Sebesky: ‘We must start with a strategic plan that involves everyone’

The following is a Potomac Local article from October 21

Pamela J. Sebesky is one of three Democrats vying for three open seats on the Manassas City Council. After serving two terms on the city School Board, Sebesky seeks a seat on the city’s governing body.
We sent a questionnaire to Sebesky and all other candidates seeking a seat on the Manassas City Council. Her responses are below:

PL: What are the top three major issues facing Manassas residents?

Sebesky: Economic development, public safety, and high-performing schools.

PL: What concrete solutions do you propose to address these issues?

Sebesky: All of these needs are interconnected. In order to work one of them is to work on all of them. We must start with a strategic plan that involves a broad cross-section of everyone in the community. You must have citizens that represent all areas of our city, along with representation from all levels of our business community, as well as the city staff. When you have that kind of input you will then develop the needed plan that will allow for success in all these areas.

PL: From your perspective, what is the job description of the office you’re seeking?

Sebesky: A Council Member must listen to all constituents and do thorough research when making all decisions, as the decision will affect everyone in the community. You must be able to be fiscally responsible with tax payer dollars and demand transparency in how funds will be spent. You must comprehend and put into action a comprehensive strategic plan that will address citizen needs, help sustain and expand local businesses and set a course for the entire city. A Council Member alone does not decide anything, its takes someone who can and will work collaboratively in good transparent decision making. We all have to get back to the basics – of the people, by the people and for the people.

PL: What expertise will you bring to the office?

Sebesky: I will bring to the office a wide variety of experience from a number of areas, as I have previously already outlined. Having been elected to the Manassas City School Board twice, I have a comprehensive understanding of the needs of the schools and the children that attend them. This has provided me the opportunity to work with and volunteer with many different organizations and businesses across the whole region. I understand our economic challenges and have a record of working hard and collaboratively to improve long-term outcomes.

PL: Do you feel that the average citizen is well informed and understands the workings of city government? If not, how do you intend on improving communication with your constituency? 

Sebesky: Most citizens are not likely to be well informed or have the extensive knowledge needed of the workings of local government. In order to understand the complex process you must have the time to be involved at many levels. The best way to improve communication is with relationship building, in order to build trust. The city already has many ways it communicates with its citizens, but if there is not trust people will not believe what they read or take time to participate in the community or government operations. In the community I am known for taking the time to listen and for caring about the whole community. I take the needed time not just to return calls or emails, but to do the hard work to get needed change to come about through policy and procedure development.

PL: Have you ever made any mistakes in your public life? How have they affected you?

Sebesky: Everyone makes mistakes, as no one is perfect. The hardest part of being on the school board is when you have to decide whether to expel a child from the school system. You know that will be a life-altering decision for that young person. Some parents are able to afford to put their student into a private school or home school their child, where others may be left on their own. This has made me work even harder to make sure that all children are truly being given the opportunity to be as successful as they can so they can be productive members of our community.

PL: Our readers want leaders in local government. Why should they vote for you?

Sebesky: I am a person of high integrity and someone who is known to work hard to make sure that things get done with all citizens, communities, and businesses in mind. I ask questions, do my research, collaborate, and demand transparency. I do not allow my personal views to influence my decision making, as you must be able to separate your personal bias from what is best for the city.