Ward 6 seat up for grabs in Tuesday election
By Traci Chapman
Two of three candidates for the Mustang Ward 6 City Council seat listed their priorities of what they hoped to accomplish if elected.
The election will be Tuesday. Incumbent Donal Mount declined to respond to questions about the election posed to the candidates by the News.
“Upon the advice of my attorney I have been instructed to ‘not’ correspond with you,” Mount stated in a Feb. 3 email sent in response to a News email which contained questions.
Mount has been embroiled in a controversy with city officials over what they contend is a form of harassment. Mount has made more than 70 open records requests during the past 18 months. Mount took issue with a recent story in the News in which City Manager Tim Rooney said the records requests have become burdensome and “bullying.”
The two men who are challenging Mount for the seat, Jess Schweinberg and Nathan Sholund, did respond to the questions posed, many of which were posed to the News by its readers. Those questions were:
- What are the three top priorities you would like to accomplish if elected (re-elected)?
- Please expand a little more on your background and how it will help you in the upcoming council term.
- What do you believe is the most important quality for a city councilman?
- Is being able to work together with city staff, fellow council members and others an important part of the job?
- Are there things going on in the city you would like to see changed? If yes, please detail and advise how you would go about seeking those changes.
- Would you like to provide any information about your family (names, etc., and how they have inspired you to serve your community, etc.)?
- Any other comments you would like to make?
Decision could be made in February
In December, 56-year-old Schweinberg and Sholund, 25, filed their intentions to challenge Mount for the Ward 6 seat. The three men are competing for a council seat, which is non-partisan and has a three-year term. If one candidate receives a majority – more than 50 percent of the vote – during the February primary, that person will be elected to the seat, Canadian County Election Board Secretary Wanda Armold said in December. If none of the three candidates hits the majority mark, the two individuals who receive the most votes will move on to the April 1 general election, she said.
Schweinberg has been a homeowner in Mustang since 2000, having moved here in 1999 from Yukon, where he raised his family. Schweinberg was recently appointed to his second term on Mustang Board of Adjustment and is managing partner with Metro Sign Corp., an Oklahoma City sign manufacturer.
Schweinberg and his wife of 38 years, Cindy, are charter members of Mustang Crime Stoppers, involved in the organization’s start-up, as well as creating bylaws, signage and other activities, he said. Schweinberg’s son, Troy Schweinberg, lives in Mustang with his family; daughter Carla Kudrna and her family live in Tuttle. Schweinberg has been active in youth organizations, including the Yukon Jays. He served on that board for more than 10 years, the last five of those as president, he said. He came out of coaching “retirement” to join Troy leading the T-ball team of two of his granddaughters, he said.
“Finding problems and solutions are different character traits, I am about finding solutions,” Schweinberg said.
Sholund works at the Federal Aviation Administration and studies aeronautics at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. He was raised in Mustang since 1992, graduating from Mustang High School in 2008. Sholund served in the U.S. Navy on an amphibious assault ship and was deployed in 2009-2010, he said. His father is pastor of Life Tabernacle UPC, and the Mustang man said he returned home to be near family and friends after his discharge.
“I have given back to my country, now I would like to give back to my town,” Sholund said
What are the three top priorities you would like to accomplish if elected (re-elected)?
- Schweinberg – To make sure the infrastructure is of such to sustain the present growth of the city, being selective on what we allow, so as not to take away from the appearance of the city.
- Sholund – My top three priorities for this city if elected would be to help with the general care and maintenance around the city, such as roads that are in desperate need of repair. Also, I would like to see some kind of expansion of roadways as well in the near future, like on 59th or why 152 for that matter around 5 o’clock for that matter is clogged and backed up with traffic. I would love to see more roads or wider lanes put in to help with that. And lastly I would like to see Mustang growing in a good and healthy positive way, with more families moving to Mustang, along with businesses and be able to keep that small town feel here.
Please expand a little more on your background and how it will help you in the upcoming council term.
- Schweinberg – Recently completed my first term on the Board of Adjustments, managing partner, and president of a successful business in Oklahoma City, Metro Sign Corp.
- Sholund – I was raised here in Mustang since 1992 and graduated from Mustang High School in 2008, I left shortly thereafter for the United States Navy, and served on an Amphibious Assault Ship and was deployed to the east in 2009-2010. Since I have been out of the military, I have moved back home near family and friends. My father pastors a church here, Life Tabernacle UPC. I have always loved Mustang and felt that this is my home where I have been raised. I believe my age is a liability to me in this campaign, in the fact that I don’t have a lot of background in this. But I have a lot of strengths to be offered as well. If the people of Ward 6 choose to elect me and stand behind me, I will give them and the city of Mustang 100 percent of me.
What do you believe is the most important quality for a city councilman?
- Schweinberg – To be transparent, a problem solver not a problem maker. Have a vision, strong communicator, willing to work the job, and to work closely with the city manager and staff. Being prepared to address all issues brought in front of the council at the time of the meeting, not after the vote has been casted, not after it has been voted on.
- Sholund - The most important quality for a councilman is in my opinion trust. The people who have elected you have put their trust in you to do the right thing, and if it is broken it is hard to regain. I want people to know, that they can trust me, to do what is right and to be truthful all the time.
Is being able to work together with city staff, fellow council members and others an important part of the job?
- Schweinberg – That’s actually the most important part of the job, along with being available to the constituents in not just the Ward, but the entire city.
- Sholund – To be able to work well with others is most definitely an important part of the job. Being able to communicate well with others and to learn both sides of a story is what it is all about, being able to compromise and make a fair call/judgment, that is what the very foundation of America is built on. Everyone having a voice, and learning where two sides can meet, for the benefit of all.
Are there things going on in the city you would like to see changed? If yes, please detail and advise how you would go about seeking those changes.
Both Schweinberg and Sholund expressed confidence in the city and its staff and did not see anything in particular that needed to be changed. Schweinberg went on to say he believed Rooney was an excellent choice for the city, based on several factors.
“I was not involved in the hiring of the city manager, I can say with strong convictions, the recent articles in the News, regarding the emails and letters to the staff and the city manager, I am confident that the hiring of Tim Rooney, was for the best of this city,” Schweinberg said. “He has shown this resident that he is the best man for the job, and has a staff that he can count on.
“A manager that does not stand in defense of his staff is not a manager in my eyes,” he said. “It is time to allow them all to do their jobs.”
Linda Hagan, who has served as Ward 5 councilwoman since 2005, did not draw an opponent. Hagan also served on Council from 1975 to 1979 and from 1996 until 2005.
Hagan said recently she was happy to serve another term for her ward and was excited to be a part of decisions that will impact those residents living there.
“This is a great city and I am lucky to have wonderful constituents in my ward,” Hagan said. “I’m grateful I’ve had this opportunity and look forward to continuing in this role.”