Kris Vohs

Candidate for Council-At-Large (4-year term)

vohsWe will be searching for opportunities to move forward with sustainable businesses in bio-science, new energy technologies, solar, wind, geo-thermal, bio fuels, recycling and other unknown technologies. The slowed economy provides challenges for research and development of new businesses for our proposed green industrial development. The two colleges, St. Olaf and Carleton, will be an asset in exploring these endeavors. The research that needs to be done could be added to the curriculum, coordinated by professors. Students will be better equipped to lead the changes needed for our world when they graduate.  

Background:

• Married, 3 adult children
• Carpenter at St. Olaf College 28 yrs., Retired
• Northfield City Council 8 yrs.
• County HRA 21 yrs., City HRA 17 yrs.
• Rice County Habitat for Humanity, Community Land Trust 6 yrs.
• LMC Nominating Committee
• EQC
• Drug Task Force

Return to Election 2008 page.

Responses to questions submitted by Northfield.org participants:

1. Have you had experience as a landlord of rental properties? What do you think about the current rental ordinance? Would you recommend changes? What enforcement mechanisms do you recommend?

I have a rental in my residence so I am a landlord.

I think the current rental ordinance is good. I like that the ordinance limits the occupancy to three in a unit. When there are issues at a licensed rental property there is now a system in place to remedy the issues or pull the license.

This ordinance is brand new and we need to review the situation in one year. If changes are needed the Council should act at that time.

I recommend we follow the procedures laid out in the rental code and the ordinance.

2. What will you do to help ensure the economic vitality of our downtown area? What vision do you have for what Northfield should be like in ten or twenty years?

More publicity of our historic downtown area and more events to draw people downtown, residents as well as tourists.

More bicycling and pedestrian traffic in downtown area. More transit routes are needed to bring residents downtown. Fewer cars downtown and more people!

3a. What are the particular skills you bring to the council?

Ethics and honesty, openness, willingness to listen and learn, time for study, connections to outside governmental organizations, 8 years City Council experience, over 30 years working in affordable housing, and my keen interest in a green and sustainable future.

3b. What are the most important personal attributes a council member can bring to the table?

Ethics and honesty and being a TEAM player.

4. Can you identify an area where you will need further information or experience before you can be an effective council member?

My willingness to learn and gather information on issues facing the Council so the Council can make the best decision possible.

5. What role does the city play in developing a sustainable energy supply for its citizens? What plans should be set in place?

Be a model for citizens for energy conservation to develop sustainable energy practices that are cost effective.

We should continue to have an Energy Task Force to advise the City on sustainable energy supply and development.
What is the state of relations between the City and its major employers, particularly the two colleges and Malt-o-Meal?
I think the relationship between the City, the two colleges, Malt-o-Meal, and major employers is good. We need to improve our relationship with them so we are aware of their needs.

6. What is the state of relations between the city and its major employers, particularly the two colleges and Malt-o-Meal? How should these relationships be improved and sustained?

The relationship with the major employers is part of the EDA's plan. I think the visits to the employers could be more productive. I don't know if we are aware of how they view their mission in our community. Any interaction we can have with them on a regular basis should help. The coming years will be important to be aware of their financial health and well being.

7. As a candidate, what are your top two or three priorities for the next two years?

To try and have a zero tax increase in these troubled financial times. Look for opportunities as a new sustainable economy emerges. Look for opportunities to stimulate our local economy. If we look only at our problems, we'll miss the opportunities.

8. What steps should be taken to ensure that the City employs talented and motivated public servants?

The first step is to make certain our legal affairs are in order so we can attract talented and motivated people. Job postings that represents the true unique qualities of Northfield. Hire a search firm that does a nation-wide search for quality candidates. Go through a selection process that incorporates representatives from our major employers and citizen groups. Ultimately the selection will involve the administrator, department heads, and HR department within the whole process of hiring.

9. How do you think the council should go about hiring the permanent city administrator?

First we should look at the option of retaining our interim city administrator. Make certain our legal affairs are in order so we can attract talented and motivated people. Job postings that represents the true unique qualities of Northfield. Hire a search firm that does a nation-wide search for quality candidates. Go through a selection process that incorporates representatives from our major employers and citizen groups. Ultimately the selection will involve the department heads and HR department. The Council would be kept informed in the process and would be doing the interviews for the top 5 candidates.

(No responses to additional questions.)


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