Five people are running for three seats on the Florence City Council
With current council member John Anderson not running for re-election, Vice Mayor Michelle Cordes and council member Judy Hughes are seeking to retain their seats on Florence City Council.
They face candidates Nicole Buccellato, Jose “Mo” Maldonado and Cassandra Scherm. The primary election is August 2. The general election, if necessary, will be held on November 8.
The City Council is a non-partisan body of seven members elected to serve at large, representing all residents. The mayor and council serve a four-year term and there is no term limit.
The Florence Independent sent a questionnaire to the candidates. Their responses will be published in the June and July issues of the journal.
Why are you running?
Nicole Buccellato, 40, is a senior diversion officer for the Pinal County District Attorney’s Office. She has lived in Florence for 36 years.
“I decided to run for city council because I have lived in Florence most of my life. I have seen what Florence once was, what it is now, and I would be honored to help decide what Florence can become. I would like to set a positive example while doing it for my children. My three children attend three different schools in Florence and my husband also owns a business here in town. I am a very proactive person and would love to serve the people of the city I call home,” Buccellato wrote.
Michelle Cordes, 49, is a real estate agent and vice-mayor on the city council of Florence. She has lived in Florence for eight years.
“Ensuring Florence is a great place to retire but also the perfect place to raise a family, work, play and retire,” Cordes wrote.
Judy Hughes, 65, is retired and a member of Florence City Council. She has lived in Florence for 10 years.
“The last four years have changed the way we do everything. With the pandemic, we were forced to shelter in place and many people and businesses were decimated. The city hasn’t been able to move forward as we had hoped, and we’ve gone from being proactive to reactive and just maintenance. I believe there is still much to do and would love the opportunity to work with the other board members to move us forward,” Hughes wrote.
Jose “Mo” Maldonado, 47, is a retired Air Force veteran and is currently a maintenance technician with CoreCivic. He has lived in Florence for six years.
“I have been involved for many years in advocating for our Pinal County veterans and wish I could do the same for our Florence residents,” Maldonado wrote.
Cassandra Scherm, 46, is an educator. She has lived in Florence for over eight years.
“The three F’s are my racing platform.
Married for over 20 years. Life member of the church and faith. Strong moral values. Build relationships.
Married a firefighter for Florence. Three children all attending schools in Florence. One graduated from [Florence High School] 2021, attendance [Central Arizona College] to complete to become a police officer and is currently working for [Pinal County Sheriff’s Office]. Second will graduate next year and join the army. Third will enter FHS next year.
Educator for Florence for over 18 years (charter, public and correctional). Joined the Florence Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) in 2019. Offices: Assistant Events Coordinator, Area Captain. Currently CFO,” Scherm wrote.
What do you think should be the city’s priorities?
“Business retention and attraction, more programs and partnerships for our youth and seniors, staying on budget to help keep taxes low, public safety within our community, and respect ordinances to preserve and help further beautify our historic city,” Buccellato wrote.
“The city is gearing up for growth. We need to be mindful of this growth and its impact on our citizens as well as the overall vibe of the city while preserving our place in Arizona’s history and the historic vibe of our city,” Cordes wrote. .
- “Maintaining the “safest city” designation for public safety
- Employee retention/compensation
- Continue to update the aging existing infrastructure and establish the territorial plaza infrastructure
- Territorial Square Masterplan: smart managed growth in the northern sector of downtown Florence
- Increase code compliance and plague removal to make communities look better
- Create access to alternative financing that creates new ways to acquire and carry out projects (grants: state, federal and non-profit) (public/private partnerships)
- Promote Florence as the event capital of Pinal County
- Create Workforce Incubator Development Centers,” Hughes wrote.
“Use the funds in a smart and productive way that does not affect the pockets of our taxpayers. Our roads need a lot of improvements and easier accessibility to keep up with the growing growth of our city. Security is also a top priority with the influx of residents. Obtain sustainable emergency personnel by being competitive with other cities’ salaries/benefits. Increase job opportunities by focusing on more blue collar companies/schools,” Maldonado wrote.
To provide educational, governmental, professional and recreational opportunities for our young people.
Improve response times, promote a positive police presence to deter crime.
With continued growth, the ability to properly staff police, fire (NFPA guideline), and emergency medical response for city safety and quality of life.
Communication is the key to a city’s success and growth. Create opportunities for the city to actively engage and communicate ways to improve city goals,” Scherm wrote.