Mayoral candidates face off at library
COLUMBIA- Brian Treece and Chris Kelly answered public questions regarding a variety of issues facing the Columbia community.
When asked about the police department, the candidates both agree that Interim Police Chief, Geoff Jones, is a good fit for the community, but they have differing approaches on how to fix the department.
"I'm very pleased with the leadership that the new chief, the interim chief, provided and I think that if we keep moving in that direction, we will be in a position to lead, to raise the significant funds we need to reestablish the ethical, competent and professional police department we had when I was a judge," Kelly said.
Treece said he wants to find a city manager who will be able to hire a new police chief that is able to find workers who are capable of serving Columbia neighborhoods in the best way they know how.
"This is a major difference between Chris and I. He thinks the City Manager needs to have courage to push back on a city council. I want a city manager that is responsive to voters and the elected representative they put on that city council," Treece said.
Kelly said in response to Treece that he has never made any comments that would point to him wanting a manager who would push back on the city.
Both candidates in their closing statements said they want to improve different aspects of the the Columbia community.
Treece pointed to appointing steady leadership and making the government more approachable.
"I'm running for mayor to continue progress by reigning in taxpayer giveaways to wealthy special interests, by making our government open, honest and transparent," Treece said.
Kelly pointed to restoring trust in not only the government, but in the police department and other areas that affect the community.
"Columbia needs to restore public trust in the police department, to significantly reduce our carbon footprint, to improve our public transportation, and to rebuild our relationships with school district, the county and the fire districts," Kelly said.
The candidates will face off again Thursday at the Stoney Creek Hotel.