Duman runs unopposed

Published 9:09 pm Saturday, October 4, 2014

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of stories about City Council candidates. Look for the rest on Sundays during October: Cypress on Oct. 12, Holy Neck on Oct. 19 and Suffolk on Oct. 26. 

Councilman Mike Duman is alone among the four incumbents up for election this year, in the sense that he is the only one unopposed.

“I hope it’s because the majority of the citizens are satisfied with the representation I’ve been able to give them,” Duman said in an interview last week.

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The owner of a used-car dealership, Duman was a political rookie when he ran for the Chuckatuck borough seat four years ago. But he believes he’s still been able to make a difference and thinks he can improve upon his performance in his second term.

“Because of the steep learning curve I’ve been on, I believe I can be considerably more effective in my second term than I was in the first term,” he said. “I think there’s been a few major accomplishments I can look back on since I’ve been on council.”

Among those, Duman said, was his successful push this spring to implement the second phase of a compensation study for city employees, and give them a 1-percent additional raise, rather than give a 1.5-percent bonus as previously proposed for the fiscal year 2015 budget.

“I want to thank them (his fellow council members) for turning that around,” Duman said. He said this spring he had met with each of his colleagues individually to discuss the plan.

He also listed helping pass a 50-percent car tax break for disabled veterans who meet certain qualifications, as well as spearheading the process of getting council to pass an ordinance banning the unattended tethering of dogs, as other accomplishments.

“I think I can do more” in his second term, Duman said.

He doesn’t have a list of items to tackle, though, he said.

“I don’t think anyone now or coming on council should have a set agenda,” he said, adding that a “vision” might be more appropriate. “I think they need to analyze each decision on its own merits, whether it complements that vision or not, because we’re in an environment that changes. I think they need to look at the issues at face value.”

Duman also said he has tried to be accessible and responsive to constituent concerns. He keeps a list and said he’s responded to about 150 issues in the last four years.

“All of them that I know of, with very few exceptions, have been resolved,” Duman said. He thanked the city manager and her staff for taking care of the problems.

“I’m the messenger,” he said. “They’re making me look good.”

He added he sometimes catches citizens off guard when he returns their calls.

“They say, ‘I can’t believe you called me back that fast’ or ‘I can’t believe you called me,’” Duman said.

He said he looks forward to helping negotiate issues in his upcoming term.

“Effective politics, in my opinion, requires negotiation,” he said. “In my opinion, the biggest problem we have now is nobody wants to negotiate. I look forward to working with whoever is going to be on council.”

Duman also extended thanks to his wife, Fran Duman, for her patience during his service to the city.