Q&A: Ben Kramer reflects on first months on Clarkdale council
Ben Kramer was appointed to Clarkdale Town Council in September 2017. Kramer was born in Clarkdale and got his degree in regional development at the University of Arizona. He works full-time as a firefighter and paramedic. Kramer cites his fiancée Caysha Mccomack as his biggest supporter and called Town Manager Gayle Mabery “invaluable” to him in his new role as councilmember.
Q: What are your takeaways as a new councilmember?
Being involved has been very rewarding. I have learned that the Town of Clarkdale has so many short and long terms goals and objectives. There are always new projects ramping up or ongoing goals being worked toward. My appreciation for our small community has only grown and I have been excited to become more involved.
Q: What were your challenges?
A municipal government of any size is a complicated machine. In Clarkdale, there has been a focus on getting the best people in positions where they can use their individual skillsets to maximum effect. We have so many talented employees who wear many hats. One challenge for me as a new councilor has been learning who contributes to the success of each aspect of the Town’s activities. Working closely with the Town Manager and my fellow Councilors has been a great way to get up to speed.
Q: Can you name one lesson you learned?
There is a huge amount of history involved in making informed decisions and recommendations related to Town business. Most questions coming to the Council have long backstories and far-reaching consequences. The best lesson I have learned is that there are so many people who can be deep wells of information, and reaching out to them is essential for our collective success.
Q: What were your successes?
One goal I had was being more involved with the Town I care about deeply. I definitely feel even more engaged and I have enjoyed learning more about the role of Council and how they can best interact with staff. Meeting community leaders and business owners and learning about their perspectives and objectives has been eye opening and has made me excited for 2018.
Q: How has your leadership impacted Clarkdale?
I don’t know that I have made any major personal splash. The Clarkdale Town Council has a definite focus on communication and collaboration. Right now my biggest job is on learning and seeing how my input can best fit in. Clarkdale has a passionate base of volunteers willing to support the town in so many ways. My hope is that I can inspire others to become involved and volunteer in their own communities. There is always a need for interested community members to serve on boards and commissions, or in various departments.