By Tom Henderson • Staff Writer • 

Mayoral debate takes confusing turns

Rockne Roll / News-Register#Two candidates for the McMinnville mayor s position, Scott Hill and Jared Miller, square off Tuesday night.
Rockne Roll / News-Register#Two candidates for the McMinnville mayor's position, Scott Hill and Jared Miller, square off Tuesday night.

“There’s a way where looking at the budget requires a certain amount of expertise, and individuals who are experts at taking accounts and being a part of budgets should never have to say they are going to have to look over the whole budget in the future if there are problems now,” he said.

Miller, campaigning against Scott Hill for mayor of McMinnville, gave answers that frequently bewildered audience members at the Hotel Oregon.

“I would think that the budget itself is already solidified at an income where we can start something that was already here and be able to use it like a gear, like the employment enrollment or the retired employment system they have,” he said.

“It’s something that’s been institutionalized in the way where there are 75 individuals who work for a company, and they’ve been working in that position for the last 75 years,” he continued. “As the city develops, there are roles that are played that are essential, such as now we all need a confirmed technological console so they work on websites and they work on that in integrating that into citizens’ involvement.”

There was very little debate at the debate. Both candidates made their points without reference to the other.

Hill, who has served the last dozen years on the council, spent a great deal of the event discussing the budget process.

“We’re going to come back and engage our department heads in the process,” he said. “These individuals have ownership of their area, know their needs, and they know the resources we have. I’ve seen in times past that they do a phenomenal job in putting priority to when they need help and when they don’t need help.”

Miller has been a frequent visitor to local public meetings over the past few months. He said citizen input drove him to run for opffice.

“I started campaigning when I came to one of the nomination meetings with Rick Olson, current mayor, as Allen Springer went against him in the May 17 election,” he said. “I started to inquire about some questions and I got some deliverance to find out about registering voters, things that I hadn’t been in touch with for some time.”

In fact, Olson is not the current mayor. He stepped down last month to prepare to take Springer’s place on the county board of commissioners. They opposed each other in a May primary race won by Olson.

Miller said he wanted to increase citizen participation on the council as well as on other local boards and commissions.

“Those sort of democracies are built to succeed, and they have over time through everything we’ve seen has made McMinnville what it is today,” he said. “And I’m running for that position to show that the roles themselves need to be outgoing in showing that the citizens have participation.

“It’s not interruption. It’s not difficulties. But the mayor himself puts himself in a place where he is accountable for the city’s actions as well as what the city plans on doing.”

Miller described the mayor’s role this way: “He may not vote and he may not be a member of the voting, but he is liaison to anything. Any facet of the city itself may be fashioned toward to represent the city.”

Taking another attempt, Miller said, “The council of the mayor is also made up of other members on the council. There are requirements of each advisory, each commission and task force.

“There is a number linked associating the cities and counties to a proper order. Those are filled and released because sometimes voters and other candidates fill those positions such as the two-position fill becomes one because they have to close assets.”

Hill pointed out the mayor’s role is defined in the city charter.

“The mayor’s role, in my eyes, begins with the city charter that outlines some things that need to happen,” he said. “The mayor, along with the city council, sets policy for the city through ordinances and through resolutions. It’s all about planning, goal setting, focus, listening, learning and building a vision for the future for the community.”