KENT: Attorney Scott Flynn's second attempt to win a seat on the Kent City Council was a successful one, and on Nov. 28, Flynn was appointed by the existing members of the council to serve the remainder of Councilman-at-large Robin Turner's term after Turner was forced to step down on Nov. 1 due to circumstances surrounding his retirement plan as a public employee.
After three rounds of voting, Flynn, 33, was approved by a group of 11 candidates and assumed Turner's seat on the council. For the lifelong Kent resident, the decision to run for the vacant position was a result of his belief in civic duty and contribution to the community where he grew up.
"I grew up in Kent and I'm a lifelong resident. I wanted to give back to the city and I'm not going anywhere," Flynn said. "As someone pointed out during the meeting, I sit on seven different boards for various organizations and civic duty is important to me."
Among the organizations Flynn serves on as a board member are the Kent Chamber of Commerce and the Kent Historical Society.
He is also one of three partners at Flynn Keith & Flynn, a law firm located at 250 South Water St.
Because his firm is a general practice, meaning it does not specify in any one type of law (environmental, civil, contract, etc.), Flynn believes his work allows him to have a good pulse on a wide range of issues affecting the city and its residents.
"We handle a lot of various issues, working with small businesses, landlords, tenants, elderly clients and college students and handling those matters for our clients gives me an idea of the issues that are out there for our citizens," Flynn explained.
Additionally, working as a general legal practitioner puts him in contact with city officials and administrators with whom he will now interact with as a member of the council.
When asked what issues he wants to focus on as he serves out his term, Flynn saluted the progress the city and its leaders have made with the ongoing downtown revitalization project and said he wants to find ways of sustaining that growth and continuing to bring more visitors to the downtown area for dining, shopping and entertainment. He also identified areas on the outskirts of the city as regions for additional growth.
Another issue that Flynn and his fellow council members will continue to face is the need for a new police building. A 0.25 percent increase on the existing two percent income tax rate was defeated by a margin of 55 to 45 percent, leaving officials with the challenge of how to fund a new building that is generally recognized as a necessity given the poor condition of the existing facility.
"I would say we still need to find a solution for the Kent police station," Flynn said. "The building is not safe, but it's clear residents did not want an income tax increase."
He also echoed the sentiments of Ward 1 Councilman Garret Ferrara, who suggested on election night that those behind the proposed tax increase had not done enough to make their plans clear or explain where the new building would be constructed and why it was necessary. Flynn also seconded Ferrara's statement that the lack of a "sunset provision" on the tax increase was a reason for the measure's defeat.
"Probably even more of a problem was having no sunset provision on the tax and that rubbed people the wrong way. They don't want to see a never-ending tax increase," he continued.
If the measure were revised and went back on the ballot with a sunset provision, Flynn said he would support it.