Treasurer Candidate Thomas Christ Talks Budget, Resident Participation and E-Reader Addiction
Macomb Patch recently spoke with Thomas Christ, the retired businessman and Macomb Township resident looking to become the community's next treasurer.
A 28-year Macomb Township resident, Thomas Christ, 61, is running for the position of township treasurer against incumbent Karen Goodhue.
Should he be elected, Christ said one of his first acts will be to "push for a policy to be implemented that requires any issue to appear on the Township's Board of Trustees Agenda prior to any action or vote, thereby providing all residents with notice and opportunity to review and comment."
Now retired, the father of two and grandfather of four said he spends much of his free time working as a volunteer mediator with The Resolution Center, a nonprofit that works with the state court system to assist individuals to craft their own settlement to disagreements that would otherwise require court action.
Macomb Patch recently spoke with Christ to learn more about the resident looking to become Macomb Township's next treasurer.
Patch: Why have you chosen to run for treasurer?
Christ: First and foremost in my belief that I am the most qualified and experienced individual with the desire to hold the office of Treasurer. My long business career has provided me with the background that is required to successfully perform the duties as both the Township Treasurer and a member of the Board of Trustees. I am also motivated by my view that our political system requires an open and engaging primary to nominate the Republican Party's preferred candidate.
Patch: Why do you feel you are qualified for this post?
Christ: A review of my business background, and a general knowledge of the duties of a township treasurer confirmed for me that I would be the preferred candidate. My broad business experiences, which include employee management, financial performance oversight, customer service and government relations have prepared me to serve both the township and its residents over the next four years.
Patch: What changes or improvements do you intend to make if elected treasurer?
Christ: Working with the Township Board, I intend to improve the long term planning process of the Township bringing a business type analysis to each issue. This will begin by an attempt to implement a 3 year budget process, increased resident participation in governance and operations of the Township. As the formal responsibilities of the Township Treasurer are generally financial in scope, (revenue collection, asset investment and payment of expenses), I see the majority of my efforts for improvements being directed from my position as one of 3 full time elected officials and one of seven members of the Board of Trustees. An example of the methods I hope to implement are best described by Jim Collins in his book "Good to Great" and summarized with his statement "There was no miracle moment instead, a down-to-earth, pragmatic, committed-to-excellence process, a framework that kept each company, its leaders, and its people on track for the long haul." To adopt this and other proven principals of management will require a consensus of the Board and reaching this consensus is where my business background will be my greatest asset.
Patch: Of what personal or professional accomplishments are you most proud?
Christ: From a personal perspective, it must be the accomplishment of my wife and me. We are parents of two wonderful daughters, and now watching them succeed as both wife and mother, while pursuing their successes in business, and knowing that we instilled in them the values and desire to become productive members of their communities.
On a professional level, I am most proud of my overall business career. A career that began as a semi-truck driver while attending Wayne State University and culminating with my final promotion in 2001 to the position of VP Corporate Development of that same international corporation that first hired me to drive a truck.
Patch: Is there one individual who has been most influential in your life?
Christ: Without any doubt it is my mother. A post-WWII immigrant to this country, having survived the occupation of her Greek homeland island, and widowed by the death of my father when I was 2 years old, she instilled in me values, believes, and a work ethic that have driven and guided me throughout my life.
Patch: What are key ways Macomb residents can make a difference locally?
Christ: Increasing resident participation in the overall township governance will serve to improve the Township Board's ability to be responsive and understanding of the community's wants and desires. To increase participation requires that the Township actively seeks resident participation in many ways, including but not limited to: posting all board/commission positions with their termination dates and implementing a system of resident applications for appointments, a change in when a resident may speak at the bi-monthly Board Meetings, requiring all voted issues to appear on the published agenda prior to a vote being taken. In general, the Township must convey to its residents that their "voice" makes a difference and all opinions are considered, reviewed, and treated with respect.
Patch: What do you like most about the Macomb Township community? Do you have a favorite place in Macomb?
Christ: What impresses me the most about the Township "community" are the number of active subdivision homeowner associations. Over the past few weeks, while walking the residential streets introducing myself to voters, I cam to fully realize the benefit of Homeowner Associations. These groups, neighbors working with neighbors to maintain and improve their small communities serve as examples of what can be accomplished when desire is accompanied by those willing to volunteer their time and knowledge.
As to my favorite "spot", I think it is my own backyard. My wife and I are blessed to own a home that backs up to the Clinton River flood plain and with it comes the joy of watching nature up close and persona.
Patch: What are your hobbies, or interests?
Christ: When time allows, I enjoy playing golf, and when free time does exist, I have become addicted to my Nook e-reader slowly replacing my trips to the bookstore with the ease of a quick download.
Macomb Patch intends to interview all candidates with ties to, or oversight of Macomb Township. Look for an interview with incumbent Treasurer Karen Goodhue on Tuesday.
All candidates are also scheduled to participate in a Meet the Candidates forum, open to the public, on July 19 from 6-8:30 p.m. at the Clinton-Macomb Public Library main branch.