Chris Keleher Sr. was born and raised in Guelph and currently resides in Ward 2 where he lives with his wife of 34 years; together they have five children and eight grandchildren. He's currently employed with a local liquid waste removal and disposal company. Keleher says that he decided to run for council noting the increasing dysfunction of the organization leading the city, a trend he started noticing back when he worked for the City of Guelph in the 90s. "I strongly feel we need common sense governance and we need to work together from council to the front line staff to provide the best possible city services to the taxpayers/residents, business owners and developers as efficiently and cost effective as possible," Keleher says. "By getting involved I hope to make a difference, it’s always gratifying to be part of the solution then to be part of the problem!" Will Ward 2 voters agree? Here's Chris Keleher Sr.'s candidate questionnaire.
1) Why did you decide to run for city council?
My decision to run for city council came rather easy as a former City of Guelph employee (1990 to 1999) and a lifetime resident of Guelph I have grown increasingly concerned with how the city is being governed.
I strongly feel we need common sense governance and we need to work together from council to the front line staff to provide the best possible city services to the taxpayers/residents, business owners, developers and industry as efficiently and cost effective as possible.
By getting involved I hope to make a “positive difference” serving on city council. It’s always gratifying to be part of the solution then to be part of the problem!
2) What makes your ward unique to Guelph?
Ward 2 residents, we are a very diverse group from young families to what I believe to be the largest number of retired residents in Guelph, this creates unique amenity and service requirements in our community.
3) Using a letter grade, how would you rank the performance of the current city council? Explain.
I would give the current council a grade of C, the AA+ credit rating is good, however the lack of transparency and accountability has hurt the overall public perception of certain members of council.
4) Some people say that Guelph is over-taxed, others believe that our taxes are inline with a community our size; where do you stand on taxation in Guelph?
Taxes are always a contentious issue, some say for the services we receive we are taxed fairly where others will disagree. I feel we can do better at keeping tax increases “if needed“ to a minimum by thinking out of the box on how to deliver our core city services. I suggest involving all front line staff in coming up with ideas on how to provide services in a more cost efficient manner as I have been campaigning door to door I will come across current and retired City of Guelph employees I have heard some very interesting and doable suggestions from them that could easily be implemented therefore resulting in cost savings and sometimes even an increase in the level of service.
5) Do you believe that Guelph has a spending problem? If yes, then please cite specific examples of areas and/or programs that you would cut to save money?
Yes, and I believe it is a case of wants versus needs we need to prioritize our capital projects, the one that comes to mind immediately is the expansion of our police headquarters building. I am not sure if it was considered in the business case put forward but I would like to see the vacant federal building adjacent to the current police station on Wyndham Street be considered as an option to purchase and to update and then move administration into that building and keep the current building for operations.
6) What’s the biggest priority for Guelph in terms of services needed? This could be something that’s provided by the government, ie: a library or rec centre, or it could be a commercial need, ie: a new grocery store in the east end.
I would like to see the south end rec centre move forward sooner rather than later with a possible public private sponsorship/partnership, we also need more amenities in the east end of Guelph.
7) How would you propose to mend relations between the city and transit workers, and to improve the services of Guelph Transit?
I would suggest having meetings with all members of the transit workers and allowing them to speak freely without fear of reprisals to hear their concerns and then act accordingly we can’t fix it if we don’t know what is broken! And to improve service we need to involve drivers and all front line staff in finding solutions to increase the level of service that is currently provided.
8) What will you do to insure the best possible communication between yourself and your constituents if you’re elected to council?
BE AVAILABLE, Constitutes will be able to contact me via e-mail through the city and at home,and a direct line yes a direct line to call me if needed I would also make myself available to attend neighbourhood group meetings and functions in the community and when necessary host and or attend town hall meetings.
9) Guelph is implementing online voting for the first time with this election, are you in favour of this development or against it? Explain.
Yes I am in favour of internet voting as I believe this will enhance voter turnout, it will be very simple and convenient to use.
10) What issue, aside from any previously mentioned in this questionnaire, do you think should be a priority and why?
Downtown Redevelopment as this has been an issue for sometime however I would not support a general city wide tax levy to fund it.
11) How can local government be a force for good in the lives of the people of Guelph?
We need to be more engaged with our residents. I would like to see not only the mayor but the councillors as well be more involved with activities in our communities and in doing so we would be better connected and then better able to represent our residents.
12) Where can voters get more information about you and your campaign?