Steve Nagel knows all about making tough decisions.
The incumbent Fountain Valley councilman spent part of the last decade as a firefighter and paramedic. On those jobs, he learned to think fast knowing that any choice could mean life or death.
Those skills may be a mile removed from making a careful vote after months of research and staff input. But Nagel believes those hair-raising emergency calls steeled him as a decision maker.
"I learned to be a good listener, observant and confident under pressure situations that resulted in positive outcomes, through teamwork and evaluation," he said.
Nagel, a Fountain Valley resident of 10 years, is seeking a second term on the council.
He said that he is beneficial to the council because of his knowledge of the city and its different departments.
"I've been very fortunate to have a little more insight than a lot of council people," he said. "It takes many years to see who you know in the departments, to know where you go to get things done."
Nagel also said his experience in municipal government and background would aid the city in choosing its next city manager. He said the council will weigh all its options and vote on who best serves the city's needs, as well as maintain Fountain Valley's conservative lifestyle.
Nagel said that during his first term, he helped the city balance its budget and reserve funds for the future, as well as add an additional paramedic unit. The city also renegotiated all employee contracts and added two-tiered retirement plans for employees and a three-tiered retirement plan for police, he said.
"We look in the long run," Nagel said. "We don't get so focused on the immediate, because if we look further out, then there are no surprises as we get to them."
Nagel said that he is running again to help the city "get through the tough times that are still coming."
"We still have a lot of hurdles to go through," he said. "We don't know how much the state is going to try to take from us. We have to really watch what we do and not spend more than what we have. As long as I'm here, I'm going to fight for keeping us solvent and out of trouble."
Nagel plans to continue helping the city remain fiscally responsible as well as maintaining adequate funding for the fire, police and water departments.
Nagel also wants to attract businesses to the city to produce revenue streams and increase sales-tax revenues to fund and sustain city services.
He takes pride in the council's approval of the $150-million Hyundai North American headquarters, Yakult facility and Olson Homes and Ayres Hotel projects.
Among those who have endorsed Nagel are former Fountain Valley mayors and council members Guy Carrozzo and Laurann Cook.
Carrozzo, who worked with Nagel for three years on the council, said he finds him to be a "methodical" person.
"He was up to speed with everything," he said. "He made tough decisions when they had to be made and didn't back away from them. He's done a great job so far. When other cities were on the verge of vacancy, Fountain Valley had money in reserves."
"I think he genuinely cares for Fountain Valley, and I believe, being a longtime resident, he recognizes the issues of the city," she said. "During the downturn of economics and the hardships that have been placed on cities, I think he will be a good leader during these difficult months ahead."