Two campaign for Brookings mayor

Toby Uecker

Toby Uecker

Two men with decades of experience in the Brookings community are looking to participate on a new level as the city’s mayor.

Mike Bartley and Scott Munsterman are both professionals who chose Brookings as the place to establish their businesses and raise their families, and both say they see the mayor’s seat as an opportunity to give back to their chosen community.

Neither is new to the Brookings political scene. Munsterman currently serves as a member of the Brookings City Council, and Bartley has served on the Brookings Planning Commission for the past eight years, three of them as the body’s chairperson.

Bartley also ran for mayor during the last election, being defeated for the top post in the newly formed government by current Mayor Virgil Herriott.

Both men now look to replace Herriott, who will complete his four-year term and is not running for reelection.

When he made the decision to run, Bartley said, “I felt I had enough leadership skills … to run an effective meeting and basically facilitate good discussion and fair discussion to achieve goals.”

Important in that goal, he added, is being able to facilitate discussion that fosters decision-making rather than prolonging the process to the detriment of the parties involved.

In a city manager system designed to leave the day-to-day operation of the city to the hired manager, Bartley said he sees the mayor’s job as primarily one of effectively leading meetings and doing the long-term planning that is the Council’s charge.

Munsterman agrees that it’s important to stay within the big picture planning as a city council and argues that in his tenure with the governing body, it has done well in staying within its proper bounds.

As mayor, Munsterman said he would work to stay within the proper bounds and added that he would work for greater consensus building than exemplifies the current government.

Particularly important to consensus building, he said, would be cooperation with SDSU.

Munsterman said right now, the cooperation and communication leaves something to be desired.

“We understand their issues; they understand our issues, but there really isn’t a team that’s built there yet,” he said.

Munsterman proposes to open the lines of communication by attending SA meetings and communicating with campus leaders.

“We need to create a direct partnership with SDSU,” he said. “The more you communicate with people, the better relationships you have.”

Bartley, too, said he sees the need for cooperation with the university, citing the success of a recent research park project that was a collaboration of Brookings business and SDSU.

Munsterman said half a dozen more such projects would be an excellent addition and has incorporated such ideas into his plan for future economic growth.

“I see SDSU as an integral component to this whole picture for the future of Brookings,” he said, adding that Gov. Mike Rounds’ willingness to work with the community and the school provides a unique window of opportunity.

In the end, both candidates see their potential job as mayor as a chance to give back to a community that has helped them along.

“What I feel I need to do at this particular time is help lead this community in the direction that is going to provide more opportunities for people down the road,” Munsterman said.

“I owe Brookings,” said Bartley. “It’s been good to me and my family and my business.”

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