In part of the 2022 Election coverage, the Express is featuring Meet the Candidate articles to share information about the candidates with the community. Each week it will feature two candidates.
Richard Casavecchia related a lesson from a former instructor in his military training to describe his approach to solving problems.
“When you’re an officer,” Casavecchia explained, “you’re trained to be thrust into a situation, and then find a way to succeed, get the job done, and get everyone home safely.”
He says this adaptive approach to solving problems has informed the way he addresses problems with flexibility and creativity, which he feels could be of particular use to the Winters City Council.
Casavecchia spent 10 years in the army as a commissioned officer, which led him to strategic planning with the State of California. This saw him collaborate with many state agencies on emergency response actions and military training efforts, work that involved lots of, “managing people and creating plans,” for situations that were often, “life-or-death.”
Casavecchia joked that, in comparison, “when I look at city planning, this is totally easy — no one’s getting shot at, no one’s dying.”
But he still takes his work with the city very seriously, he says, and these lessons, learned in the military and in the private sector working in financial strategies, informed skills he hopes to use in helping Winters manage its fiscal wellbeing and its growth.
“I have a unique combination of education, skills, and experience that enables me to approach problems from multiple perspectives, evaluate options, and come up with solutions that are not anchored to a specific formula or way of thinking,” Casavecchia said.
Though the city has many priorities to tackle, Casavecchia said that two are, “foundation to everything else,” these being, “city finances, and a growth plan.”
Finances and data are two areas heavily covered in Casavecchia’s work and education experience, and areas he believes he is uniquely capable of addressing. He specified that refilling the city’s reserve fund, which for the last ten years has seen more expenditure than income.
Regarding the growth plan, Casavecchia notes that, though many existing plans and practices have served the city in the past, he believes, “the future is going to look a lot different from the past 20-30 years,” and that “relying on the same type of thinking, solving problems in the same way, isn’t going to serve us best.”
Change, he notes, will happen, “whether we like it or not,” but that, “if we are proactive about it, we have an opportunity to manage change in a way that’s best for us, instead of reacting to change that’s required of us.”
Casavecchia, in response to a question about unsafe pedestrian street crossings, demonstrated this comprehensive, top-down approach to problem solving, saying that the solution is more complex than, “putting up signs and flashing lights,” and that to solve this problem proactively, the city has to ask, “How are we designing our streets? Are we incentivizing people to drive fast?” to determine, “what the future looks like for that area of town,” to get ahead of individual problematic crossings when they come up and address them in a comprehensive manner.