Shrewsbury – Two candidates are vying for one seat on the Shrewsbury Board of Selectmen in the May 1 town election. Here, in their own words, are their bios and thoughts on four issues:
James F. Kane (incumbent) – He and his wife, Hannah, have three children in the Shrewsbury Public Schools. A graduate of College of the Holy Cross, Jim received a Master's Degree from Clark University and served Governor William F. Weld as Deputy Chief Policy Advisor and in Washington D.C. as Deputy Executive Director /CFO of the Republic Governors Association. As Senior Vice President of Real Estate with A.D. Makepeace Company, he is responsible for all land planning, permitting and development of company holdings. Jim is active in town, coaching his children in baseball and soccer and raising funds for the rebuilding of the WWI Monument.
Benjamin W. Tartaglia Sr. – My wife, of 47 years, Lillian, and I have lived in Shrewsbury for 36 years. Our three sons attended Shrewsbury Public Schools. I have an MBA, a BS in Industrial Management and Doctoral studies in management. I am founding Chair of Seniors for Responsible Taxation. My experience includes manufacturing, healthcare, insurance, banking, retail, education, 10 years teaching MBA and undergraduate college classes, multi-million-dollar budgets and managing 50 people, and, now, thanks to the voters, Municipal.
What specific career or personal experience in your past do you feel prepares you for this position and why?
JK – As both a businessman and a resident with nine years” experience on the City Council in my hometown Marlborough and a current member of the Shrewsbury Board of Selectmen where I have lived for 14 years, I possess significant experience in both the public and private sectors. I know how to balance budgets from the private sector but understand the complexities of public bidding and collective bargaining that greatly complicate our town's operation and financial realities. I also have first-hand private-sector development experience and have used my experience to take proactive steps to ensure our town rezoned the Glavin Center and the USPS Facility to protect our town's long-term interests.
BT – I worked for and with the best executives in the country. Their combined guidance gave me a unique management perspective. In 30 plus years experience, I held management and consulting positions in large and small, private, public, state and non-profit organizations. I managed multi-million-dollar-budgets and 50 subordinates. Community work includes: three years Seniors for Responsible Taxation; three years Board of Selectmen; seven years with Jaycees and President of professional associations. I have owned and operated 3 small businesses.
What level of involvement do you think residents should play in local politics?
JK – Residents need and should be more involved at all levels of our government and the reason may be surprising. Without the independent-thinking resident getting involved, the field is clear for those with an axe to grind to get involved and push their particular, focused agenda, potentially to the detriment of others. Without the independent voice, the self-interested voice drives the agenda and can derail public debate and result in further lessening of independent involvement. I's shocked that only one race is contested this year and that Town Meeting slots remain open.
BT – Residents should keep informed regarding town issues; they should speak to their neighbors and request information from town officials; they should form their own opinion, making those opinions known; they should write letters to the editors and commentaries; they should hold officials responsible; and most importantly, they should VOTE for those candidates best representing their considered views.
In many towns, the school budget is 50 percent or more of the overall budget. What ideas do you have that will help ensure equity, so that the needs of the schools as well as the town will be met?
JK – Education of our children is paramount to our future and our property values. The existing financing plan is broken. Although standards and mandates are dreamt up by state and federal officials, local budgets take the brunt of implementation as neither the state or federal level maintains financial promises with funding for such mandates. I would do the following – Update and Revamp Education Reform – the state should assume the cost of all special education and mandated programs and ensure a statewide foundation budget to protect communities from the costs of residential development.
BT – I believe the educational model needs modification. The School budget is 70 % personnel costs. The town cannot sustain the annual growth in school expenses. Controlling school personnel costs, while providing a good education, is the challenge. We need the creative efforts of our professional education and administration staff to meet that challenge. Factors include: educational technology advances, decreasing student population and funding other town departments. The plan must address short, medium and long range needs.
What US political figure, local or national, past or present, do you admire the most and why?
JK – I admire Teddy Roosevelt for his action oriented approach to problems facing our people at his time and for his understanding of how to balance economic growth and conservation of our natural resources. His sense of free market growth and a reasonable balance with nature is greatly needed in our economy and regulatory environment today. Without his approach, we are regulating ourselves into second rate economy stifled by over regulation and intrusion.
BT – George Washington (obvious); Abraham Lincoln (obvious); Harry (give “em hell) Truman (saved millions of American lives); Dwight Eisenhower (WWII service and interstate highway system); Barry Goldwater (true conservative); Richard Nixon (got us off gold standard and China relations); Ronald Reagan (Berlin Wall and collapsed Soviet Union); William Clinton (surplus budget); Bush “41 (WWII pilot and CIA Chief, 1st Gulf War, and sky diving at 80); and “Tip” O”Neil (true Democrat and classy).