Q & A With Saline City Council Candidate Brian Cassie
It is not just incumbents running for reelection on the Saline City Council this year. Brian Cassise is the only candidate challenging the incumbents for a seat on the Council. This is the mechanical engineer’s third formal attempt to get to the Council. The following interview was conducted by phone and has been edited for length and clarity.
The Sun Times
News – Why do you want to be on the City Council?
Brian Cassise – When I was moving into Saline, there was a quarterly water bill that comes in. When I received my first water bill, I read through it and on it there was a chance to run for city government. And I thought ‘I’m new here. Here’s a chance to get involved with the city’ to pay it forward with some civic duty. I was also curious about the process.
So, I went to the city office and they told me ‘you’re not eligible to run because you haven’t been living in the city long enough. You’ll have to run next year.’ I missed the residency requirement by like five days, eight days.
I thought: ‘I’ve shown the intent.’ I’ll continue to run and ideally get on City Council.
This will be my fourth time with the intention to run, the third time on the ballot.
TSTN – What would you like to do if and when you get elected?
Cassise – The reason for wanting to run is that I see some of the decisions the city has made, and I haven’t always agreed with them with regards to some of the construction ideas they’ve gone through. We’ve got multiple car washes. We’ve got developments that don’t really align with supporting traditional family values. Some of the ideas that they have approved don’t really fit what I think is best for Saline. They also have issues with the wastewater treatment facility with the smell and overall performance.
Being a skilled problem solver, I can ask better and more direct questions, and find out what the root cause of the issues is and break down complex problems into something simpler and more manageable. As part of the city government, we can work through those issues so that all of the residents have a better experience.
TSTN – This is your third attempt to run for City Council. How has that experienced changed your ideology or your approach?
Cassise – The reasons haven’t changed. My approach [is] I put more effort in my campaigns.
The first time: I was like ‘I’m on the ballot, how hard can this be? Four people are running for three positions. Alphabetically my name is superior. It shouldn’t be too much of an issue.’ That election was only for city council, so there wasn’t much pulling people in to vote. … So, I came up short.
The second go-round was last year, so there was a heated presidential debacle. There was a lot more people going to the polls to vote, but there were also more candidates. I invested more money in signs, had more activities so I had my name up there. But I didn’t get some of the endorsement and the fund raising, so I came up short compared to theirs.
This year, I’ve upped my game a little bit. But we’ll see.
TSTN – If you are elected, what would your five biggest goals, ideas, or goals to tackle be?
- Dealing with systematic issues: Brown water in the freshwater pipes.
- The smell at the wastewater treatment plant.
- Making sure that decisions made are best for the city. What I mean by that is: do they support cultural diversity, or good opportunities for raising a family in Saline? What does that entail? What can we do that will support bringing new business, or things that will enhance the lives of others in the city?
- Work on having more efficiently run meetings. It seems like often times when I go to the city council meetings, they drag on forever. Often times it seems like the City Council folks aren’t always the most prepared. It doesn’t seem like they’ve read the information packages that have been communicated in advance. [I’d like to] increase the efficiency of issues and streamline [time]. There’s no reason to have a three hour City Council meeting that turns into four plus hours. That is often quite brutal.
- The Saline Budget: [I would like to] make decisions that support the city in spending. That we’re not doing anything that is going to demand an increase in city taxes. I’m very fiscally conservative. It’s from my own personal money saving habits. I want to ensure those values are shared with folks on Council.
TSTN – What makes all of this worth it to you?
Cassise – While others have put a lot of emphasis on raising or spending a lot of money on their positions, my focus has been on spending time and giving back to the community. I have the ability to [serve] and I want to. But there’s really no monetary incentive to do it. … I’m just doing it because I think that it’s the right thing to do.
Photo provided by Brian Cassise.