Oxnard City Councilmember Bryan MacDonald on Tuesday made official what had been rumored for weeks: He is challenging current Mayor Tim Flynn for the city’s top elected post.

"I don’t like the direction the city is going in," MacDonald said in a phone interview. "I have some differences with the mayor right now; I’ve always been a person who says, ‘If you disagree with something, do something about it.’ "

MacDonald’s biggest difference with Flynn is a subject near and dear to the retired police officer — public safety.

"I think we’re putting effort in other areas, spending a lot of energy in areas outside of public safety," MacDonald said, noting Oxnard’s crime rate is rising for the first time in 18 years.

Noting it typically takes 18 months to train a newly hired officer and put them in the field, MacDonald said he wants to do something to get more officers on the street faster.

"I’d like to see a little pre-hiring," said MacDonald, who noted the department has numerous open positions because of retirements and injuries. "It’s expensive to do that, but at some point you have to say that needs to be a priority."

MacDonald’s other big difference with Flynn is management of the City Council’s meetings and its overall effectiveness.

"We’re averaging eight hours a night, and we don’t get through the entire agenda," MacDonald said. "This city can’t even buy a pickup truck without council approval; that’s a disservice to the residents."