worked hard and I’m proud of it. I’m going to continue to work hard in District 3, and I hope you reelect me.
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