Mayoral Candidate James Perkins, Jr.

Selma, Alabama

1. Increase Jobs! Jobs!  Jobs! …with livable wages

  1. Support economic development and growth:
    1. Allocate funds and provide local competitive infra-structure improvement mini-grants to store-front businesses/property owners thereby incentivizing retail business development and retention, beautifying downtown and neighborhood businesses
    2. Aggressively promote existing workforce development and training programs that are proven to lead to employment of the under-employed and unemployed citizens by encouraging livable wage pay for employees who achieve baseline education and experience qualifications for position held
    3. Work with Selma Career Center and local colleges to develop, implement and sustain a ‘Customer First’ program that provides customer friendly training to all existing local business employees, monitors and reports to the community the local businesses with a friendly customer service rating using local media, city Mobile App, and PEG channel as outlets
    4. Develop and maintain a consolidated city-wide jobs listing system where employers can list available jobs and citizens can easily search, find, and access job opportunities
    5. Restore Summer Youth Employment Program
    6. Participate with EDAChamber of CommerceTourismTeamSelma, and Craig Field, South Dallas, Bell Road, and Selfield industrial parks while doing industry recruiting and retention by knowing what to saywhen to say ithow to get things done, and consistently doing the things necessary to achieve a ‘win’ including but not limited to: a) performing target industry research, b) rebranding for in-town and out-of-town marketing, c) sustaining a strategy for city-wide cleanup and cleanliness, and d) performing corporate prospect visitation corridor cleanliness execution, verification and validation process
    7.  Work through professional associations (NLC, ALM, USCM) and state and regional government coalitions (Alabama Tourism Department, Delta Regional Authority, ALA-TOM Resource Conservation & Development Council, AL-TOM Regional Commission, CARIA) to advocate for more industry recruiting and retaining incentives from federal and state government sources… specifically targeting under-developed micro-politans such as Selma by lobbying POTUS, POTUS Cabinet, U. S. Congress, Governor, and State Legislature to strengthen Selma’s position with: a) maintaining 9 foot channel within Alabama River from Selma to Port of Mobile, b) completing US Hwy 80 4-lanes project, c) redirecting I-85 through Selma, and d) recapturing special programs that directly improve the bottom line of
  2. Promote entrepreneurship:
      1. Support small business training and development by working with entities with a proven capacity to trainmentor, and coach micro-business enterprises (SCORE – Service Core of Retired Executives), SBASelma Small Business CenterWCCSBCIA, etc.)
      2. Promote independently owned family-friendly neighborhood businesses by making building codes more business friendly
      3. Recruit family-oriented businesses (i.e. skating rink, bowling alley, movie theaterrestaurants)
      4. Support the development and maintenance of a local business directory that directs customers to local businesses via the Selma Mobile App
  3. Pursue the development of a newly emerging and sustainable industry:
    1. Work with state and regional leaders to convene a group of industrial, professional, educational, political, agricultural, utility, and community leaders to identify a non-existing ideal industry (e.g. technology, agriculture (food and clean energy), hemp, tourism/service…) that is a good fit for the region and has substantial job producing capability
    2. Solicit federal and state support for incentives that are available and can be applied to the different phases of the target industry project
    3. Lobby target industry leaders to locate in the area
    4. Work with regional leaders to close the deal
    5.  

2. Improve Public Safety ...for citizens in neighborhoods, businesses, and public spaces

  1. Increase public safety wages to industry-standard levels:
    1. raise the minimum salary for new recruits to $34,000
    2. raise all levels of public safety pay to align with averages of comparable size cities
  2. Provide greater officer retention incentives:
    1. reinstitute the Assistant Chief position
    2. reinstitute the $5,000 in-city homeownership down-payment assistance program
  3. Increase officer training:
    1. raise education attainment level for new recruits to two-year college graduate level or a commitment to earning a two-year public safety related college degree within four years of employment
    2. grandfather and make optional the two-year college graduate level requirement for existing officers
    3. provide tuition incentives for existing officers to achieve minimum two-year college graduate degree over a four-year period
  4. Increase community policing:
    1. re-establish CLEO (Community Law Enforcement Outreach) …the portable neighborhood precinct that targets high crime districts
    2. encourage more neighborhood watch and neighborhood association programs by providing mini-grants for innovativeGet To Know Your Neighborprograms that include law enforcement
    3. increase CRIMESTOPPER’s budget by 20%
    4. immediately transfer allegations of excessive force to outside agencies (i.e. state or federal), whichever applies
  • Initiate a Citizen’s Police Assistance Board
    1. review citizen/police issues and make recommendations to the mayor and police chief of their findings
    2. evaluate the existing police manual and make recommendations for modifications
  • Increase the psychological review step in the recruiting and hiring process
    1. Place more weight on the psychological review performed prior to hire
    2. Require officers to have psychological reviews that may be annually scheduled, ordered by supervisor, or randomly scheduled electronically
  • Complete plans to modernize Public Safety Building
    1. Assess the bone structure of the existing building to determine whether a new building is needed, or the existing building can be modernized
    2. Identify funds to implement the finding in item 1
    3. Develop A&E plans and construct the facility
  • Increase the usage of public safety technology with more citizen outreach and training
    1. focus on public safety on neighborhood streets and public spaces, to include a 24/7 monitoring center of both permanent and portable cameras that will be used to facilitate rapid dispatch of patrolmen to potential crime areas that are being monitored using the FTTH network
    2. use PEG channel to offer mini-workshops on municipal codes, citizen/police interaction, public safety, public notices, and emergency notifications
    3. use technology (e.g. Selma Mobile App and PEG) to flash helpful tips on code enforcement, public safety, public notices, and emergency notifications
  • Increase number of police officers to full staffing (60 officers) as per the Ioma Report
    1. increase vetting rigor in the hiring policy
    2. successful implementation of A through E will guarantee the success of this item
  • Aggressively create as many jobs as economically possible
    1. see Vision 1: Increase Jobs! Jobs! Jobs! …with livable wages; more jobs equal less crime
    2. successful implementation of other vision items will have a direct positive impact on reducing crime

3. Improve quality of life in all neighborhoods …for all residents

  1. Fix Garbage and Trash Collection by renegotiating garbage collection contract, fixing and maintaining city owned equipment, fixing collection scheduling system, fixing revenue collections, and fixing spending priorities
  2. Increase property values by increasing home-ownership
    1. reinstitute the $5,000 in-city homeownership down-payment assistance program for city employees with an initial target on public safety
    2. encourage other public entities to provide similar incentives for their employees to purchase homes and live in Selma
    3. work with the real estate and developer communities to target home purchases within Selma
    4. work with the real estate and developer communities to encourage neighborhood covenants in new developments to insure the sustainability of neighborhood quality
    5. implement the use of Section 8 vouchers for homeownership
    6. strengthen neighborhood association and watch programs in all established neighborhoods and provide a police department point of contact for each neighborhood association, connecting to Weed and Seed, and offering mini-grants to associations for innovative neighborhood programs
  3. Promote an increase in family values:
    1. work with faith-based community to promote strong family values through messaging and training on parenting, resolving conflicts, bullying, applying fairness,
    2. restore public parks to support family-orientated activities
  4. Improve visibility throughout the city by increasing lighting and clearing cutting alleys and public spaces
  5. Reduce health disparity by increasing healthcare information and access (healthy neighborhoods must have healthy people)
      1. actively participate in the assessmentinformation sharing, and management of Coronavirus issues and care
    1. capture every opportunity to reduce the chances of our citizens becoming victims to cancer, HIV/AIDS, heart disease and stroke, kidney failure, COVID-19, and so many
    2. insure that city funds are not squandered on Mardi Gras Balls in the name of raising money for legitimate healthcare mission non-profits like American Cancer Society(Note as an example: One year American Cancer Society received a $200 contribution with the Ball itself costing thousands)
  6. Increase home renovations and new construction:
    1. seek and acquire grant funding for weatherization, disability ramps, and other repairs to homes owned by senior citizens
    2. seek and acquire grant funding for lead paint abatement to meet EPA, ADEM, and HHS safety standards
    3. make infra-structure improvements by initiating an aggressive neighborhood curb, gutters, and sidewalk construction program
    4. immediately clean drainage system city-wide
    5. make the Brown YMCA facility a priority and work with the community to re-develop the Brown YMCA facility into a thriving community center

4. Improve Government Operations …by restoring responsibility, authority, and accountability to every position in government

  1. Ensure citizens are serviced by:
      1. answering the phone, fixing transparency issues, and using IoT (Internet of Things) technology tools
      2. fixing mayor/council relations by uniformly executing citizen work orders
      3. attending council meetings,
      4. being represented at council committee meetings,
      5. being prepared with written documentation to share with city council for vote consideration
  2. Repair financial practices with the specific goal to restore the city bond rating to A+
  3. Restore Human Resources Department by re-establishing the proper connections between job descriptions and performance evaluations:
    1. reinstitute and consistently enforce annual performance evaluation and personnel policies
    2. restore proper chain of command and span of control management practices
    3. restore verification and validation protocols to insure quality work performance by requiring safety and quality control protocols are built into each government operation and sustained at all levels of municipal government
    4. restoring Recreation Department with focus on youth physical, mental, and social development by offering a variety of youth and family-centered resources and activities
  4. Restore policies and procedures in all departments
  5. Lower long-term debt and the cash flow impact of existing long-term debt:
    1. seek a lower interest rate on existing debt and restructure
    2. shift short term assets purchases from long-term debt schedules to short term lease agreements
    3. set aside cash to make early principle payments and to replace depleting assets
  6. Eliminate wasteful spending:
    1. eliminate expectation for city to maintain citizen owned property easements
    2. restore in-house vehicle routine maintenance service and centralized vehicle major repair bid and outsourcing process
    3. review organization structure in search greater efficiencies
  7. Improving revenue collections:
    1. if necessary, bring garbage service in-house thereby regaining approximately $500,000/per year of revenue into the general fund
    2. inventory retail businesses and communicate with retailers to restore trust and integrity in the retail/government relationship
    3. inspect, reset and reinforce internal collection processes of all taxes, licenses, and fees due to the city
    4. correctly report $.005 sells tax in revenue financial reports
    5. determine how is it that the city, over the past 8 years, has increased virtually all taxes and fees, except property tax, without realizing an increase in the revenue budget
  8. Increase wages of all city employees:
    1. increase minimum wage for city employees by 31%, that is, from $7.25/hr. to $9.50/hr. over the next four years
    2. raise the minimum salary for police officers to $34,000 within two years
    3. position city government wages to remain at or above the state averages for comparable size cities by creating a restricted wage reserve fund equivalent to 12 months of the city’s annual payroll which can only be used for employee wages and salaries
  9. Strengthen boards and authorities:
    1. reinstitute and consistently enforce board and authority member appointment dates and tenure
    2. create more diversity and experience on all appointed boards
  10. Re-evaluate the garbage and trash system; if necessary, redesign garbage, trash, and code enforcement processes:
    1. ensure ADEM the City of Selma Waste Management Plan and other environmental requirements are up to date; that is past due by at least two (2) years
    2. enforce garbage fee collections by using a door to door collection process for late fee payments with cost recovery fee for door-to-door collection step
    3. collect fees using multiple payment methods including, but not limited to, TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needed Families) payments, debit/credit card payments, cash, court ordered labor, door-to-door, and property owner assisted enforcement
    4. re-evaluate code enforcement and make more efficient

5. Make Selma a SmartCity

  1. Identify and implement a simple ‘of the shelf’ Mobile App that will be used to quick start a city-wide clean up by empowering citizens to report potholes, uncut grass, uncollected garbage and trash, broken sewage and water lines, etc.
  2. Develop design specifications for the Selma Mobile App within the IT Department, research and engage the best Mobile App development or acquisition strategy that will be compatible to a variety of platforms, including, but not limited to, Android, Windows and iOS and will contain data/information supporting each item listed in this Vision Statement (See: Clutch Website @ https://clutch.co/directory/mobile-application-developers for potential developers)
  3. Develop and maintain smart uses of the City’s smart-people, IoT (Internet of Things), mobile technology, and perpetual visioning and planning to initiate Selma’s journey into the world of SmartCities (See: http://www.fastcoexist.com/1680538/what-exactly-is-a-smart-city, article “What Exactly Is A Smart City” with The Smart Cities Wheel for explanation of SmartCity concept)
  4. Maintain the Selma Mobile App by ensuring that data/information presented from the App are updated weekly by the IT Department. (To help see the vision go to: Center for Technology in Government, University at Albany, State University of New York, article by James Costello, Web Application Developer @  https://www.ctg.albany.edu/publications/issuebriefs/mobile and NationSwell website article, “How Mobile Apps Help Local Governments Connect with Citizens” @ http://nationswell.com/mobile-apps-local-governments-citizens-civic-engagement/)
  5. Include a page with up-to-date data/information from each item listed in this Vision Statement. (See http://www.sanantonio.gov/GetConnected/MobileApps.aspx for example of a mature municipal mobile app.)
  6. Provide opportunities for local businesses to expand their sells by incorporating web-based retail sells opportunities
  7. Include a page that connects to outside entities, including the USA government, such as, https://www.usa.gov/
  8. Advocate for and support the Selma City School System to reengage the media center located at B. Hudson for the purpose of developing programs to be aired on the PEG channel (Channel 181)
  9.  

6. Support Education …by advocating for excellence at all education levels: Pre-K, Primary, Secondary, Post-Secondary, and workforce development and training

  1. Promote excellence in education from the Office of Mayor:
    1. provide necessary support to ensure that every child has Internet access at home
    2. use PEG Channel (Charter 181) to highlight education system high achievers at all levels
    3. team with superintendent to advocate and apply for available supplemental funding for non-funded cultural and enrichment programs that provide unique exposure to school aged children
    4. establish a task force to explore the feasibility of a comprehensive capital improvement program to modernizes all public school facilities that are above 50 years’ old
  2. Provide financial support for education:
    1. ensure school system is getting the best possible fee structure for use of city owned buildings
    2. provide maintenance assistance for all public school campus playgrounds
    3. Work with school systems and business community to develop and implement a seamlessly integrated brand for the City of Selma that includes education, commerce, and government

7. Cultivate UNITY …through FAITH and WORK

  1. Engage clergy and faith community leaders:
    1. schedule quarterly briefings with clergy community to: a) seek ways to reset the moral compass within the community towards the golden rule, b) celebrate successes, and c) focus attention on opportunities
    2. work with clergy to promote and restore hope within the community with consistent positive messaging and promoting a positive family and work ethic
  2. Engage Faith Based Community to create ecumenical Faith and Work opportunities with a focus on living and working together by Faith with HOPE.