Q&A With Saline City Council Candidate Jack Ceo

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 10/10/2019 - 00:30

Jack Ceo is the lone incumbent running among four candidates for three seats on Saline City Council. Also running are Jim Dell'Orco, Brian Cassise and Kevin Camero-Sulak.

Here is The Saline Post's Q&A with Jack Ceo.

Name:  John J. Ceo, Jr. (Jack)

Family: Spouse, Pamela, for 44 years; two grown children, John, III, and Christina, and their spouses, Crystal and Andrew, respectively; and, two grandsons, Jack (11) and Ryan (9).  

Career: Retired, Ann Arbor Police Deputy Chief, 1972 - 1999; retired, Saline Police Deputy Chief, 1999-2011; retired, Washtenaw County emergency services radio system, Technical Services Assistant, 2011-2016.

Education:  B. S., Public Speaking, EMU, 1965; M. B. A., EMU, 1983.

Government experience:  I served 3 years in the US Army as Headquarters Company Executive Officer, 3rd Infantry Division; a platoon leader for the 3rd MP company; a Provost Marshal Operations Officer, 3rd Infantry Division; and as a Detachment Commander with the 42nd MP Group (Customs), leaving the service with the rank of Captain.  As stated above, I also served for 25 years + in the Ann Arbor Police Department in a variety of positions, and for 12 years + with the Saline Police Department as the Deputy Chief of Police.  I also served almost 7 years as an elected member of the Saline Board of Education, having to leave to join the Saline Police Department.  

Volunteer experience:  I coached in the Saline Area Youth Baseball program for a number of years with my son and daughter.  I have worked as a lector at St. Andrew's Catholic Church in Saline.  I also served on that church's Finance/Administration commission, and served on the committee for the design of the new worship facility on Austin Drive.

Why are you running?

I am running because I believe that an obligation of citizenship is to serve the community where we live.  I think that I still have the energy, common sense and experience to make a positive contribution to City Council as a member of that body.

Why should city voters elect you to council?

I have now been a member of City Council for four years.  That experience has qualified me to continue serving for the next two years as we enter a critical time in planning for the future growth and expansion of the City.  Decisions made in the short term will be crucial in the long term, and must be carefully considered.  I think I have the training and life experiences that will help me and those I represent in that effort.

What are the top issues facing the city and how should the city address them?

The top issues facing the city are the growth questions we face as new housing units are being infilled in formerly vacant city lots, and built on our east and west sides.  These new homes bring issues about the expansion of the city infrastructure (sewer and water), roads, and city staff to properly manage it all, and deal with the demands for service that will come from these new residents.  Along with the basic issues of government infrastructure and staffing, come the issues of downtown business viability, parking and diversity to support the increasing population - whether in the city or just outside our borders..  All need to be carefully considered, and decisions made with a view to long-term consequences and costs.  It requires persons of maturity and experience in real-life situations to make wise decisions that will withstand the test of time.  

Should the city expand its borders to take on new subdivisions? Why or why not?

It is my belief that the city should expand its borders.  Growth around Saline will take place whether in the city or in the township.  If we grow to include these new developments in the city, we have control over the types of units being built, the density, and the flow of the roads.  We then can also take advantage of the increased tax base to assist us in providing the resources that they will demand.  It is my belief that if a city does not continue to grow in measured fashion, it will decline.  

If elected, there will be times when you’re faced between choosing between what you know is right, and what the public wants. How will you face such a decision?

During all my years of government service, I have made decisions by asking myself, "bottom line, what is the right thing to do?"  That process has never left me wishing I done something differently.  If it is not something the public wants, I feel it is then my obligation to explain to them why it was I acted as I did, and then deal with the fallout if there is any.

City residents have incurred several tax increases since 2013 - at the local, school district and county levels. Have we hit the limit yet? Are there circumstances that might warrant further increases?

I guess there is always room for more tax if the issue is one of enough importance to the electorate.  Last year, the city voted for an increased tax to improve our roads in town, because state funding has certainly not met the demand.  Any increases must take place judiciously and with proper input from the taxpayers.

Should council allow recreational marijuana dispensaries in the city? Why or why not? Should council allow medical marijuana dispensaries? Why or why not?

The whole marijuana question leaves me scratching my head.  Voters passed flawed legislation for both medical and recreational marijuana.  The legislature and the state's regulatory agency (LARA) have been very slow to clear up any ambiguities and provide sound rules for the conduct of both industries in Michigan.  It is my feeling that until the legislature and LARA show that they have a firm grasp of the issues, and have clear laws for the conduct of these businesses, it doesn't hurt for Saline to continue to wait and see by not allowing these businesses in Saline for now.  I think we can learn a lot from our neighbors like Jackson, Ann Arbor, and Ypsilanti Township as they struggle with trying to make sense of the issues.  There is also availability for these products for Salinians from these locales in the meantime if they so desire.

City council debate on Andelina Farms issues and strategy has generally not taken place in front of the public. Do you think key public policy and strategic decisions should take place in public, for the record? Why or why not?

Much of the City's stance on Andelina Farms has taken place under the careful guidance of our City Attorneys.  Their counsel is protected under the Freedom of Information Act from being disclosed to the public.  The issues are such that most of us are not familiar with the intricacies and nuances of the rules and laws involved, and we require the input of counsel.  Normally, debate on issues should be open and transparent, but not when it is protected speech for just reason. 

Saline is a desirable place to live and can be a great place to do business. Should city council bend its zoning ordinance or use tax incentives to entice development and attract business?

If a zoning ordinance needs to be "bent", it probably needs to be changed legislatively.  If it shouldn't be changed, it shouldn't be "bent".  It does not hurt for the city to judiciously offer tax incentives, however, to attract business to the city.  Any tax that the city then receives is tax that it would not have had had the incentive not been offered, and the business did not come to the city.  I think that it is reflective of the old saying that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. 

Tran Longmoore's picture
Tran Longmoore
Tran Longmoore is a veteran community journalist. He is founder and owner of TheSalinePost.com. He is co-publisher of The Saline Post weekly newspaper. Email him at [email protected] or call him at 734-272-6294.

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