Candidate Questions For Meghan George
Occupation: Senior Account Manager
1.) Why should we vote for you and not the other candidate? (100 words or less)
You deserve a mayor that understands the unique needs of our community and as a third-generation resident, I have called Lakewood home for nearly 38 years. My experience goes beyond serving as your current at-large Councilwoman. I have served the community as a supervisor for the Lakewood Recreation Department and I’ve worked for our schools. Additionally, I am a workforce strategy/benefits consultant for employers throughout Ohio. I assist CEOs with creating a competitive environment, mitigating risk, and establishing budgets. This combination of community service and practical experience has provided me with the skill set necessary for the role as Mayor.
2.) What are the top 5 issues you see for Lakewood? (One sentence each)
1) Fiscal Stability. Long term fiscal planning geared toward ensuring we provide the quality services Lakewood residents deserve without burdening lifelong homeowners with undue tax increases by not appropriately planning for the future.
2) Public Safety. Not only should residents feel safe in their homes, they should feel safe from speeding traffic and we need to be sure our Police Department has the resources it needs to enforce our traffic codes.
3) EPA Mandate. The financial burden of the overhaul of our 100 year old sewer system is a massive undertaking that will impact every household for decades to come.
4) Transparency and Ethical Governance. It is crucial we are conducting business ethically by transparently and honestly sharing information with the residents of Lakewood.
5) Embracing Lakewood’s Impact. We must recognize our clout as Ohio’s 15th largest city by setting an agenda for Ohio that incorporates planning for a renewable energy future, improved access to public transit, as well as sustainable housing practices and development.
How would you address one of these issues (100 words)
Public safety and fiscal responsibility should always be a top priority of local government. Without a city that is fundamentally safe, and responsible with its finances, we simply do not have the ability to reinvest in parks, infrastructure, or other needs, because safety is a bedrock necessity of any dynamic community. As a nearly 38-year resident of Lakewood, I am committed to supporting the top-notch personnel we have working to maintain that foundation.
3.) Since the last major election cycle, Lakewood has lost 1500+ skilled jobs and access to health care due to the liquidation of Lakewood Hospital. What was your position on the hospital closing process? Did you vote for the Master Agreement that closed Lakewood Hospital, or would you have if you had been on council? Why or why not? If you had it to do again, would you do anything differently? (150 words or less)
I was not on city council to vote for or against the Master Agreement, however, I would not have voted for that agreement. As someone who reviews contracts on a daily basis, I would not have agreed to the terms of the Master Agreement. Additionally, I work and consult in the healthcare world, I understand the complexities of those hospital systems. I firmly believe that another hospital system would have jumped at the opportunity if an extensive RFP would have been submitted. There are hospital systems outside of the region such as Mercy which is based in Cincinnati that is working to expand their footprint in Northeast Ohio. As mayor, I would have left no stone unturned to fight for the residents of Lakewood to keep healthcare in our city.
4.) What will you do to balance needs of residents and residential neighborhoods with economic (commercial, business) development? (100 words or less)
We all recognize that sensible development and redevelopment is important to the growth of Lakewood. We need to be sure that we are working with developers to create projects that are well thought out so we do not end up in a situation where property taxes sky rocket, pricing many, including seniors, out of their homes. The median income in Lakewood is roughly $48,000, so we need to be sure we are building properties that homeowners in that income level can afford. Additionally, we need to be mindful of the traffic and parking issues developments cause in our neighborhood.
5.) The current onelakewood.com website does not promote open and honest government. It is impossible to find what you are looking for on there. After spending hours, you give up. Would you be open to changing the website to one that is easier to work with?
I am committed to creating transparency through as many means as possible, including revamping the current city website so that it is user-friendly and easy to navigate. Communication between my administration and the residents of Lakewood is a top priority. That is why I am also committed to filling the vacant communications position so that we are proactively informing our residents of what happens at city hall.
6.) The records lawsuit was a moral and legal disaster for our city. What steps will you take to make our public records available and prevent future obstructionism by public officials? Do you support the proposed ethics and campaign finance reform legislation? (100 words or less)
I am in full support of the proposed ethics and campaign finance reform legislation and actually pushed for that to be on our committee agenda earlier this spring. City officials have a moral and ethical duty to their constituents and I fully support measures making information more readily available. I have co-sponsored legislation for public records reform to create a formal process for easier accessibility to those records. Public documents are your documents and you should be able to access them as quickly as possible.
7.) What attributes or experience would you look for in appointing a law director? Would you consider re-appointing Kevin Butler or any prior Lakewood Law Director? (100 words)
In the City of Lakewood, the Directors serve at the discretion of the Mayor. With all Director appointments, there should be a process involved to be sure that the person appointed to that position is qualified. I would consider appointing a prior Law Director if the individual were qualified.
8.) Over the past 15 years we have encountered 3 “moments” which have severely divided the city of Lakewood, mostly about social economic issues like health care, eminent domain, land use, land giveaways to developers, etc. If elected or re-elected what are you going to do to help mend fences and bring the community together again? (150 words)
Although not an elected official during all of these “moments,” I have had a deep understanding of each and every one of them from the past 15 years. Since being elected to City Council, it has been my goal to bring healing to our community. We need to work together for the betterment of Lakewood, not pick sides and stay in our corner. I have and will continue to work across the divide with those that are on the “other side” of these issues because only when we work together can we do some great things for the City. This is exactly what my 360-degree approach to solution-building as mayor means, to examine challenges and issues from as many perspectives as possible to collaboratively develop the best outcome for the residents of Lakewood.
9.) Was the LO fair with this process? (50 words)