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Archive for the ‘Gary Hinzman’ Category

Possible mayoral candidate Gary Hinzman has a good question, but the answer might best be divined by some good reading

In City Hall, Gary Hinzman on May 7, 2009 at 1:08 pm

Gary: Two pieces of suggested reading — the city charter and the city’s nepotism policy.

Mayoral prospect Gary Hinzman asked the city’s Board of Ethics a simple question: Do his wife, Linda Hinzman, and daughter, Paula Hinzman Mitchell, as well as a brother-in-law have to quit city employment if he is elected the city’s part-time mayor.

They won’t. But he is not going to get a simple answer like that.

At a meeting at noon Thursday at City Hall, the Board of Ethics concluded that it doesn’t have jurisdiction in the matter because Gary Hinzman is not now a city official and is not a prospective candidate for city office with a business relationship with the city that might create a conflict should he be elected.

The board members suggested that Gary’s relatives confer with the city’s human resources office or their department supervisors if they had any question about the matter.

However, board member Bill Quinby noted that, as he understood it, city employees in the city’s council/manager government report to the city manager and not to elected officials.

City Attorney Jim Flitz, who attended the board meeting, agreed with Quinby, saying city employees report to managers and directors who, in turn, report to the city manager.

Flitz made reference to the city charter which he says spells out what the City Council can and can’t do. He noted that the charter treats police and fire chiefs differently than other city employees.

The city charter gives the council, of which the mayor is one of nine members, the responsibility to hire the city manager, city attorney and city clerk.

The charter also says the city manager hires a police chief and fire chief “with the advice and consent of the city council.”

The city charter goes on to say it is the city manager’s duty to “supervise and direct the administration of city government and the official conduct of employees of the city appointed by the city manager including their employment, training, reclassification, suspension or discharge as the occasion requires, subject to state law.”

In another section, the charter says this of the City Council’s role:

“… (N)either the City Council nor any of its members shall control or demand the appointment or removal of any city administrative officer or employee whom the city manager or any subordinate of the city manager is empowered to appoint, but the council may express its views and fully and freely discuss with the city manager anything pertaining to the appointment and removal of such officers and employees.

“Further, a council member may not interfere with the supervision or direction of any person appointed by or under control of the city manager.”

Flitz also noted to the Board of Ethics that the city has a nepotism policy.

In that policy, it states that “no employee shall be supervised, either directly or indirectly, by a family member.”

Earlier this week, Hinzman said he was seeking an answer to the question about city-employee relatives should he decide to run for mayor. As much as anything, he wanted to be able to have something to lean on should the question come up.

Hinzman, long-time director of the Sixth Judicial District Department of Correctional Services, is a former Cedar Rapids police chief. He is sensitive to issues surrounding relatives in city employment because of questions raised in 1987 when he was police chief and his wife, then a civilian staff member in the Police Department, was positioned to become the department’s accountant. Then-Public Safety Commissioner Floyd Bergen transferred the accounting position to the auditor’s office to resolve the matter.


Don’t forget mayoral prospect Gary Hinzman; he asks ethics board if a city employee must quit should a relative become mayor or council member

In City Hall, Gary Hinzman on May 6, 2009 at 9:14 am

Don’t forget about mayoral prospect Gary Hinzman, long-time director of the Sixth Judicial District Department of Correctional Services and a former Cedar Rapids police chief.

In a talk with Hinzman on Wednesday, it was clear Hinzman isn’t going to let some successful fund-raising by mayoral candidate Ron Corbett, a former Republican speaker of the Iowa House of Representatives, or comments this week about possible mayoral interest from Linn County Supervisor Linda Langston, a Democrat, stop him from considering a mayoral run.

Nor will Tuesday’s news that mayoral prospect and City Council member Monica Vernon has moved from the Republican Party to the Democratic Party.

Hinzman noted that his plan, if he does decide to run for mayor, is to shoot right down the middle and run as an independent and as an agency director who he says knows how to get things done. After all, elective city office is non-partisan, he said.

A call to Hinzman this week was prompted by an announcement that the city’s Board of Ethics – the only such local board in Iowa – will convene at noon Thursday to take up an issue first raised by Hinzman in an e-mail to the ethics board.

Hinzman on Wednesday said he wants to make sure that there would be no conflicts, should he become mayor, with having his wife and daughter working for the city and him serving as part-time mayor.

His wife, Linda, is a financial analyst in the city Finance Department and their daughter, Paula, is a supervisor in the city’s Housing Services office.

Hinzman said the ethics board will consider issuing an advisory opinion on the matter.

He said he just wants to have an answer should he be queried about it in the future, though, he said he suspects that city employees would not need to give up their jobs should relatives get elected to the City Council.

At the same time, Hinzman said he is making sure he can direct a state agency at the same time as he might be mayor. He is fairly sure he can do that, too. He points to Eugene Meyer, now head of the Iowa Department of Public Safety, who served as mayor of West Des Moines while head of the state’s Division of Criminal Investigation.

As for getting in the mayoral race, Hinzman said there is some value for now in sitting on the sidelines. One fear, he said, is that the political parties will commit huge resources to party candidates and make it tough for a non-partisan candidate to compete.

Hinzman said a smart candidate with half as much money as the big spenders can compete. Staying on the sidelines now will lessen the amount of money a campaign will need to raise, he said.

Two weeks ago, Corbett, vice president at trucking firm CRST Inc., reported that he had already raised some $42,000, nearly the amount that each of the candidates spent in the 2005 mayoral race.

Mayoral prospect Hinzman nudges toward a decision to take on Corbett and, perhaps, others

In Gary Hinzman, Ron Corbett on March 21, 2009 at 11:55 am

Gary Hinzman, the director of the Sixth Judicial District Department of Correctional Services and a former Cedar Rapids police chief, first surfaced publicly as a possible mayoral candidate, thanks to Ron Corbett, who now has announced his candidacy for the job.

In January, Corbett or Corbett backers conducted a phone survey to see which possible candidates might best him in a run for mayor. The five names in the survey were those of Corbett, Scott Olson, a local Realtor who ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2005, council members Brian Fagan and Monica Vernon, and Hinzman.

Last week, Hinzman took a step closer to showing his cards when his new Web site appeared — “Gary Hinzman for Mayor, A Voice for All People, A Force for Positive Change.” He said the Web site is “under construction.”

By week’s end, Hinzman had issued a statement on “ethics” to his 250 employees, alerting them to his possible mayoral run and to his commitment, should he run, to following state rules required of a public employee running for public elective office.

In short, such a run for mayor, he tells his employees, will require him to separate any political activities from the official business of correctional services department.

The rule, he tells them, is “simple:” “Government time, resources or equipment cannot be used for political purposes. This includes our e-mail system.”

He adds that no employee is expected to do anything in the way of offering support or mouthing political comments to him.

And he notes that he has not made any final decision to run for mayor.

“This is becoming more likely,” he says of a run for mayor. “But I have not yet made an announcement and I am still considering some key factors.”

Incumbent Mayor Kay Halloran has said she will make a decision about seeking reelection later this spring.

Mayor and five possible mayoral candidates have one thing in common: All support the local-option sales tax

In Brian Fagan, City Hall, Gary Hinzman, Mayor Kay Halloran, Monica Vernon, Ron Corbett, Scott Olson on March 1, 2009 at 11:00 pm

There have been local-option sales tax elections in years past in which elected officials and would-be elected officials have deferred to the voters and not expressed an opinion one way or another of the matter.

Not this time. At least not with Mayor Kay Halloran and the five people whose names to date are afloat as possible candidates for mayor in the November election.

Halloran is a strong supporter of the local-option sales tax, as are council members Monica Vernon and Brian Fagan, both who considered possible mayor candidates.

In favor, too, of the sales tax are three other possible mayor candidates: Ron Corbett, Gary Hinzman and Scott Olson.

In recent weeks, backers of Corbett conducted a private phone survey to check out what voters might be thinking about in this year’s upcoming mayoral race.

The Corbett backers asked those surveyed to pick from five possible candidates: Corbett, Fagan, Hinzman, Olson or Vernon.

Olson, a commercial Realtor who was narrowly defeated in his run for mayor in 2005, said last week that additional taxes like a local-option sales tax do have a “negative connotation.” But he said the unique circumstance of the flood recovery “overrides” that concern. “We have many people in need,” he said.

Olson said the local revenue raised by the sales tax will help those who own flood-damaged housing but, for one reason or another, don’t qualify for federal funds. He noted, too, that a citizen oversight committee will be in place to help direct how the sales tax money is spent.

Hinzman, director of the Sixth Judicial District Department of Correctional Services and former Cedar Rapids police chief, said last week that he normally doesn’t jump at a tax increase.

“But it makes better sense than having no concept as to how Cedar Rapids bails itself out of this disaster,” Hinzman said. He said the sales tax will help the city “recover and heal as a community.”

“Without the local-option sales tax, it will be extremely difficult to get beyond the past,” he said.

Corbett, vice president at trucking firm CRST International Inc., said passing the local-option sales tax will “definitely improve” the city’s chances to secure increased federal and state funding.

“Given the scale of our disaster, we can’t pretend that we can recover and redevelop without these funding sources,” said Corbett, past president of the Cedar Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce and former speaker of the Iowa House of Representatives.

He said the local-option sales tax will provide a temporary “window of opportunity” that will give the city time to work hard to recruit companies to the city to add jobs and rebuild the city’s tax base.

Living legends might be among those in the hunt for Cedar Rapids mayor

In Brian Fagan, City Hall, Gary Hinzman, Mayor Kay Halloran, Monica Vernon, Ron Corbett, Scott Olson on January 19, 2009 at 7:30 pm

It’s not easy getting your name affixed to a public building, especially if you have not given oodles to build the thing or you’re still alive.

Even so, two individuals mentioned in the last week as possible candidates in this year’s Cedar Rapids mayoral race — Ron Corbett and Gary Hinzman — both have managed to get their names on public buildings.

Corbett’s name is on the Corbett-Miller residential cottage at the Iowa Boy’s Training School at Eldora.

And Hinzman’s name is on the Gerald R. Hinzman Center, a residential correctional facility on the southwest Cedar Rapids campus of the Sixth Judicial District Department of Correctional Services. Hinzman has been executive director of the department since 1989.

Corbett’s placement of his name on a building came in 2000, the year after he left the Iowa Legislature as Speaker of the House to become president of the Cedar Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce. He left the Chamber in 2005 to become a vice president at CRST Inc., a Cedar Rapids trucking firm.

Corbett, as House speaker, shares space on the Training School cottage with Tom Miller, the Iowa Attorney General. Both were credited with working “to develop a spectrum of services for troubled juveniles,” according to the legislative action placing the Corbett and Miller names on the Eldora cottage.

Hinzman, a former Cedar Rapids police chief, joined the Department of Correctional Services 20 years ago.

In that time, he moved the department’s operation from a neighborhood setting to a campus in an industrial area on the edge of town. From there, the campus and its services have expanded. His department’s board decided to affix his name on one of the new buildings that has gone up on the campus over the years.

Three other names also have been circulated now as mayor possibilities. They are current council members Brian Fagan, an attorney, and Monica Vernon, a business owner, and former mayoral candidate Scott Olson, a local Realtor.

Mayor Kay Halloran said she won’t comment on a reelection bid until after the Iowa Legislature is done with its work, which usually comes in April.

Who are you for? Anonymous phone survey has 5 on list for mayor: Corbett, Fagan, Hinzman, Olson and Vernon

In Brian Fagan, City Hall, Gary Hinzman, Mayor Kay Halloran, Monica Vernon, Paul Pate, Ron Corbett, Scott Olson on January 12, 2009 at 4:40 pm

An anonymous phone survey conducted in recent days in Cedar Rapids has been asking a scientific sampling of residents some questions about city government. The survey ends with a bottom line: Who do you want for mayor, Corbett, Fagan, Hinzman, Olson or Vernon?

Yes, this is a municipal election year, and six of the nine Cedar Rapids City Council seats are on the ballot, including the mayoral seat currently held by Kay Halloran.

The phone survey did not include Halloran’s name among the list of five it was seeking to find out information about, and she has not said if she will seek reelection.

The first question you need to ask is this: Do you know the first names of the five in the survey and why they are on the list?

Actually, all five are well known and accomplished.

Corbett is Ron Corbett, who has been past speaker of the Iowa House of Representatives and, more recently, president of the Cedar Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce from 1999 until mid-2005. He left the chamber to take a vice-president post at CRST International.

Fagan is Brian Fagan, a Cedar Rapids attorney, at-large City Council member elected in 2005 and the council’s mayor pro tem.

Hinzman is Gary Hinzman, executive director of the Sixth Judicial District Department of Correctional Services and former Cedar Rapids police chief.

Olson is Scott Olson, a commercial Realtor and architect, who lost a run for the mayor’s job in 2005 in a close contest with Halloran.

Vernon is Monica Vernon, a local business owner and the District 2 council member who won election in 2007.

Vernon is president of Vernon Research Inc., a company that conducts phone surveys. However, Vernon said on Monday that neither she nor her firm is conducting the survey. Others said the survey calls were coming from an area code outside of Eastern Iowa.

Some reported Paul Pate, mayor from 2002 through 2005, was on the list, but others reported last evening he was not.