This interview is part of a series of posts designed help us all learn a little bit about who’s running for city council in Fayetteville on November 2.
We sent two rounds of questions to all of the candidates and we’ll post one interview each weekday in the order that we received them beginning with Round 1.
Keep in mind that you’ll only be able to vote for the candidates who are running in your ward and that only two wards (Ward 2 and Ward 4) have contested seats.
In Ward 1, nobody filed to run against Adella Gray. In Ward 3, only Justin Tennant filed for the open seat.
For a ward map and more information on all the candidates, visit our 2010 City Council Election page.
Rhonda Adams – Ward 4, Position 1
Fayetteville Flyer: If you make it to the council, you’ll be forced to take sides on incredibly controversial issues. You’ll also have to make important decisions that have direct impacts on certain individuals or groups. Are you ready for that kind of pressure?
Rhonda Adams: Yes. I can take the pressure. I believe that my experience at home and in the workplace prove it. First, we’ve raised two wonderful and successful daughters, and I’m glad that we stuck to the important, and sometimes controversial decisions we made where they were concerned. Next, every day as assistant dean for administration I deal with issues and sometimes controversial topics that impact the lives of a community of students, hard-working staff members and faculty. I am directly involved with groups of students who joined together because of their common interests and are requesting funding, travel dollars, or better office space. Sometimes they get the results they wanted, but at times they do not. I serve on search committees and oversee the HR duties in our workplace. I enjoy being a part of the long-term results and implementing change in my workplace, even though the decisions can be tough. Yes. I can take the pressure.
FF: We’ve come to learn that the city council meeting agendas are far more in depth than what is handed out to the audience. It’s not uncommon for a full agenda to include over 300 pages. Will you have time to absorb that much information twice each month?
RA: Yes, I will. Not only have I worked at the University all of my adult life, but I earned my degrees while working. So as a student I spent hours late at night and early in the mornings writing papers, completing assignments, and preparing for class. As an employee I do a lot of reading course proposals, reviewing and assisting with the formation of faculty policies, and writing and providing students with advising materials, honor code handbooks and other information. I spend a great deal of time preparing for meetings, and I enjoy that part of my daily life. I like to read, and I know the importance of studying and preparing before arriving at a meeting. It’s very common at our home to spend an evening reading together in preparation for the next day.
FF: The paid parking issue is almost 12 months old. Why do you think those in opposition waited until the program was implemented to formally voice their opinions? Did they have to see it to believe it or did the city (or media) not do enough to inform us of what was coming?
RA: I sat through many meetings before a parking plan was adopted and I am confident that a lot of effort was made by the city and the media to inform us of what was coming. But I also believe that every new policy or new ordinance or new law takes some time for people to become fully educated about, adjust to, and learn to be comfortable with. No one could have fully known the impact that the parking situation would have before it was implemented. I have confidence that our city government and all of us as citizens will continue to work together so that our city will have a good parking plan that will benefit our city. It’s important in any community where change is implemented to listen repeatedly to those who are impacted by it, and I’m glad businesses and restaurant managers/owners had an opportunity to come back and speak their thoughts and opinions.
FF: If the Walton Arts Center decides not to build its new facility in Fayetteville, will the world really end?
RA: I am very supportive of the Walton Arts Center and am hopeful about the expansion proposal. The Walton Arts Center is good for our Dickson Street businesses, and we need to ensure that we keep good programs there. We have a great facility and I know that we will all work together to keep theatre, art and music in Fayetteville.
FF: We’ve seen you at city council meetings before. Is there anything the council has done in the past that you were totally against? Anything you were really proud of?
RA: I am very supportive of Mayor Jordan’s administration, and am particularly proud of the way the administration and the city council work together as a team. I recall one particular case where individual council members stated their opinions and, because of a willingness to keep discussing and working together, the proposed ordinance as finally passed turned out much better than when it started. I like to be involved in thoughtful and civil discussion of issues, and if elected I will carefully work to continue in that tradition and ensure that our Ward 4 citizens continue to have a strong voice in city government.
On the negative side, while there might be some things I would have wanted to see changed a bit, there is nothing that the Council has done in recent years that I would be totally against.