TALLAHASSEE — Bill Schack is someone not afraid to stir the pot, either literally in his professional life as the Food Services Director at the local homeless shelter, or politically as the challenging candidate for the City Commission Seat 3, currently held by Nancy Miller.
“Tough questions need to be asked and tough issues need to be addressed and it’s time for someone to start that ball rolling,” said Schack.
“The citizens of Tallahassee need to be heard. Lots of people are fed up with what’s been going on,” he continued, referencing the many recent controversial decisions of Tallahassee’s commissioners.
“I’m not someone who’s afraid to stir the pot a little bit. I’m not afraid to run. I believe the citizens recognize, like I do, it’s time for new leadership,” Schack said.
Sitting in an office at the Kearney Center, Tallahassee’s homeless shelter, he said, “Every election cycle, the politicians talk about mental illness, homelessness, the Southside, but they don’t do anything to fix it. You talk to someone who lives there (Southside) and they still don’t have street lights or sidewalks. That’s what I think new leadership can bring — some action, not just more talk.”
He said if elected, his top priority would be to stop making charitable organizations beg for money every year in the city budget.
“Homelessness and mental illness are real problems in Tallahassee. Working at the Kearney Center for past two years, I see what the real impact is for them when they don’t get the funding they need and, I believe, deserve. Even when we throw money at things, we really don’t address the problems. We just hope they get better. Unless we bring the community together to fix the problem, it’s never gonna get better,” he said.
Schack is concerned by what he calls the city’s wasteful spending on the salaries and benefits of some of the city employees, particularly the six city managers making over $100,000 each.
As a board member of the Killearn Home Owners Association (KHOA) he is also unhappy with recent commission votes which will fundamentally change several city neighborhoods, often against the wishes of the residents, with less than a unanimous vote.
“Recently I’ve seen commissioners vote three to two to change neighborhoods like Myers Park. You’re changing an entire neighborhood and you can do that with a three/two vote? It should take a unanimous decision to rezone something like that. I’d like to change the city charter,” he said. “I think the commissioners are making a mistake there and they don’t even live there.”
Schack describes himself as a common-sense leader. “You don’t need an “R” or a “D” next to your name to know keeping bars open until 4 a.m. is probably a bad idea in a city that has one of the highest crime rates in the state. You don’t need an “R” or a “D” next to your name to know giving CRA money to projects not entitled to (it) is wrong. You don’t need an “R” or a “D” next to your name to know that increasing property taxes is probably a bad idea,” Schack explained.
Schack, a 25-year businessman in the restaurant industry, said he is a fiscal conservative, who is pro-business, wants less government, supports law enforcement body cameras and a new police station.
He is a passionate volunteer who was named a finalists in the Civil Services category for Tallahassee’s 2016 Volunteer of the Year. He was also the Florida Humanitarian of the Year.
Schack sees running for office as a natural next step in his service to the community.
“I go to work every day feeding the homeless and the hungry. I’m a doer, not a talker. I actually have experience impacting people’s lives on a daily basis,” he said. “I give 110 percent to every board I serve on. I don’t do it just so it looks good on my resume. I’m an active board member, because those things are important.”
“I don’t volunteer because I want to be a city commissioner. I want to be a city commissioner because I care about the issues behind my volunteer work,” Schack said.