County commissioner, District 1 - Mike SlavikHere is a profile on Mike Slavik, who is running for the vacant Dakota County commissioner seat in District 1, which serves the Hastings area.
Q: Give us some background information, including how long you have been a resident of Hastings, your education, job position, community service and your previous and current connection with government.
A: I was born and raised in Hastings and have been a resident of Hastings for more than 30 years. I am a graduate of Hastings High School and I have a B.A. in political science from Saint John’s University in Collegeville, Minn. I am a realtor with Keystone Real Estate in Hastings and I am part-owner and president of Hometown Laundry, LLC. My wife, Maria (Werner) and I are active members of the Hastings community. Currently, I serve on the Hastings YMCA Board of Directors, the Hastings High School Alumni Board, as well as my church finance committee and parish council. I am currently in my second term as an At Large Member of the Hastings City Council. During my time on the council I have served on a variety of council committees including public safety, planning, parks and recreation, operations, administration and finance. Currently I serve on the Board of Directors for the Dakota Communications Center, which is the consolidated 911 center for all of Dakota County. I am also the elected official representative on the Highway 61 Visual Quality Team, which makes recommendations on all visual aspects on the new Hastings Bridge.
Q: Why did you decide to run for this position?
A: Shortly after Commissioner Joe Harris announced his retirement, a number of people encouraged me to run, citing my positive leadership on the Hastings City Council. During my time on the council, I have established a record of being responsive to resident concerns, being a good steward of taxpayer dollars, and working well with my colleagues. In addition, I truly enjoy serving my community as an elected official and helping residents and businesses find resolution to their concerns. I feel these are important attributes for our next Dakota County Commissioner in District 1.
Q: What are the major issues facing Dakota County? How should they be addressed?
A: Dakota County is facing budget pressures due to aging populations and infrastructure, constant advancements in technology, and reduced state and federal funding. Dakota County needs leadership that will seek innovative, flexible, and more effective ways of providing essential services. The County must plan and invest in the transportation and technology infrastructure necessary for good economic development, making Dakota County competitive both regionally and globally. By utilizing technology wisely, the County can streamline service delivery and remove unnecessary administrative complexity. Through opportunities for collaboration with other local units of government, Dakota County can find ways to reduce these pressures while still providing the level of services residents experience on a daily basis. This approach will serve the County well on a wide variety of issues it faces.
Q: With ongoing budget constraints, including less federal and state funds, is the county handling its programs/services and staffing in the right way?
A: Dakota County has a tradition of being a well-run county, even in these more challenging economic times. As the budget pressures for the county continue, that tradition must also continue. County leadership must continually assess how to keep services as streamlined and effective as possible, while still allowing for residents and businesses in the county to grow and thrive. In recent years there has been a reduction in staffing at the county level. It is important to find the right balance between the services the county provides and the staffing necessary to carry those services out in a quality manner. I believe with the right approach, we can sufficiently staff county departments while at the same time keeping county government as lean as possible.
Q: What makes you the best candidate for this position?
A: I bring a unique mix of public and private experience to this position, as well as the passion and dedication necessary to represent and serve the residents of District 1 well. My experience as both an elected official and a small business owner makes me the best candidate to continue the tradition of sound leadership Dakota County residents have come to know and expect, as well as the bold vision and innovative thinking necessary to lead as the County faces future challenges and growth.