City Councilmember Stephen Kunselman (D–Ward 3) has begun the petitioning process to become a candidate for the mayor of Ann Arbor in 2014.

Kunselman — who is an employee in the University’s Energy Management Office — went to the City Clerk Friday to obtain the petition to be nominated as a candidate in the Democratic Party. He is currently in the middle of his third term as a council member in Ward 3, having first been elected in 2006.

Even though the deadline for the primary-election petition is mid-May, Kunselman said he typically likes to start his campaign process early, adding that he is “not a typical candidate.”

Kunselman said he wants to change the political culture in Ann Arbor and increase transparency.

“I very much believe in good public policy and budget priorities that serve a broader element of our community rather than what we’ve seen in the last few years if the direction of our city is to be basically focused on downtown,” Kunselman said.

He went on to say Mayor John Heiftje’s (D) lack of communication has failed to foster trust in the community and noted problems with budgeting in the Downtown Development Authority.

“Leadership doesn’t have to result in distrust,” he said. “Leadership is about totally up to the issues and making those decisions and trying to impart upon the good public policy of those. You can’t do that if you’re playing games.”

Hieftje said he’s been happy with the transparency shown by his administration, as well as with the city’s operations during his time as mayor.

“I’m sure that anyone that’s new in the office would want to make changes to a whole bunch of things, but our city is doing very, very well,” Hieftje said.

Hieftje said he has not made an official decision on whether or not to run again, saying he typically announces at the beginning of the calendar year. He added, however, that Kunselman running won’t have any effect on his decision.

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