We asked new 5th Ward Alderman, Scott McAdams, some questions after his first City Council meeting to get his feelings about serving on the City Council and the work he has ahead of him.
How do you feel about being elected to your first term as City Alderman?
“I’m humbled by it, and I’m honored, of course. I really look forward to the work. I’ve always been interested in public affairs and public policy. Now, having the opportunity to shape it to reflect the will of the voters, it’s a great honor.”
What do you hope to see the City Council accomplish in your first six months?
“I don’t know if I have an agenda. When I was running for office, as I knocked on doors, people kept telling me that they felt like they weren’t being heard in the City Council. So my number one priority is to reflect the will of the 5th Ward voters.
“Some people have told me that public input is interesting, but ultimately it’s my decision. I’ve really taken more of the approach that it’s the voters in the ward, people who I don’t always agree with on politics or public policy [who are more important], and they told me what their priorities are.
“They’re very concerned about the budget and the spending. That was never really a huge issue for me. I’m not anti-tax and anti-public spending, but my ward is. And so I’m trying to reflect their values, or at least be the one who brings their voice to the table. I think that’s more important at this point. At some point, once I get more comfortable, I may have things I want to accomplish. At this point, it was just a matter of letting the voters feel like they’re heard.”
What do you feel you need to learn more about in order to better serve as an alderman?
“That’s funny you should ask that, because there’s a lot I need to learn. When I ran for this office, I felt like I knew a lot, but the more I delve into it, the more I realize there’s a lot going on at the city. There’s a lot of great people and a lot of competence there.
“I’m sitting back and listening more than speaking at this point, because I feel like there is a lot to learn. Even though my dad was an alderman in our hometown, and I sat around the kitchen table with him for years and listened to his conversations, DeKalb has its own unique sets of challenges and problems. I’m getting to know all the different aspects of all the different things that are an issue here.”
Is there any specific issue or area you’d like to dig into deeper to get a better understanding of?
“I know we have a parking restriction in Historic Ellwood. We’re going to have a few meetings before we have a public meeting at the end of the month about that, and I want to find out all the different aspects. The more I delve into that, the more I realize that’s a more complex issue than it was presented during the campaign.
“Some of the dryer issues, like water reclamation and things like that are things that I really need to get more brought up to speed. I’ve had people bring me things to read. I have a stack of reading in my room here that I have to go through and become better versed in these issues. But I’m looking forward to the work, and I’m glad the voters entrusted me with the opportunity.”
What are your thoughts on your first City Council meeting?
“I liked it. I’ve been coming to City Council meetings for a few years now. That was one of the more entertaining meetings, and a lot of information was presented, but a lot of good information. Maybe this sounds a little too cocky, but I feel confident that I’ve got a handle on the issues that we discussed on Monday. I feel good about the issues that I brought forward at the meeting. I look forward to more of the same as time goes on.”
How do you feel about everyone working together as a City Council to get things accomplished?
“That looks like it’s already working. There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of contention between the parties. Everybody seems to work together. Everybody seems respectful and serious about that work. I’m honored to be part of the City Council, because this is a good group of people.”
Any final thoughts you want to share?
“I’m just getting my feet wet, and trying to make sure that I’m staying on top of my reading. It turns out it’s a lot more work than I thought it was going to be, but I’m not unhappy about that. It’s just a matter of staying on top of all the different things. [It requires] a tremendous amount of reading. I didn’t know that was the issue when I took this on initially, but I like to read, so I should be fine.”