By ZEINAB NAJM
DEARBORN — Dearborn voters will have five options for city clerk to vote for on the Aug. 8 primary ballot and narrow the field to two for the Nov. 7 general election.
Entrepreneur Ameer Abusalah, Global Financial Group Vice President Adam Alee, former state Rep. George Darany (D-15th District), real estate agent Nofila Haidar and NAIAS Security employee John Schimizzi are seeking the open seat.
Candidates were contacted and asked to answer questions about why they are interested in the city clerk position. Abusalah did not respond by deadline.
Question 1: Why are you running for Dearborn city clerk?
Alee: Because I know myself as a person of transparency, honesty, trustworthiness and accountability, in addition to my extraordinary education, knowledge, expertise, and being multilingual, which qualify me to be the ideal city clerk that provide a phenomenal services to a city where my darling family and I live.
Darany: I am running because I have gained knowledge through my work as a Dearborn councilman and State Representative to help improve the city clerk office. As a legislator for the State of Michigan, I introduced numerous bills to make it easier for residents to vote, including early voting, no-reason absentee voting, less restrictive voting for college students and more efficient and quicker voting for military personnel. Over the past six months I have been working with many city and county clerks to learn best practices to bring to Dearborn. I will also contact my former colleagues in the House and the Senate to encourage them to continue to write legislation that make it easier for residents to vote.
Haidar: There is a need in Dearborn for a city clerk that has the experience, education and skills to provide professional services to all Dearborn residents. I will provide dependable, transparent, and accessible service while maintaining a high level of professionalism and accountability to all Dearborn residents. Dearborn is asking for the next clerk to bring changes into this office. In this election you have two choices: Let keep doing what we have been doing or let’s get the job done.
Schimizzi: I have lived in Dearborn my entire life and I am proud to call Dearborn home. When someone sees something wrong in their home, a leader must come forward and get their home back in order. I am that leader that Dearborn needs as their next city clerk. The residents must realize that our next city clerk must be able to not only take care of the day to day operations in the office, but also be transparent within the community. I plan on taking what I have learned in earning my Bachelor’s Degree in Management, Master’s Degree in Strategic Management, and my 19 years at United Airlines as an operational supervisor in making the city clerk position a more customer service oriented department. I will be bringing a strong work ethic, honesty, integrity, and consistency to the city clerk position.
Question 2: What do you see as the three biggest issues you will address if elected?
Alee: I want to extend Fridays office hours of city clerk, establish a monitored online service to save people time and easy life, especial seniors and handicaps, establish a shuttle bus service for seniors and handicaps to/from city and election’s precincts, hire bilingual employees to serve non English speakers, and prevent fraud.
Darany: The number one priority of the office is to ensure that all elections are fair, accurate and allow for equal and easy participation of all registered voters. As city clerk, I would develop new training programs for city election workers, concentrating on ways to spot voter fraud. Also training to stop individuals from influencing voters inside the precincts. New voting machines, will be introduced this year. It’s imperative that elections workers are knowledgeable about the changes and can concisely explain them to voters. For better accessibility to residents, I would keep the clerks office open late one night a week. As city clerk, my goal will be to get more residents interested in voting. I’ll do that by visiting our k-12 schools, colleges and universities to emphasize the importance of voting.
Haidar: Most residents do not know what a city clerk does until they need the services provided by the office. Currently, the initial call to the city clerk’s office is not answered by a human which can become frustrating. I have elaborated on the importance of timely communication and I want to be the clerk who implements the standard for excellent communication and customer service whether it is on election day or while providing the many services the department is responsible for. We need to bring up to date technology to better serve our constituents. As Dearborn’s next city clerk, voter education will be one of my priorities. I will be a leader against voter suppression and intimidation.
Schimizzi: Technology, Technology changes every day and we must be aware of new and future software programs that will help Dearborn. I will continuously work with our technology team to make sure we are providing the appropriate services needed for our residents. Elections, I want to make sure every resident knows that when they cast their vote, that vote will be counted. We have seen both on a national and local level questionable tactics when it comes to the actual count of votes candidates receive. I will make sure that every vote is counted. Getting younger people more involved, throughout my campaign, I have talked to many of our younger voters. Many of them have come up with some great ideas that could help improve our community, but they do not know how to get their ideas to our local leaders. I plan on visiting our high school’s and local colleges and help our younger voters become more aware of how our government works.
Question 3: Why should residents vote for you?
Alee: Because I am multi-lingual, extraordinary highly educated in public policy, international economics and law, I have an extensive municipal management, public services and want to make Dearborn peaceful, prosperous and strong.
Darany: Residents should vote for me because I will restore transparency and integrity back to the office, with an emphasis on customer service. I have an extensive background as a public servant, and as a community leader and activist for over 25 years. Including: Member of the State House; Dearborn councilman; Dearborn Goodfellows, President; Dearborn Rotary, Rotarian of the Year; Usher Sacred Heart Church; Dearborn Chamber of Commerce, Vice-Pres. Executive Board 1999-2005, Impact Award winner 2017. I have a reputation for getting things done and I will bring order back to the clerks office.
Haidar: My experience as a businesswoman for the past decade has prepared me to manage, and lead effectively. I have the ability to delegate and organize large projects and meet deadlines. Excellent customer service is very important to me in every capacity that I have served. I have earned a Bachelors in Communications, Urban and Regional Studies and Criminal Justice and a Masters in Public Administration from the University of Michigan. Problem-solving, decision-making, planning, communication, and time management are some of my strongest skills. I hope my commitment to serve the residents of Dearborn, along with my up-to-date technology training, service experience, and community involvement will earn your vote on August 8.
Schimizzi: I am not a politician, but I am a people person. I will always look out for the residents of Dearborn and do what is right. I plan on bringing my rich family tradition in public service to the city clerk position. I am not looking to use the city clerk position as a stepping stone to another office. I plan on staying in the position as long as the residents of Dearborn will allow me to. I am a leader who will bring new ideas and techniques that the residents of Dearborn will be proud of. I plan on working with the City Council and Mayor on any issues or challenges that they may face. The city clerk position has been under utilized for year and I promise you that when elected, I will be someone the city of Dearborn will be proud to call their city clerk.
(Zeinab Najm can be reached at [email protected].)