ELECTION 2017

Red Lodge Ward 2 City Council Candidates
William Bernard
Diane Dimich

William Bernard

What qualifications and background do you have to run for a City council position?
I received an undergraduate degree and graduate degrees in law and business administration from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After graduation, I practiced law in Nashville, TN before returning to North Carolina where I practiced law with a Chapel Hill based law firm for more than twenty-five years. During that time, I also had the privilege of serving on the boards of directors of a number of non-profit organizations. In 2005, after moving to Red Lodge, I joined Red Lodge Fire Rescue. I have been active with Red Lodge Fire Rescue since 2005 and am presently a volunteer Captain and an EMT. Since 2005, I have also served on the boards of directors of the Red Lodge EMS Association, Inc., the Red Lodge Volunteer Firefighters Association, Inc. and the Red Lodge Fire-EMS Foundation.  Although I have not previously held or sought elected public office, I believe my law career, volunteer service and life experiences have provided me with the tools necessary to be an effective member of the City council. 
 
What are the biggest challenges facing the City and how would you resolve them?
In response to this question, I will address  what I will bring to the City council.  First - the ability and the willingness to listen. Elected City officials are public servants.  In order to effectively serve their constituents, they must possess not only the ability to listen, but also the willingness to listen with an open mind to the merits of differing or contrary positions.  This is particularly important in these contentious times where opinions are varied and emotions are highly charged.  Second - the ability to stay on task.  There are many critical issues regarding the health, safety and welfare of our citizens and the drivers that keep Red Lodge economically vibrant. These issues require immediate and recurring attention.  They include, among others, infrastructure (water, sewer and streets); the “right-sizing” of emergency services (including law enforcement, fire and emergency medical services); and aesthetic and other economic considerations that impact the attractiveness of Red Lodge as a destination for others and, consequently, the economic viability of our local businesses. There is much to be done and time is a scarce resource. Consequently, it is incumbent upon our elected City officials to use their time efficiently and productively.  To do so they must stay on task. I do not believe that City Council meetings should be a forum for advancing personal agendas or debating matters that are more properly, and effectively, addressed at the state and/or national levels. If our elected City officials are not addressing our critical local issues, who is?  Third - the ability to be forward looking.  As our elected City officials work through the critical issues regarding the health, safety and welfare of our citizens and our City's economic drivers, it is imperative that they not simply look for convenient or quick short-term solutions, they must also be forward looking and consider the long-term consequences of the decisions they make today. Their failure to do so will open the door to unintended consequences that may unnecessarily burden the City in the future.

How would you develop relationships: a. among city agencies and the people b. between the city and the county?
Communication. Effective communication, particularly among those who have different positions, seems to be a lost art. The establishment and the maintenance of productive working relationships requires effective communication.

How would you like to see the City run?
I would like to see the City run with an open ear to the concerns of its citizens.  I would like to see the City council stay on task and focus its time on critical issues regarding the health, safety and welfare of our citizens, including infrastructure (water, sewer and streets); the “right-sizing” of emergency services (including law enforcement, fire and emergency medical services) and the drivers that keep our City economically vibrant. I would like to see the City council thoroughly consider the future impact of the decisions it makes today so as to minimize the possibility that the City will have to deal with adverse economic and other consequences of those decisions in the future.

Where would you like to see Red Lodge in five years? 
I would like to see Red Lodge in five years as a community that has held on to the many positive attributes that make it an enjoyable place to live; that is implementing and encouraging affordable housing and other programs to ease the financial burden of living and working here; and that is actively working on and implementing well thought out and sustainable solutions to issues involving infrastructure, emergency services and economic health.

 

Diane Dimich

What qualifications and background do you have to run for a City council position?

I have spent the last year attending committee/council meetings, asking questions, and paying attention. I own a business in Red Lodge and have lived and worked in the community for almost 30 years. Earlier this year a council member told me I “had my finger on the pulse of the community.” I know the city is currently in a financial situation that isn’t sustainable. I am going in with my eyes and ears open. I will do my research and listen to my constituents. I will discuss any issue publicly. I believe that people from all walks of life working together on solutions makes for a better community. I also have thick skin and can take criticism.

What are the biggest challenges facing the City and how would you resolve them?
In my opinion, our biggest challenge is our financial issues and our infrastructure needs. Over the past few years, the mayors have made executive decisions without much forethought or input from the whole council and the public. The police budget has increased dramatically over the past few years; this has affected every other department. As money and salaries are moved around to different accounts, it has put the city in a financial crisis and deterred any progress on the infrastructure needs. We are fortunate to have access to the resort tax, but over the years the use of the money has changed. We as a city need to get back to the basics and use the resort tax money and water/sewer fees for the intended purpose. Some residents on Haggin still have brown water.

How would you develop relationships: a. among city agencies and the people b. between the city and the county?
I would begin by doing public work in public. The city needs to build trust with the community. The easiest way to do this is to use integrity and respect when answering people’s questions. Accuracy, honesty, and truthfulness when talking to people will go along way in building trust. It shouldn’t be hard to get information from city hall. Everything they do is public~ except some personnel issues. We all live, work and play in this community and must respect each other even if we have a difference of opinion.
I feel I have a good relationship with the people at the county offices. I have been treated with respect when I have gone to them with questions or concerns.

How would you like to see the City run?
I would like to see the city run with responsibility, integrity, and respect for everyone. The city is financed by public money, and for that reason alone everything that is happening needs to be communicated and discussed publicly. Our city government is a mayor and a council, and they need to lead this city. Being responsible means being answerable to the residents of Red Lodge. Every decision made affects all of us. The decisions should be made with information that is accurate, honest and truthful. Every decision should be well vetted, and each council member should be able to defend their decision and be able to answer people’s questions. The city has put money and time into documents to help guide the process; they need to be utilized.

Where would you like to see Red Lodge in five years?
I would like to see our finances in order, money in reserve accounts, money in capital improvements accounts and infrastructure being fixed. The brown water on Haggin a distant memory. The resort tax vote re-approved by the residents of Red Lodge and the money used for infrastructure and tax relief. The business community is flourishing because people decided it was better to support the local businesses then drive to Billings. Our tourism industry is thriving because Red Lodge Mountain is now open year-round for trail riding, horseback riding, and a zip line in the summer. Old Roosevelt is a bustling events center, and the hotels/motels are full. We are still known for our fabulous restaurants and bars. Our residents and visitors are treated with dignity and respect by everyone no matter where they come from or who they are. I’m still on council and if not I’m still around to pay attention and ask questions.

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Upcoming Events

  • Friday, June 21, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Rock Creek Group meets Tuesdays and Saturdays at 8 a.m. and Wednesdays and Fridays at 7 p.m. at Calvary Church, 9 N Villard, Red Lodge.
  • Monday, June 24, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Joliet Group meets at the Community Center Monday at 7 p.m.
  • Tuesday, June 25, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Now Group meets at the Bridger United Methodist Church, 222 W. Broadway (west entrance of church) Tuesday at 7 p.m.
  • Thursday, June 27, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Meets every Thursday, 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. at the Red Lodge Area Community Foundation, 122 S. Hauser. It is open to all. 425- 1755.
  • Thursday, June 27, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Clarks Fork Group meets at St. Joseph’s Catholic Hall, north end of Montana Avenue, Thursday at 7 p.m.
  • Friday, June 28, 2019 - 7:00pm
    Rock Creek Group meets Tuesdays and Saturdays at 8 a.m. and Wednesdays and Fridays at 7 p.m. at Calvary Church, 9 N Villard, Red Lodge.

The Carbon County News

Street Address:

11 N. Broadway, Red Lodge, MT 59068

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 970, Red Lodge, MT 59068

Phone: 406-446-2222

Fax: 406-446-2225

Toll-Free: 800-735-8843

Open: Monday-Friday, from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.