Monday, June 30, 2003

Monroe fund woes spur candidates



By Michael D. Clark
The Cincinnati Enquirer

MONROE - With the current city council members grappling with a financial mess, potential candidates to replace them are lining up.

Four of council's seven seats are up for election in the fall, and there are already five possible candidates, according to officials at the Butler County Board of Elections.

Among those council members whose seats are up in November, only Richard Kremer has taken out the petition required as a first step toward approval as a candidate.

There are four non-incumbents who have taken out petitions.

At least three candidates - Robert Kelley, Thomas Kidd and Patrick McKnight - are basing part of their candidacies on criticizing council for not being more diligent in monitoring and informing the public about the city's mismanaged budget. Recently, city officials said they are facing a $5 million fund deficit in the city's annual operating budget of $10.5 million, and cuts to city personnel and services should voters reject a proposed tax increase that may also be on the November ballot.

"I don't think they have adequately addressed or conveyed the problems," said Kelley, a truck fleet superintendent who is also the vice president of the Monroe City Park Board.

Thomas Kidd, an attorney in the Butler County Prosecutor's office, has been one of the loudest critics of council and city administration officials since the resignations this year of former city manager Donald Whitman and financial director David Collins.

Both men have been criticized by city officials and council for mismanaging the city's budget in recent years.

Patrick McKnight, an attorney, criticized council members in person during its public meeting earlier this week for not staying abreast of the city's money woes.

Another candidate, Gary Allen, was unavailable for comment.

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E-mail mclark@enquirer.com




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