Council Candidate Mark Kuestner’s Public Record

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In August of 2020 while running for City Council, current Manzanita Council candidate Mark Kuestner advised me on a Facebook post to “Please withdraw from the Council race. Manzanita needs adults to govern.”
Mr. Kuestner’s plea stemmed from my concerns along with other citizens over the City Council’s conclusion that the City Manager and then Assistant City Manager were spending 50% of their time in supervisory and management activities of our Water utility and were thus entitled to take 50% of their respective salaries from the Water Operating Fund. Having been the Manzanita City Manager for 8 years, I was quite familiar with what the City Manager’s time commitments were in overseeing this service including the supervising of the Public Works Director and his staff. I suggested that a City Manager under the present organizational circumstances would be spending approximately 10 -12% of their time in this activity. This was and remains an important issue as every dollar that is taken from our Water Funds to pay City Hall staff salaries is one less dollar available to put into needed water construction projects.
At the May 2021 Budget Committee Hearing, interim City Manager John Kunkel when asked how much time in personnel management of water utility staff he and the Assistant City Manager perform, he responded that it was “a very small percentage.”When then asked how much time he estimated that he spent overall supervising water utility operations during the 8 months that he was employed by the City he stated “somewhere between 10 -15% of my time would be accurate”. Mr. Kuestner who claims that he has attended these Budget Committee meetings did not ask any questions to better understand the responsibilities of the City Manager regarding these activities. The fact that these conclusions so closely mirrored my observations from a year earlier apparently no longer held any interest for him.
While the above post can still be accessed, many of Mr. Kuestner’s past social media posts reacting to citizens who questioned how the Council during these past years was conducting our business seem to have disappeared. His campaign literature highlights his commitment to “respond with facts not feelings.” It would seem that in this instance, that commitment rings hollow.
I certainly would not advise Mr. Kuestner to withdraw from this race just because he has opinions that differ with mine. He does however have a record of public comments and connection to the support of the policies of this past Mayor and Council despite the facts that requires some explanations on his part.
Randy Kugler