Jerry Dyer takes office as Fresno’s next mayor in nine months.
Anticipating his Jan. 5, 2021 inauguration, Dyer is participating in city budget meetings with Mayor Lee Brand’s team. He is fully aware of the type of challenging economy he will inherit.
Dyer is helping the nonprofit community during the COVID-19 pandemic. He appears in TV commercials asking for donations to the Central California Blood Center. And, last week, Dyer launched a fundraising drive to raise $1 million for nonprofits, called Give Help Now.
The former Fresno police chief won the mayoral election outright last month with 51.56% of the vote, avoiding a November runoff with second-place finisher Andrew Janz.
Q&A With Dyer
GV Wire spoke with Dyer about the COVID-19 pandemic and how it will affect his administration.
GV Wire: How Do You Think the City is Handling the Pandemic?
I think everyone is doing what they believe to be the right thing to do for the good of the entire community. I think that’s true at the national level, the state level, and the local level.
These are unprecedented times. There’s no playbook to go back to and to look to see how we respond as a local jurisdiction. I know there are some people who question the legitimacy and the seriousness of this COVID-19, but the reality is, it’s real.
Regardless of what we’re doing as a health community (and) as a local government community, what we want to do from a nonprofit standpoint is to be able to meet the needs, the real needs in our community. And that’s the purpose of the Give Help Now campaign. And that’s why I’m chosen to be a part of it.
Come January, You’ll Inherit a Really Tough Economy. What Do You Think About That Challenge?
I’ve been sitting through every (city budget meeting), almost on a daily basis, meeting with departments, going over the various budgets, the impact COVID-19 is having on our individual budgets within the city. The impacts are real financially, with room tax, sales tax, the business tax … all of those things are impacting us locally. We’re going to have to deal with that.
We’re going to have to make the necessary decisions that are going to help us to live within our means in local government. I know it’s a budget that I’m going to be inheriting, but I’ve also worked through the recession in 2008 and 2009, understand what that impact was. We’re going to make it through as a city. We’re going to make it through as a country. But it is going to take some time.
How Are You Personally Dealing With the Pandemic? What Are You Doing Differently?
The challenge has been, I think for all of this, for me not being able to see my grandkids, not being able to see my mom and dad, being respectful of their health and not wanting to do anything is going to endanger anyone’s life. It is difficult and everyone has to do their part. Staying at home is one of those things. Giving is another.