Special to the
Opelika Observer

Fincher believes this is a critical time for the city to make decisions that will promote sustainable growth and benefit all Opelika citizens.

“I am entering this race because I believe Opelika needs a forward-looking city council that is willing to actively pursue and include input from all its citizens into how the city should grow and respond to challenges in this new decade,” Fincher said. “Opelika is filled with wonderful people, but I believe our current leadership is not in tune with the needs of everyday Opelikans.”

One example Fincher cites is the pay raise the city council instituted for itself and the mayor set to go into effect this November. The new mayor will receive a whopping $48,000 pay raise in the new pay scale. This $120,000 annual salary will be equal to the salary of Gov. Kay Ivey, who leads a state of approximately five million people while the mayor leads a city of approximately 31,000 people.

“I know plenty of hard-working, smart and educated people who do not make $48,000 in a year, much less receive a raise of that amount at taxpayer expense,” Fincher said.

The Opelika City Council members will see their salaries rise from $12,000 to $13,200 annually with the city council president pay going from $13,200 to $14,400. The Auburn City Council, whose members already receive less pay than Opelika’s council, considered raising the salary for council members earlier this year but decided against it.

Fincher believes the city council and mayor taking this pay raise while so many local businesses and individuals are struggling financially due to COVID-19 losses sends a terrible message about being a public servant. He will work to rescind the mayor and council pay raises and pledges to return his $1,200 raise back to the city’s general fund until he succeeds.

“There is an old saying that people who are elected to federal office go to Washington, D.C., to do good but often end up doing well instead. I do not want that ever to be the case in Opelika,” Fincher said.

Fincher also supports instituting a three-term limit for council members and the mayor. He believes incumbents usually have a tremendous advantage in knowing how to run elections, which discourages less-experienced candidates from running against them and getting new ideas introduced in local government. This will be the fourth election for the Ward 5 incumbent.

The lack of natural recreational spaces in Opelika is another area Fincher believes the city should be addressing. Creekline Trails of Opelika has been able to raise over $25,000 combined from the last two Opelika Giving Days showing there is a tremendous demand for these kinds of outdoor areas.

“Hats off to the folks running Creekline Trails for recognizing Opelika citizens are clamoring for outdoor recreational opportunities in Opelika’s beautiful natural spaces,” Fincher said. “This is certainly an area the city should be providing more resources toward rather than forcing its citizens to raise money and manpower to get anything done.”

In addition, Fincher would like to create a local board to address police and community relations. He will not support any kind of defund-the-police movement and has a great deal of respect for our law enforcement officers, but the events of the last few months have amplified the need across the nation for a level of trust to be built back up between communities and law enforcement.

“I would like to establish a board made up of community members, government leaders and police administrators to meet quarterly and discuss what our officers and our citizens are seeing out in the community and what can be done to prevent small problems from becoming big problems down the road. I believe discussion leads to understanding and positive action from all sides involved,” Fincher said.

Both Fincher and his wife come from families who dedicated their careers to public education. He will do whatever is possible to support classroom teachers and allow them to do their jobs effectively while also providing a safe and innovative environment for Opelika City Schools and Southern Union students.

Finally, Fincher supports keeping Opelika’s tax rates at a reasonable level as it is successfully attracting new businesses and people. He believes fairness in taxation is essential for the people to maintain trust in their government.

Fincher is originally from Woodland, Alabama, and is married to the former Lara Edgar, an Opelika native and Opelika High School graduate. They have one daughter named Kayla. Fincher is in the process of completing his dissertation to receive a PhD in public administration and public policy from Auburn University.

He can be reached by email at fincher4opelika@gmail.com, telephone at 334-329-0742 or through social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. His campaign website can be found at www.electfincher.wordpress.com.