Analytical engineer announces run for IC City Council


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If elected, Richard Finley hopes to offer a "fresh perspective" to the environment of the Iowa City City Council.

"I'm a new face," the 55-year-old said. "I think there's value in that."

Finley, who announced his intention to run as an at-large candidate Wednesday, said his main priorities include straightening out the budget and preserving public services — namely fire and police protection, fire inspection, parks, roads, and the Public Library.

The Rockwell Collins technical manager said the City Council's approval, earlier this year, to cut one position each from the Fire and Police Departments sparked his desire to enter the race.

"We need to prioritize the services and to make sure we extract every dollar of value from the revenue that the city takes in and that each citizen will get a share of the city's services," Finley said.
One of his strengths is that he's not beholden to any particular industry, he said.

"I have a broad background of interest," he said, and his knowledge of universities and renovating a historic home, among other things, shape his strengths and understanding for the position. Finley said he has little experience in community-related organizations or service projects.

"In a way, my neutrality, in the face of special interest, is a strength," Finley said. "I can listen to all sides."

But at-large Councilor Terry Dickens said having board experience is necessary.

"It'd be tough to come in without any experience," he said. "There is a learning curve the first year, but after that, you're pretty much up to speed."

Finley, a nine-year Iowa City resident, said the city needs to set priorities because of tight budgets and the economy contraction the city is currently experiencing.

"When faced with a possible shortfall, you need to make sure you understand your priorities," he said, "And I think I have those well in hand."

Finley said the first step in addressing these problems would be to conduct a phase of discovery by comparing the Iowa City with other cities nationwide.

"I would analyze city data and really get a hard picture on what the details of the budget are," he said.

But he argued certain city issues should be considered separately, believing discussing such issues as the 21-ordinance and budget are like "mixing apples and oranges."

"I think it's unfortunate that we have to have a law like [the 21-ordinance]," Finley said, neither agreeing or disagreeing with its implementation. "I would like to have a mechanism to make people more responsible for what they do … But I feel it would need to be re-examined."

Josh Eklow, 25, also running at-large, said he agreed maintaining a healthy city budget and having a diverse group of people on the council is important.

"I also think that [the budget] is not the only thing," he said. "A city's budget isn't necessarily what makes the city great."

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