By ANDREA POTEET
Sunday Times Newspapers
ALLEN PARK – When they head to the polls Nov. 8 residents will decide between a familiar face and a newcomer for the treasurer’s position.
Candidates Maureen Armstrong and Nancy Malinowski Teets discussed their qualifications and answered three student-written questions during a candidate forum hosted by Allen Park High School Oct. 13.
Armstrong served as the city’s deputy treasurer for 10 years until the position was cut five years ago. She said she would use her knowledge of tax laws and assessing to be a more “hands-on” treasurer.
Armstrong, who works in the accounting department of a steel company, said she would change many things about the treasurer’s office, including switching to an online pay system for water bills instead of only for taxes.
She also proposed keeping the treasurer’s office open during city council meetings for residents who cannot visit the office during normal business hours. As the building is already open during that time, it would cost the cash-strapped city no additional money, she said.
She said she would also bring back some of the functions that were removed from the treasurer’s office when her position was cut, such as printing the tax rolls. Making this a responsibility of the treasurer’s office would allow it to be sent to the county faster, which would cut the time it takes for the city to get tax money back, she said.
She said the key difference between the candidates is experience.
“The city is in a position now where we are short-staffed, where we are anticipating layoffs,” she said. “It would benefit the city to have someone with my experience and knowledge as treasurer.”
Teets is a first-time candidate who served on the city’s Public Safety Commission from 2003 to 2005 and currently works as a legal assistant for a Downriver law firm.
“I believe that accountability and respectability need to be restored to our city,” she said. “I believe the citizens of Allen Park are looking for a fresh start.”
If elected, she pledged to be an “open and honest public servant” and to review the duties of the treasury outlined in the charter, many of which she said have been taken away from the office.
She said she also plans to research credit card payments and payment plans for property taxes, ideas many residents have brought up to her.
City Clerk Michael Mizzi, who is running unopposed for re-election, also spoke at the forum.