DEARBORN — Despite retiring from the city of Dearborn as the treasurer and finance director after 26 years of service, Jim O’Connor still wants to serve the city in other ways.
O’Connor is one of 22 candidates running for nine seats on the Charter Revision Commission.
He grew up in Dearborn and went on to graduate from Edsel Ford, Henry Ford College and the University of Michigan-Dearborn, earning his degree in accounting.
I see our role as representatives of the community to update the charter and not our own personal agenda. — Jim O’Connor
Having lived in both east and west Dearborn and having 26 years of experience working with the city, O’Connor said he is very familiar with the charter, as he used it in performing his duties throughout his career.
“I understand the impact beyond the concept of the charter provisions,” he said. “I raised my family in Dearborn and intend to live here for the rest of our lives. We love our community and my focus is the long-term best interest of the community. I grew up, worked for and raised my family in Dearborn. I love this community and want to see the community move forward in a positive and successful way. Given my experience in working for non-profits and municipal governments, I believe I am uniquely qualified to perform these duties. I am probably the only candidate that has written letters to the mayor and City Council regarding the city charter.”
Some of O’Connor’s goals if elected include being independent while focusing on the long-term overall best interest of the community, a transparent public process, seeking input from city officials and the public, debating all sides of each issue, gaining an understanding of the motivations and impacts, updating current law compliance, positioning the city for long-term success, having a formal survey of taxpayers for alignment of proposals and an electorate approval of the proposed updated charter.
“If elected, I will be one of nine charter commissioners,” O’Connor said. “I see our role as representatives of the community to update the charter and not our own personal agenda. Dearborn is a stable community and has been successful balancing the needs of businesses and residents. It is important that this balance be retained. I see the process including a component to update the charter for any conflicts with current law or otherwise, such as the minimum manning provision and retirement programs to be consistent with current labor contracts. The process should also include positioning the city for the future. Input from the administration, City Council, charter commissioners and the public should be collected and used to identify areas of focus and debate. I expect that the wards, strong mayor or city manager and tax millage cap will come to the surface.”