CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Mike Allen has officially filed the paperwork that will place him on the ballot for Cincinnati City Council.
"Crime and the city's continued budget woes are what drove me to enter this race," said Allen. "As a former judge, police officer, and prosecutor, I know I can work to bring new, effective solutions for lowering crime in our city."
"Further, I have balanced a government budget. Unfortunately, our current council has taken the band-aid approach to budgeting which has forced them into more severe cuts each year," Allen added.
Allen is a former Hamilton County Municipal Court Judge, University of Cincinnati and City of Cincinnati police officer and Hamilton County Prosecutor. He currently practices law in Cincinnati. Allen also has been a political and legal analyst for multiple media outlets in Greater Cincinnati. He is the former chairman of the Hamilton County Republican Party and served on the University of Cincinnati Board of Trustees. Allen received an Honorable Discharge with a rank of Captain from the U.S. Army Reserves.
Public safety remains the largest expenditure in the city's budget. However, crime in Cincinnati has continued to be a front page reality. As evidenced by this past weekend's shooting near Fountain Square, Allen says that now is not the time to lay off police officers.
"Firing cops is not the answer," said Allen. "There are ways, such as civilianization of some police functions, which will heighten our police presence on the streets and keep the city's budget in check."
Besides hiring civilians to handle some administrative functions, Allen also believes the city needs to explore other ideas that lead to cost savings without eliminating police officers. He stated the implementation of better crime mapping to direct resources to higher crime areas, expanding the Citizens on Patrol program, and possibly establishing a police reserve program similar to what cities like Columbus and San Diego have can help to reduce costs.
"The shooting near Fountain Square shows how important the public safety issue remains in Cincinnati," Allen added. "We simply cannot make cuts that take officers off the street. There is too much at stake, including the huge financial investment the city has made in downtown."
Besides better use of public safety resources, Allen says that the biggest budget issue facing council is council itself. Each of the last several years, council has been forced to make severe cuts because it has not tackled the core fiscal issues facing Cincinnati.
"Hamilton County realized the severe budget limitations the economy was dealing them and they took the painful, but necessary steps. At the same time, the city said everything was OK," Allen stated. "However, the city had to make severe and divisive cuts later in the year because they refused to admit the realities it faced. Unfortunately, council continues to go down that same path."
Allen suggests that Cincinnati explore a number of cost saving and revenue generating options they so far have refused to seriously consider. For instance, Allen believes the city should give serious consideration to ending its self-funded pension program in favor of the state's PERS plan. Allen also believes that managed competition can be a positive solution for both city taxpayers and employees.
"Managed competition can only work if there is a fair and equitable way for city employees to participate in the bid," Allen said. "More than 70 percent of the time, city employees win under managed competition. They do so because they find better ways of providing high level service without the bureaucratic burden the current system creates."
"However, we lose if current city employees don't have a fair chance to win the contract," Allen added. "The people currently providing services are experts in how to deliver for our city. If managed competition allows them to do it better, they win and citizens get better service in a more cost effective manner."
Allen also is in favor of expanding economic development programs that deliver tax relief to growing businesses. However, Allen would like to see the requirement of 25 new jobs over three years lowered so that smaller businesses can take advantage of these excellent programs.
Mike Allen has served as a police officer, Hamilton County Municipal Court Judge, and Hamilton County Prosecutor. His is a former Chairman of the Hamilton County Republican Party.
Allen also served as a Captain in the United States Army Reserve. Allen is currently a criminal defense attorney.
He has served as a political and legal expert for FOX19, but can't do so while running for or serving in office.