With Ft. Mitchell Mayor Chris Wiest opting not to run for another term, a new leader will emerge for the city of more than 8,000 residents.
That leader will either come in the form of a current city councilman or a former one.
"I'm proud to be part a council that raised the bar across the board within our personnel ordinances, establishing clear qualifications for each department head, ending past 'good old boy' abuses in hiring, which ultimately resulted in a better, and more professionally run city," said Jim Hummeldorf, a first-term councilman seeking the mayor's seat, in a statement. "All contractual and professional services were bid out, ensuring competition and the best value for our taxpayers.For more than two decades, I have lived and been involved in this community on a broad scale, which includes involvement and commitment to enriching programs in Blessed Sacrament and Beechwood schools."
Hummeldorf started work at the city building as a member of the code enforcement board four years ago. He credits that board for shutting down the USA Hotel which was later razed to make way for the new Mercedes-Benz dealership. He also worked as a member of the current city council on a redevelopment plan for the former Drawbridge Inn site.
"While working to secure these significant developments for the city, I remained focused and committed to ensuring the highest level of services as our Police Department shifted to community based policing, our Fire Department implemented Advanced Life Support, and we continued an aggressive road replacement, maintained outstanding service in Public Work, and continued our successful recreation program."
Hummeldorf faces a challenge from former city councilman Jude Hehman, who served ten years on the city council after first being elected at age 21. Hehman announced his candidacy in June along with the endorsement of former Mayor Bill Goetz.
Hehman kicked off his campaign this week at the Ft. Mitchell Country Club. “The Hehman name stands for character and integrity and I guard it sacredly," Hehman told his supporters, according to a news release. "I hope to build bridges between council, city employees and most importantly our citizens. We will be strongest when we work together with open lines of communication and have an open door administration.”
Hummeldorf earned a Master's in Business Administration from the University of Cincinnati and works in business. He said that he spearheaded the location of Groupon's warehouse, bringing hundreds of jobs to the area. "I understand what employers look for and I am committed to ensuring that Ft. Mitchell attracts and retains new businesses," he said.
"As a member of city council I was involved in the comprehensive plan update which demands accountability from developers so as to avoid burdening the adjoining infrastructure as we bring about growth, development, and jobs for our community and region. I have a proven track record of advocating for our residents on a range of issues and am fundamentally a problem solver," Hummeldorf said. He said the city has managed its funds frugally, coming in under budget each year, and that government was conducted in a transparent manner.
"I am running for Mayor because I want to ensure that the momentum for success continues throughout Ft. Mitchell," Hummeldorf said. "Over the past years I’ve had the privilege to work for, and see the realization of, outstanding economic development. We have improved government services through fiscal responsibility. I will continue to hold the line on taxes and provide exemplary public services through community outreach and a "citizen-first" approach. It is critical that on the heels of significant growth and success that this city does not return to the inertia of past "leadership” which culminated in economic decline, burdensome tax increases, and ineffective government. I will conduct business with transparency and a commitment to my community."
Hehman is a graduate of Blessed Sacrament and Beechwood High School in Ft. Mitchell, as well as Thomas More College and Northern Kentucky University. He and business partner Pete Nicolaou founded Furlong Building Enterprises in 2010, at the height of the construction and real estate industry recession, and today it is a $6 million company with 11 employees, according to a news release. Last fall, Hehman was named to the Business Courier’s list of young leaders, Forty Under 40 Award.
Photo: Humeldorf (left) and Hehman/provided