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Friday, January 17, 2014

Get to Know Your City Council: Q&A with Councilman Roger Peterman

Fort Thomas City Councilman Roger Peterman (image via city of Fort Thomas)

Reporter, Fort Thomas Matters

UPDATE: As of Jan. 28th, Mr. Peterman is registered as a candidate for Fort Thomas City Council.

This year, all six Fort Thomas City Council members, along with Mayor Mary Brown, face re-election. As part of FTM's efforts to keep you, the Fort Thomas electorate, informed and prepare you for the upcoming election season, the Q&A below is part of a new FTM series called "Get to Know Your City Council." Each participant is asked the same set of 7 initial questions, then a second round of follow-up questions based on their responses. This week, I spoke with Councilman Roger Peterman.

Councilman Roger Peterman and his family have been residents of Fort Thomas for three decades, and he has served the Fort Thomas and Northern Kentucky communities in a variety of ways for the better part of that time (see more below). He is currently a partner in the law firm Peck, Shaffer, & Williams, LLP, located downtown, and specializes in state and local government finance. He serves as Chairman of the Finance Committee and also sits on the Public Utilities and Buildings Committee and the Recreation Committee. He also currently serves as Chairman of the Northern Kentucky Port Authority.

Mr. Peterman lives on Riverside Parkway.

FTM: What has been your personal connection to Fort Thomas specifically, and Northern Kentucky more broadly?

RP: My family is celebrating our 30th anniversary of living in Northern Kentucky and, more specifically, Fort Thomas. Our three children received their entire primary and secondary education through Fort Thomas schools. I have had the opportunity to serve the Northern Kentucky community in several capacities, including board positions with the Northern Kentucky Port Authority, Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Tri-County Economic Development Corporation (promoting economic development), Southbank Partners (promoting riverfront development), Healthpoint (providing community-based healthcare services) and the St. Elizabeth Hospital Foundation. City Council is the only elected office I have held. 
FTM: What, in your opinion, makes Fort Thomas one of Northern Kentucky’s best places to live and/or raise a family? 

RP: I ran for office (and was elected) 12 years ago with this question in mind. My goal has always been for Fort Thomas to be the most desirable place to live in greater Cincinnati. During my tenure I have had the opportunity to promote and actively pursue several major city initiatives, including the redevelopment of our three business districts and the upgrading of our wonderful park system. City support of certain school related initiatives, such as the new soccer field and artificial surface for the Highlands football field, has also been very satisfying.
FTM: In what specific ways during your tenure on City Council have you worked to promote the Fort Thomas business community?  

RP: The thought that comes to mind is to first point out how much the business community has supported the city. That support includes volunteer work related to various city boards and commissions and support of community of events like the Fourth of July festivities, the Holiday Walk and Merchants and Music. Volunteers like those from the business community (and the general citizenry) are what make Fort Thomas a great place to live and raise a family. I have found the business community to have the best interests of the city in mind. 

FTM: And how have you used your public office to encourage this support?

RP: It has been very easy to fully support their initiatives. One specific instance that comes to mind was their goal to replace the amphitheater at Tower Park. I was fully supportive of that dream from the start.

FTM: What issue(s) brought before council over the last two years have been most important to you?

RP: The city park revitalization may have been the most satisfying. The parks are one of the most valuable community assets. The improvements that have been made will help assure that Fort Thomas will continue to be one of the most livable communities in the area.  Continued support of the schools is also important. We also need to stay connected to the Northern Kentucky community as a whole. Support of riverfront redevelopment and NKU are examples of community efforts the City should continue to embrace.

FTM: If re-elected, what will you prioritize for the coming two years of Fort Thomas legislation?

RP: Livability is still my focus, even though many goals have already been achieved.  

FTM: You used that word earlier, too. Can you explain what you mean by “livability”?

RP: Redevelopment of the VA homes in Tower Park is a specific example, but federal bureaucracy has caused long delays. The city is financially sound, so our high level of service with police and fire will continue. We will be going into the next two years with a very firm foundation. 

FTM: Out of all the city-wide events Fort Thomas hosts each year, which is your favorite? 

RP: I can’t really choose, other than to say that the aspect I like most of all of them is how much effort is put into these events by community-minded citizens. I encourage everyone in the city to feel as connected to this community as the promoters and volunteers involved with these events. This community spirit is what truly makes Fort Thomas the best place I have ever lived.

FTM: What is your political party affiliation, if any? 

RP: City elections are non-partisan for good reasons, so I respectfully decline to answer. Better service can be provided to the citizens of Fort Thomas if political party concerns (which have nothing to do with city governance) are not a factor. I suspect that party affiliation may be public record, which is fine with me. I just prefer that it not be an issue in a non-partisan election.  I would rather have people make their voting decisions based on the prior questions. Fort Thomas Matters is providing a valuable public service with this forum for getting information to voters.  That service is very much appreciated.

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