Q&A with Marianne Clattenburg, candidate for County Legislature, District 8
Marianne Clattenburg is a candidate for County Legislature in District 8. Her opponent is Colin McAllister.
If elected, what will you recommend to your fellow legislators for county priorities over the next five years?
First and foremost the main priority will remain the same, to serve the citizens of Genesee County by providing them with the services that are important to them. The second priority will be to provide those services while maintaining the fiscal stability of the county. Part of those services will be to address the growing need in the county for an increased supply of clean water. Another priority is the safety of our citizens. This includes investments in law enforcement and the construction of a new county jail. This construction has been mandated by the state, but must be implemented with the taxpayer in mind.
What can or should the County government do to help foster business growth in Genesee County?
The County has a responsibility to provide the foundational needs that businesses require to expand their existing operations and to attract new investment in the county. The primary reason to foster business is to provide for employment opportunities for our citizens and to expand our tax base. Foundational needs include investment in public works projects. It also means investing in the education and training of our workforce. Whenever possible this is done through private/public partnerships coordinated by the county’s economic development agency. Through this agency, new and existing large companies and small businesses can apply for assistance in reaching their goals of expanding their businesses and job opportunities in Genesee County.
Should the County build a new jail?
The current building that houses our jail is over 100 years old and does not meet the Department of Corrections' operational standards. It also does not allow for the housing of female inmates. The state commission has notified Genesee County that we must bring our jail up to state standards. Due to the age and structure of our existing jail, it was determined that investing in our current jail was not an option. With pressure from the state, we began to look at the options for building a new jail. The members of the legislature spent time touring existing jails to see what size and configuration would work for Genesee County. The process we are currently undergoing is determining the size of our new jail and the operational costs that will be associated with it. We are also very concerned with the financing requirements associated with a major project such as this. All the work done thus far can be found on the county’s website. I will be seeking public input on this decision and I look forward to hearing the views of my constituents. We need to build a new county jail that meets the requirements of the state, but we should build a jail that is financially acceptable to the taxpayer.
Are you satisfied with the way the County has been run for the past decade or so?
The employees who are responsible for the day to day operations of our county work extremely hard to serve our citizens. We have been fortunate to have our County Manager, Jay Gsell leading this effort. Jay and all our employees have given us a county that we can be proud of. From our senior center, veteran’s service office, public works, county parks, youth services, health, and human service providers, law enforcement and emergency services as well as our county clerk’s office, these departments exist to serve the taxpayer. The legislature has worked with our manager and his staff to implement policies that provide for the safety and well-being of our citizens. We have had our challenges and sometimes disagreements. It is challenging at times to satisfy all the required state mandates, but still maintain the service level that our county citizens expect. I believe the county has done a good job during the past decade meeting these needs.
What book first published in English since the Enlightenment has influenced your outlook on life the most?
As a Christian, the book that has influenced my life the most do not meet the language or timeframe requirement of your question. A book that I did enjoy and was thought-provoking was “The Five People You Meet in Heaven,” by Mitch Albom. It explores the idea that our lives are connected to the lives of others in ways that we may not know. For those who have not read it, I strongly recommend it!