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Posts Tagged ‘Gary Hinzman’

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.

Corbett not bashful about letting would-be mayoral-race foes know that he’s beating bushes for bucks for the coming match

In City Hall on April 24, 2009 at 10:15 am

This year’s mayoral race looks like it will be richer than the 2005 race in which Kay Halloran, a retired attorney and former state lawmaker, defeated Scott Olson, a commercial Realtor and architect, in a close contest.

That conclusion comes after mayoral candidate Ron Corbett’s fund raiser downtown Thursday evening in the Armstrong Centre, an event that 135 people attended, he reports.

In brief remarks at the gathering, Corbett pushed for a greater emphasis on economic development and for what he said is the need to “repair” Cedar Rapids’ “image” as a progressive city on the move.

Corbett also announced that, to date, his campaign has raised $42,325.

It’s not May yet, it’s still six months from the Nov. 3 election, and no one else has entered the race against Corbett, vice president of trucking firm CRST Inc. and a former state legislator and former president/CEO of the Cedar Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce.

But Corbett already is closing in on raising as much money as Halloran did and Olson did in 2005, which was the first election in the city’s new council/manager government, a government with part-time elected officials.

In 2005, Olson took in $54,701 in campaign contributions and Halloran, $53,302, $20,050 of which included her own money.

Asked at the time what races for the part-time mayoral slot should cost in Cedar Rapids, Halloran said, “I’m glad it wasn’t any more than that, that’s for sure.”

The job is a four-year one with a salary of about $30,000.

Keep in mind, the 2005 campaign spending amounted to chicken feed compared to spending in the 2001 mayoral race here in which Paul Pate — a former state senator, former Iowa secretary of state and former gubernatorial candidate — defeated three-term incumbent Lee Clancey, the city’s first female mayor.
In that race, the two candidates together raised $226,811. The mayor’s job then was a full-time one and paid about $80,000 a year.

In the Halloran-Olson race in 2005, Olson said the $54,000 he raised was “probably the right range” for a competition for part-time Cedar Rapids mayor.

He raised $4,750 from three political action committees — Realtors, builders and building trades — and the rest from 240 individual contributors.

Halloran had about 100 individual contributors and raised about $11,000 from labor political action groups.
To date, Corbett says he has had more than 240 contributors.

Four people are considering taking Corbett on: council members Brian Fagan and Monica Vernon, Gary Hinzman, long-time director of the Sixth Judicial District Department of Correctional Services and a one-time police chief here, and 2005 candidate Olson. Incumbent Halloran has not announced her intentions.

Asked in passing this week about Corbett’s fund raising, Fagan said the 2009 mayoral race won’t be about raising money.

One campaign novelty to date — a pioneering one for a local Cedar Rapids race — is Corbett TV, which is Corbett’s own video enterprise that he runs at his campaign Web site,

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.

Mayoral race has one announced candidate, but Gary Hinzman joins Ron Corbett with his own mayoral Web site

In City Hall on March 17, 2009 at 6:33 am

Cedar Rapids may have just Ron Corbett so far when it comes to candidates who have formally announced a campaign for mayor.

However, Gary Hinzman, director of the Sixth Judicial District Department of Correctional Services and a one-time Cedar Rapids police chief, is front and center with his own Web site, “Gary Hinzman for Mayor, A Voice for All People, A Force for Positive Change.”

Hinzman, who has not run for elective office before, has been on Corbett’s mind for a few months now as Corbett, a former state representative and, in that role, a former speaker of the Iowa House of Representatives, has readied to make his own run for mayor.

Early in the year, Corbett or Corbett backers conducted a phone survey in the city to see just which names might have some traction in this year’s mayoral race. In addition to the Corbett name, the list included Scott Olson, a commercial Realtor who was narrowly defeated in the 2005 mayoral race; council members Brian Fagan and Monica Vernon; and Hinzman.

In recent weeks, Hinzman joined the other four names on that list in saying that he supported the local-option sales tax for flood relief and property-tax relief, a tax that voters easily passed on March 3.

Once Corbett jumped out and formally announced his mayoral campaign on March 9, Hinzman said recently that he would wait for a time before announcing his intentions.

Hinzman is a national leader in the field of community corrections as exemplified by his position as president of the American Parole and Probation Association.

He has been head of the six-county community corrections operation since 1989, and in that time, he has overseen the creation of a sprawling campus of correctional buildings off Sixth Street SW.

Hinzman came to the agency at a time when it needed to expand and it was facing resistance from neighbors who didn’t want correctional services in the neighborhoods. Hinzman took the center of the operation to an out-of-the-way industrial area of the city, and more recently, has returned some staff members to neighborhood centers in the city.

Hinzman’s Web site says he oversees an $18-million-plus annual budget and 250 employees.

As for Web site, candidate Corbett has one, too: Ron Corbett, “Leadership for Cedar Rapids.”

On the Corbett site, you can buy a T-shirt, coffee mug or dog shirt, sign up to get text messages or e-mails from the campaign and watch a video of Corbett’s campaign announcement speech.

Corbett is vice president for human resources at trucking firm CRST and is former president/CEO of the Cedar Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce.

Mayor Kay Halloran has said she will wait until after the state legislative session this spring before announcing her City Hall plans.

The election is Nov. 3.

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.

Corbett gets closer to mayoral run; says City Hall doesn’t need to spend taxpayer money to build a ‘Taj Mahal’

In Uncategorized on February 20, 2009 at 12:02 am

Ron Corbett reports he is getting closer to a mayoral run, and on Thursday afternoon, he was at the ready with an opinion about the City Council’s interest in building a Community Services Center that would essentially be a new city hall.

“The city doesn’t need to use taxpayer money to build a Taj Mahal,” says Corbett, a vice president of trucking firm CRST Inc.

Corbett points to the digital age and the era of the Web and the Internet and he says more and more people are paying bills and conducting business without a need to go to a public building.

“Twenty, 30, 40 years from now, taxpayers aren’t ones who are going to get in their cars and drive down to City Hall,” Corbett says.

He also says he doesn’t like the idea of taking a parcel of land off the tax rolls for a new public building.

Instead, he wants to see what kind of life is still left in the city’s historic, flood-damaged Veterans Memorial Building, which has housed City Hall on May’s Island for more than 80 years.

“I’m a fan of sitting down with the Veterans Commission and working with them on the best use of that facility,” Corbett says.

He notes, too, that the city will be taking possession of the existing federal courthouse, down the street from the Veterans Memorial Building/City Hall, in 2012 when the new courthouse opens. That should present some different options for some departments in city government, he says.

Corbett is past Speaker of the Iowa House of Representatives and he served as president of the Cedar Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce from 1999 to mid-2005. He resigned to join CRST Inc.

Corbett backers are thought to have conducted a recent phone survey to see whom voters might back for mayor.

The choices in the survey were Corbett; council member and attorney Brian Fagan; Gary Hinzman, executive director of the Sixth Judicial District Department of Correctional Services and former police chief; Scott Olson, a commercial Realtor who lost a close race for mayor in 2005; and Monica Vernon, a business owner and council member.

Fagan and Vernon this week both expressed strong backing for a public participation process that will take the next six to nine months to look at building a Community Services Center.

The city also is interested in seeing if the county or school district wants to consider “co-locating” services in the center.

In addition, the city is interested in building a Community Safety Training Center for police and firefighters, which also could include a new dispatch center. The city and county have long avoided joining forces in such a center, but this could be an opportunity to rethink that.

The city also is talking about reconfiguring its Public Works Facility into a Community Operations Center.