Name: Dr. Wayne Reynolds
Occupation: Business executive
Education: BS, MS, Doctor of Education
Previous political experience: School superintendent, national treasurer of Vietnam Veterans of America, member of Limestone County and past member of Alabama State Political Executive Committees, testified before congressional committees on veterans and education issues, multiple visits to Washington to discuss issues with senators and congressmen and their staff
Community involvement: Disabled Army veteran with service as a medic in Vietnam in 1968-69, finance committee at First Baptist Church, deacon at First Baptist Church, past member of Alabama Veterans Museum board, past Rotarian (Paul Harris Fellow Award), past president of Athens Chapter 511 of Vietnam Veterans of America,14 years as Alabama State president of Vietnam Veterans of America, second term as national treasurer of VVA, life member of Veterans of Foreign Wars, life member of Disabled American Veterans and American Legion
Personal: Wife, Carol Corbett Reynolds; daughter, Paige Reynolds Walker; and son, Wesley Douglas Reynolds
• What is the biggest challenge or challenges facing District 1, and what steps do you intend to take as a councilman to overcome them?
The biggest challenge facing District 1 is increased communications and involvement of residents in District 1. I am going to make my personal contact information available (cellphone number and email address) to each of the residents.
Meetings will be held with Homeowner Associations and open forums with residents. I will use print and broadcast media to inform residents and solicit input on issues.
• The city of Athens has committed $1.1 million to fund a new public library at the site of the former Kroger on South Jefferson Street. The city also appropriates money each year to the library, which was $115,000 in fiscal year 2011-2012. Are you in favor of the new library, and do you feel the city should be held responsible for any operating costs beyond its annual appropriation?
The decision on the establishment of a new Athens Limestone Public Library has been made, and I see no reason to change that decision. The Library Foundation, headed by Dr. Frank Cauthen, is raising funds and has plans for full funding of the construction and operation of the library. I discussed the issues associated with the library with my neighbor, Paula Laurita, the head librarian, and she is confident of the fiscal soundness of their plan for the library.
The city contributes to the operating costs of the library jointly with the Limestone County Commission. According to Paula, if the County Commission meets their equal obligations for funding, then the city will not have to face any additional operational funding for the library.
Any decision about additional funds for the library will be made in context of the needs of the many other city services funded through the Athens city budget: police, fire, health care, schools, roads, utilities, parks and recreation, industrial development, tourism, etc.
• Members of the Limestone County NAACP claim the city does not have a good track record in terms of hiring minorities and promoting diversity. Do you feel this is a problem in Athens? If not, please explain why. If you agree with the NAACP, what steps would you take to ensure a diverse workforce?
I attended the Athens City Council meeting and heard the presentation by the NAACP. Those who talked had no facts or substantiation for their claims. I don’t think any of the presenters were even from Athens.
I do not believe the claims by the NAACP have any merit. I commend Jimmy Gill and Harold Wales for their restraint in the face of the NAACP allegations. Athens is compliant and has the data to prove it.
• Athens and Limestone County have been fortunate enough to land new industries over the last several months, while others like Steelcase have announced expansions and plans to hire additional workers. As a councilman, what steps would you take to make Athens appealing to out-of-state industries and retail developers? Please be specific.
Attracting industrial and retail development requires cooperative efforts of the city, state and our senators and congressional delegations. I have met with all of these and believe I can enhance this cooperation.
In addition, our prosperity is dependent on a broad offering of services, a quality work force and business friendly taxes. I support education in the city, enhanced city services, living within our budgets and I am able to represent the city with dignity to those who would consider locating here. We must not forget the growth in retail and residential developments when we consider the future of the city of Athens.