Gahanna mayoral candidate Beryl Anderson, 56, said residents should vote for her because she considers herself to be the most qualified candidate in education and experience.

Gahanna mayoral candidate Beryl Anderson, 56, said residents should vote for her because she considers herself to be the most qualified candidate in education and experience.

The consultant/educator has a law degree with a business focus from the University of Virginia and an undergraduate degree with emphasis in government and economics from an Ivy League sister school, Wellesley College.

"My work experience has been in the public and private sector," Anderson said. "I am the only candidate who has worked at the local, regional, state and national level, which helps me bring a different perspective to Gahanna. I am also the only candidate with advanced emergency-management training."

When working as Ohio Deputy Secretary of State's Office, Anderson said, she was part of a leadership team that managed a multimillion-dollar budget with more than 200 employees and with oversight of more than 1,000 with boards throughout Ohio.

"As a three-term city councilwoman and having worked in community civic and service projects, I am invested in serving our city," she said. "This leadership has prepared me to be your next mayor of Gahanna. I am running for mayor because we need strong new leadership for a new time."

Anderson said she supports the form of government where the mayor is elected by the voters and has administrative authority to hire departments heads and prepare and administer the city budget with the approval of City Council.

She favors the mayor having the executive authority and the City Council having legislative authority, she said.

"The mayor can hire a chief administrative officer or city manager who can lead or assist in supervising department heads, preparing the budget and coordinating departments," Anderson said. "This structure is cost-efficient. If new information becomes available from the governance commission, I am willing to review that, as well."

She said the most critical issue facing Gahanna is revenue.

"I will address this issue with a strong economic-development plan," Anderson said. "By bringing in and retaining business, we are able to increase jobs, revenue and attract others to our city.

"We must increase partnerships and resource sharing. In our analysis of solutions, we must also consider best practices locally, regionally and nationwide," she said. "We can seek out more grants for specific projects. The city must have resources to keep the infrastructure and community standards."

She said she also would look at new management models and utilize the intellectual capital of city residents and others who are willing to serve on boards, commissions or give input for the betterment of the community.

"We need to be the premium community, which includes having premium development so we can be competitive with other communities and continue to build our community pride," Anderson said.

When asked about the pros and cons of Gahanna's Creekside development that's in foreclosure proceedings, Anderson said Creekside was completed during challenging economic times yet has been an award-winning site.

"When we look at Creekside, it is important to remember what was there previously," she said. "There was a low tax base, and the businesses were not designed to be the draw for a downtown center.

"Creekside is that town center. It has an innovative design that attracts people to the conference center, festivals, concerts and other events."

Anderson said Creekside includes Creekside Park, which has been cleaned up.

"Creekside paved the way for investment," she said. "Some businesses around it have had renovations and property values have increased. The project is almost full. Being in bankruptcy is a sign of the times when there are bankruptcies nationwide. A new owner will come and the economy will turn around. In the meantime, we must support Creekside to ensure a successful project to be enjoyed by all."

mkuhlman@thisweeknews.com