Timing can be everything.
Marty Klein has considered running for mayor, ‘off and on’ during his political career. Just a short time ago however, he was eyeing the goal of being a strong deputy in support of a potential mayor considering a run at the county warden seat.
“I thought if Tillsonburg could have a warden for the first time in 40 years it would be a benefit for the community.”
But with Mayor John Lessif’s announced decision to resign, a decision Klein respected, his own ongoing mayoral aspirations came to the fore.
“Things started changing,” said Klein, who says he has emptied his voicemail box ‘three times,’ as part of broad-based encouragement, that given he is currently 64 and will be 65 at election time, fits into his own timeframe.
“I thought if I’m going to do it, this is the time to do it, so I filed.”
Klein says he has a personal stake in the game.
“I live here, I own property in Tillsonburg, and I care about the town and corporation of Tillsonburg because I’m also a consumer.
He feels he brings experience to the table, retiring as the vice-president of the hospital in 2005, gaining expertise in a large and diverse corporation and also acted as chamber of commerce president and was active on a number of boards. Klein also spent three terms on council in the 1980s prior to this most recent stint as councillor, where he believes, any ‘fair-minded observer’ would view him as a leader, in the forefront of the difficult issues council has faced.
“Didn’t always win, but I believe I was in the forefront.”
Looking forward, Klein cites the potential disposition (sale, amalgamation or retention) of Tillsonburg Hydro Inc. as a major issue.
“The investigation into options is warranted,” he said, adding so too is public input, which he encouraged via a unanimously-supported resolution for a public meeting.
“The utility belongs to the people of Tillsonburg, the residents and businesses, and we need to listen to their input.”
Klein identified other major issues moving forward as capital investment in infrastructure such as a ‘shovel ready’ Highway #3 industrial park; downtown redevelopment (“We need to be planning for the next 20 or 30 years so we can attract larger retail stores into our core so they can support each other,”); and the need to maintain fiscal discipline.
“We have accrued very little new debt over the past three-and-a-half years,” said Klein. He pointed to substantially increased reserves and debt reduced by roughly $5 million, in part due to a $1 million July, 2013 balloon payment, and in part to regular payments against debentures.
Klein also indicated the importance of master and strategic plans for Memorial Park, parks and recreation, and the town’s strategic plan.
Stylistically, Klein says his human resources background would stand him in good stead. Technically, HR positions contain no official authority, but with effective persuasion, can contain significant influence.
“In order to persuade people, you have to do your homework, your research.”
And in conclusion, Klein believes his career and life experiences do fill the latter two requirements to effectively act as mayor, Town of Tillsonburg.
“I have the time, I have the commitment to the town. I believe I am qualified and my background and experience prepares me for the position very well.”