I am gravely concerned about the state of affairs in the city of Albany, from the misappropriation of funds to disregard for the moral fiber within parts of the administration. The recent alleged transactions involving misappropriation of funds, underhanded transactions, misleading information and immoral acts are just part of the problems we face.
It is perplexing, at best, to understand why certain members of the existing administration feel threatened by the taxpaying citizens of Albany and Dougherty County. Are they threatened to point of calling them “local terrorists”? All the citizens are doing is expressing their exasperation and disdain for the way the city has handled and/or allowed certain recent events to take place.
Many times people have asked why I am running for Ward 5 city commissioner and whether I thought I could do a better job that incumbent Bob Langstaff. Good questions and I will answer them in two parts.
First, as to whether I can do a better job: As stated in a newspaper article two weeks ago, I am a retired railroad executive. I started working for the railroad as a summer job while I was in college. That summer job resulted in a 45-year career, 40 spot in various levels of management and senior management with multibillion-dollar companies. I also owned and operated by own company for 15 years. I have been responsible for budgets of several hundred million dollars annually – many times the size of the city of Albany’s budget.
In addition to running every facet of the rail transportation industry, I have experience in industrial development and have worked with Fortune 500 companies on expansion and redevelopment projects. My business experience taught me many things, but unless you can rationalize your spending by some form of return on investment through cash flow or other desired tangible benefits, you do not invest. Government should be run with the same philosophies.
My wife of 45 years has a degree in accounting and one of her favorite old accounting phrases is … “If your outgo exceeds your income, your upkeep will be your downfall.” Someone wrote that in the newspaper recently, and it is a lesson we should all follow in our personal and business lives.
So, back to the question of whether I feel I could do better job than my opponent. I would be wasting everyone’s time including my own if I did not feel I could contribute new views, business experience and perspective to the improvement of our city government. I think that instead of bashing the citizens for expressing their concern in how the city is run, existing government should welcome new views and perspectives.
Second, why am I running for commissioner in Ward 5? I am extremely concerned about the direction we are heading and feel that apathy is our worst enemy. Citizens are deeply concerned about the alleged recent mishandling of funds by our city government, emphasized by the fraudulent activities and lack of regard for the present and future interests of its citizens. I cannot sit idly by and watch the downhill spiral of our city without exerting my best effort toward correct the issues at hand.
The Taxpayers Association has put forth four important goals in their mission statement: education, activism, oversight and reform. Government has to be run like a business in which there is accountability, responsibility and transparence (ART) and running any business is definitely an art.
I feel I can contribute to the better of the city in many ways. Those of you who know me recognize that I always conduct my business and personal activities with honesty and integrity and I will not deviate from these principles. Apathy is our worst enemy and voter apathy or action will decide the fat of Albany in the coming years. Do you want status quo or do you want accountability, responsibility and transparency in your city government? My primary goal is to make your voices heard. If you do not make the effort to vote in the Nov. 3 election, you are sacrificing your voice on future issues.
Written by Terry Hart. Mr. Hart is a retired railroad executive and candidate for the Ward 5 seat on the Albany City Commission.