Editor’s Note: Each week in the month of July, Crossett’s mayoral candidates will each answer a question about an issue that has been posed by one of the other candidates. By participating in the print forum, the candidates get a chance to discuss issues that they think should be a priority while giving the public a chance to understand how they will approach leading the city. The answers are presented as written by the candidates. Candidate Dale Martinie submitted this week’s question.
How will your background and experience provide our city with the leadership qualities needed to motivate and hold accountable the various departments? Additionally, what background and current family/professional support do you have to help you accomplish these tasks?
Crossett needs a mayor who has a wide variety of knowledge and skills to help our city grow and run efficiently. With a diverse skillset that ranges from business management to safety and training, I believe my background and work experience will allow me to be effective and efficient. I will motivate our city employees while demanding accountability because I do have a good understanding of many of the processes and I will work side by side with them to ensure they have the adequate tools and resources needed.
Growing up in a family business, my parents taught me the value of hard work and perseverance. I was expected to set an example for employees. Placed in a management role early on, supervising jobs and managing resources. I was taught to look ahead for potential problems and to look for ways to increase efficiencies. Working within budgetary restraints and overcoming obstacles helped grow our business. Cosby’s Greenhouse is the first job for many high school students, and I train employees in the safe operation of equipment and proper use of protective gear. Many past employees are successful professionals and want to move Crossett forward with me.
Whether landscaping or operating equipment, I take pride in my work. I’ve always approached new opportunities with an eagerness to succeed. Operating heavy equipment requires a different skillset than whitewater rafting. As a guide on the Arkansas River, people depended on me for safe passage and their lives were at stake. I knew to look as far ahead as possible to read the water, to scout dangerous sections, to plan a route to safely navigate the obstacles, and to act swiftly to prevent injury or loss of life. Pre-trip, I instructed the group in swift water safety to be prepared in case we flipped, or someone was thrown in the water. It shaped my character and to this day has helped me navigate unknown waters and allowed me a confidence to succeed.
As a Safety Team member for Georgia Pacific with Fire, Rescue, Hazardous Materials, and Medical teams, I’ve had hundreds of hours of extensive training, incident command training and mass casualty training while serving the mill. I trained employees yearly for the Safety Fair as well as new employee orientation. I reviewed policy and procedures to maintain OSHA Compliance. I understand the need for training and to be better prepared for emergencies. I want to enhance our training for Crossett’s emergency services to better prepare for an emergency and will incorporate world class trainers like Troy Burleson. An international gold medalist, former captain of the U.S. Tae Kwon Do team, Martial Arts Hall of Fame member, and elite trainer he wants to help our community and to develop youth programs. I have a team of professionals who will consult and advise me to help generate opportunities for Crossett. My friends and family are supportive and willing to serve as advisors and committee members. Grant writers and business professionals are excited to offer help.
Having worked federal disasters, I’ve gained a knowledge of the logistics and needs associated with a large-scale response. I’ve helped municipalities acquire equipment working with Titan Machinery and CASE Construction equipment as a top sales representative. Trained in finance and leasing I understand the pros and cons of each. Crossett needs a new garbage truck and additional equipment. I’d like to use my knowledge and skills to help Crossett progress accordingly. My experiences will benefit Crossett. I will be proactive not reactive, transparent, and available to discuss citizen concerns and suggestions. I look forward to serving you as mayor of Crossett.
My background is all Crossett. It isn’t only my professional background that has grown in me the gift of motivating people.
My Crossett upbringing taught me to connect with people, to be their neighbor, to grow community with them and to do all that through humility, honesty and a willingness to do the work it takes to meet whatever task is before you. The third generation of Crossett citizens in my family, I had this attitude instilled in me throughout my youth.
This is what prepared me for my professional experiences in which I naturally rose to leadership roles. In Basic Training for the U. S. Army I was quickly appointed platoon leader. In my 11 year media career I quickly made it to newsroom assignments editor. In my decades in the tourism and hospitality industry I served as both team leader and manager.
Not positions I chose but ones that chose me. You hear the phrase “born leader”. I am one of those. Many characteristics form a good leader, but to answer this week’s question I will focus on empowerment.
I have displayed my ability to empower people while serving as Crossett’s Parks and Recreation assistant director. I was able to rally together volunteers to work several events. More than a few of these volunteers communicated to me that they enjoy working with me and would make themselves available for other events under my direction. They wanted to join my effort of doing whatever it takes to uplift Crossett because I made them feel a part of something and proud to live in Crossett.
Accountability is necessary to keep any organization on track for effectiveness. Human nature is to get comfortable in a role, relax and start to soften around the edges. Oftentimes when an employee slacks off it is because they feel like their performance isn’t important to the bigger picture. A system of accountability keeps us all in check. I operate more on the honor system as opposed to a corporate-think paper trail system.
People I serve tend to perform to their highest potential because of the overall shared attitude that we are in this together. I believe in positive reinforcement and constructive criticism. I also value constant communication with the freedom to express ideas and not have them picked apart until deemed impossible. With me the sky’s the limit and failures are proof we are trying.
My family and support base are all Crossett natives who have an interest in keeping their home here. When the mill slashed its work force, my husband, Jeff Stagg, was one of those asked to leave. When he came home with the news, the first decision we made was that we wouldn’t leave Crossett. Disappointed by the options open to him here after 27 years worth of experience in mill work, Jeff’s main interest in this new mayor is that he or she bring more jobs here. Jobs that would keep future workers like himself from having to commute to other towns to make a living.
My parents, John and Charlotte Hollimon, reared their family here. Their interest in the new mayor is that he or she keep Crossett’s wholesome and largely unique nature in tact, and cultivate it so future families can flourish in it.
My support network believes I have the character and tenacity it takes to take on Crossett’s need for growth. They believe in me as being the balance of intelligence and authenticity this hometown needs to move forward.
A good leader cultivates and motivates great talent toward a common goal.
During these months as mayor, our team has implemented several big improvements.
Even during these unprecedented times, we hit the ground running, improving efficiencies and carrying out changes. Many dormant projects have been brought back to life, from the 6th Avenue Clemmi Wimberly Field revitalization to repairs on municipal parking lots.
We’ve been actively working on the zoo property cleanup, painting traffic light poles, changing worn-out signs and over all working to spruce up our town. The results are tangible and noticeable changes, and our team has great momentum and synergy with no signs of slowing down.
The foundation for my leadership with this team began long ago. One thing I knew immediately as a newly sworn-in council member was that I needed to learn about the intricacies of municipal law and government and how they differ from the private sector. My first month in office I attended the Arkansas Municipal League Conference and began my education on municipal affairs. During the first conference, I began the classes offered by the AML and received my certified municipal office certification my first year in office. I have recertified every year. My training is extensive and is vital to the role of a municipal official to ensure the City of Crossett is protected.
I’ve demonstrated my leadership abilities by advocating for and listening to the employees, and taking the time to understand their roles which contribute to the success of Crossett. I made time to learn their departmental tasks and what goes into doing each of their jobs. I asked questions eagerly seeking to learn how to better serve the employee team and the city. I recognized that the employees wanted to be heard, but I also knew that I was not the expert in all of these areas. The department heads walked me through their day-to -day business. I actually spent a work day with each of them, which gave me the opportunity to see our employees at work. Each proudly showed me the accomplishments of their respective departments and we discussed the challenges of the job as well.
I believe there is nothing that motivates more than accountability. A team and each of its members function at our optimum when we are held to consistent standards. Committed to this belief, in 2018, with input from the department heads, we implemented a program so all employees would have a written job description and regular performance evaluations. This was the start of a foundation for a trust based relationship. It’s a reflection of my belief that together we must work to prompt and inspire each other and the entire team to serve the citizens of Crossett.
Prior to my role in Crossett, I honed my leadership skills in the corporate world at Walmart. After putting myself through college and earning a degree in Computer Information Science, I spent 10 years in Walmart’s Information Systems Department. There I led several teams of nearly 100 people and worked on several multi-million dollar international projects. I have extensive experience in project management, people management, budgeting, system design and problem solving. The skills I learned in this role have certainly been exercised well during my service as mayor.
I have always looked up to and admired servant leaders who influence others to be their best. While working at Walmart, I saw Sam Walton’s practice of this leadership style firsthand. He achieved the maximum team synergy through putting together great teams and inspiring them to achieve unprecedented results.
The times in which we find ourselves, calls for leaders who will bring people together, give them drive to strive for excellence, and hold themselves and their teams accountable.
Servant leadership is what we need today, and it is the leadership style I strive to emulate.
Author Ken Blanchard explained servant leadership well when he said it is “...all about making the goals clear, then rolling up your sleeves and doing whatever it takes to help people win”.
My husband runs a small business and shares my professional, technical and leadership background with corporate Walmart. Together we are united in focus. Our conviction that Crossett can reach untapped potential under my leadership was one of the reasons I wanted to run for mayor.
Vote for me Aug. 11 and together we can continue moving Crossett toward the future of great promise that is within our grasp!
In our week five question, I have asked “How will your background and experience provide the leadership qualities needed to motivate and hold department heads accountable? Also, what background or family/professional support do you have that will help accomplish these tasks? Lastly, (the News Observer’s editor) has asked “what event has helped demonstrate that leadership?”
Most of my career has been in a leadership role.
Those roles were either as a supervisor at the age of 21 and then expanded roles as a department head, assistant superintendent, superintendent and complex manager. Leadership is the tool needed in these very important positions and sometimes difficult positions.
I have served as a leader for about 40 years of my working career and worked almost every ounce of it with one company. I have dedicated myself, time and effort with this one company. This company saw the way for my promotions and moves. I never asked for a job except when I started my career. The other moves have been promotions due to my work ethic and professionalism. I have surely made mistakes and rubbed people wrong at times.
The ability to learn is probably the most important quality a leader can exhibit. I have learned from these experiences but also know that in a position of leadership, we can’t always make everyone happy, though I’ve done my best and tried. I have not been one to jump around from job to job nor do I have a resume that lists a variety of attempted accomplishments. I have worked with a Fortune 500 company my entire life and grew with it. I have been blessed beyond what I deserve and have taken good care of my family. I have seen the outstanding, prosperous times when everything went right and I have also seen the tough times when no decision could accomplish success. These life lessons and experiences don’t come out of a brochure or from Google.
I have worked with my hard-hat on, side by side with our citizens of this community. Leadership is best utilized when knowing how to handle a certain situation. Sometimes a person with a problem does not necessarily need advice as much as they simply need someone to listen. Knowing the difference is what makes a great leader.
The city employs approximately 100 people. The experience I gained as a facility manager had over 700 people. Needless to say, the city is much less complex than a mill though just as important. My daily tasks dealt with the safety aspects of these employees, personnel issues, maintenance items, mill productivity and accountability and then followed up with our budgetary expectations. Holding people accountable is a necessary part of what we do every day. As your mayor, all of these experiences will also be used to help guide our city’s path to prosperity and growth.
Though there are some differences in managing a mill as compared to a city, both are businesses that should be run accordingly. My expertise is in this field and my passion is in the city. Collectively, these two resources should prove to be a win-win for Crossett. I am not the person seeking glory nor will it ever be about me. I will challenge our department heads and employees to make improvements and come up with ways to make us better. If an employee comes up with a way to improve or be more efficient, we should incentivize this person and give them the recognition.
The second part of the question references support. This is where Team Martinie will provide the most family support, by far, of any of the other candidates. Those of you that attended the rodeo parade might have witnessed a portion of my support group in the Crossett Rodeo parade. I am very fortunate to have a supportive family including my wife, Dianna. I know I have mentioned her before but it is because she is and has been, for a long time, very involved with civic duties as I have outlined in a previous article. The mayor’s position is not an 8 to 5 job and will take all of the support and help he or she can acquire. Family and friend support is crucial for the success of the mayoral position. As mayor I would have advisors and friends like Mayor Sheldon Day of Thomasville, Alabama, Mayor Dane Weindorf of Hamburg and even former Mayor Frank Hash of El Dorado. The Municipal League’s advisors are always just a call away as well and would be utilized as needed.
The third part of this question is actually from (the News Observer’s editor) and it pertains to how I have demonstrated that show of leadership. To start with, as a member of the city council, I have worked through adversity with some of the city leadership by requesting change. Asking that we have a plan, strategy and priority list for removal of dilapidated properties. Having something in place would give us a sense of accountability and would identify our progress. Though this was not received well, a fantastic job was done to meet the request. Additionally, I made a huge push to get our municipal parking lots repaired and usable for Dr. Thompson and Country Vittles. It is not asking too much to have the city maintain its own property.
As your mayor, I will utilize my leadership skills to promote Crossett and grow our community!
It’s not about me, it’s about us!
Dwight D. Eisenhower once said, “Leadership is the art of getting someone to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” While the question this week deals with leadership, management skills also have to be considered, because very few leaders are good managers, and very few managers are good leaders. These two positions require very different skill sets, but they are both required to be a good Mayor.
Management is defined as “the processes of dealing with or controlling things or people.” Their job includes planning, organizing, assessing and coordinating projects and people. The main problem with a manager is when what I call the “power syndrome” kicks into play. Many managers like giving orders and telling their subordinates what to do. You may have worked for someone who acted this way. Cross them and you then fear for your job. If you want to know how effective a person is at managing, ask the people they managed.
Leaders on the other hand need to be skilled in motivating, encouraging and inspiring the people they work with. They can communicate, delegate, live up to their commitments, are flexible, take responsibility and are trustworthy. People respond to leaders much more quickly than a manager, unless the manager has learned the art of leadership. Managers have subordinates, but leaders have followers.
During my life I’ve been both, but I look at myself as a leader rather than a manager. When I was a head football coach, I managed my assistant coaches, but I had to lead the team. As a sales manager for Prudential, I had to manage my sales staff when necessary, but mostly I led them to greater sales by setting an example for them to follow. Serving as pastor, I managed and led the staff of the church, but I had to lead the members.
Being the mayor of Crossett is to me much like pastoring a Church. I must manage and lead the employees of the city, but I will have to the lead the residents of the town. A true leader inspires, motivates and encourages people they have no control over. The mayor has no control over the residents of Crossett any more than a pastor has control over the members of a church. The members and residents must be led.
My experience here in Crossett from December 1989 through September 2000 helps to prove my ability to lead. The attendance of our Church grew from 409 to 524 in average attendance within the first four years of becoming pastor. A church cannot grow without the people responding to the commitment of the pastor, and we grew.
The one thing I’ve learned throughout the years is that in order to successfully lead, one has to be fully committed to the people they serve. As I have met with various people who work for the city, I only have one question, “What can I do as mayor to help you in your job?” I see myself as a motivator and encourager regardless of the situation. This does not mean I cannot hold department heads accountable for their work, but I will do it through mutual respect, communication and trust.
The Bible says in Romans 13:4 that the person of authority (like a mayor) is to be the servant of the people. The word translated as servant is also translated as “deacon.” Now I know that in some churches deacons have authority and power, but that is not the intention of the word. It literally means a “waiter of tables.” I’ve never been in a restaurant where a waiter or server told me what to order. I see the position of mayor as a position of service, not power or prestige. As mayor I will demonstrate servanthood as I listen to the needs of the people.
My goal is to lead, inspire, motivate and encourage both the employees and citizens of Crossett to be the best we can be. I hope and pray you will give me that chance on Aug. 11.