Northborough – Four candidates will be on the ballot for two seats on the Board of Selectmen in the Tuesday, June 30 Annual Town Election. The Community Advocate has invited the candidates to share a bit about their backgrounds and why they are running for selectmen. Here, in their own words, are the answers from the candidates – incumbent Jason Perreault, Thomas Dalton, Lisa Maselli and Scott Rogers.
Please give a brief introductory statement of your background.
Thomas Dalton – Due to the fact that I am disabled, I reside in Northborough Housing. Living here offers me a different view of the needs of the community of Northborough. You see I have a seizure disorder and previously a stroke. I have a different campaign than most because I’ve not only had medical experience through electronic billing and claims adjustments with extensive training in the HIPAA law but I’ve also been a patient who learned along the way. During this time of COVID-19, you need someone that has an understanding of the issues facing residents of Northborough.
Lisa Maselli – I am running for Board of Selectmen. Caring about our town and the people in it, I want to help keep Northborough a safe and healthy place in which to live. I have written many bylaws and helped residents navigate through the municipal process when facing neighborhood issues. Our voters should feel confident in the future that they will have a representative who will listen to their concerns, ignite the stalled progress of economic development and downtown strategic initiatives, implement safety signals, sidewalks and traffic calming, motivate green initiatives, in addition to being concerned with the budget.
Jason Perreault – I’m the current Chairman of the Northborough Board of Selectmen. My family moved to Northborough in 1996, primarily for its character, school system, and location. For the last 20 years I’ve been a leader and contributor on a number of Town committees, following a progression of increasing responsibility, most significantly through two terms as Selectman, preceded by ten years of service, seven as Chair, on the Financial Planning Committee. More detail about my past service can be found at jp4bos.com and on Facebook page “Jason Perreault for Northborough Board of Selectmen”.
Scott Rogers – I currently work at UMass Medical School and my wife Mary is a school nurse at Melican; we have lived in Northborough since 1995 after my end of duty in the US Air Force. I am dedicated to community service and volunteerism. I served on the board of Northborough Youth Soccer and guided High School volunteers as part of Young Neighbors in Action. I am a member of the Operations Committee for Community Harvest Project which supplies fresh produce to the Worcester County Food Bank. More background information can be found at https://www.facebook.com/RogersOfNorthborough
What do you feel in your experience would make you the best candidate for this position?
Dalton – I am the best candidate for this position because I live right smack dab in the center of town. I don’t drive. I walk and I know our town. I’m the guy in the pit who can run the show from the ground up because that’s where I am. I understand what’s going on around me and I sit, stand, stop, and listen. I have talked in person extensively to the town farmers, the small businesses, Algonquin’s principal, teachers, and more. This is a time like no other and I will be quick to adapt to these rapid changes.
Maselli – My experience is well rounded and extensive with over 35 years of civic participation. A list starting in 1985 with the Southborough Business Association and continuing onto today with the Northborough Design Review Board, can be found on my Facebook page: Lisa Maselli Northborough Selectman. I have listened to the peoples’ desire to keep their schools excellent, have their tax money used wisely and to revitalize their downtown. As a proven creative problem solver I will look with clear eyes on where we are and where we want to be and utilize my talents to help steer through the Covid-19 pandemic.
Perreault – My commitment to do what’s needed. Regularly attending Town Meeting long before I was on a committee at the front of the room. Authoring the K-8 School Building Study Committee’s report. Launching the Elderly and Disabled Taxation Fund Committee. Analyzing state law and regulations to help the Town gain an additional $1.7M of reimbursement for the ARHS renovation project. Leading Selectmen’s effort to establish bylaws prohibiting recreational marijuana facilities. Offering verbal testimony at a Department of Agricultural Resources hearing, critical of proposed regulation amendments for farm-based composting. When I’ve left a committee, it was because its work was concluded, or to take on a new role of greater responsibility; never because I lost interest or wore out my welcome. I arrive early. I stay late. I show up.
Rogers – As a member of the Northborough Financial Planning Committee, I currently serve in an advisory capacity to the Board of Selectmen, Appropriations Committee and Town Administrator for financial trend analysis, long-term capital improvement planning and current-year capital purchases. My knowledge of our town’s financial management will be critical as a Selectman during this period of financial distress.
What committees would you most enjoy working with if you were elected for this position and why?
Dalton – There are so many great committees and choices which are so necessary for both the health and continued growth of our town. The best committee for me to be on would be the BOS Interview Committee for I am amazing at leadership and choice selection. Do you often think that you would be suited for another position but you’re stuck because no one sees your potential? Sometimes I’m weak but you have to do it.
The other committee that I’ll choose because it was suggested to choose two is the Trails Committee. I previously said I walk, didn’t I?
Maselli – As a select-person, I am looking forward to creating and participating in the Implementation Committee to carry forward the peoples wishes identified in the 2020 Master Plan; to create and work with a Downtown Revitalization Committee to bring the town offices back to their original location at 4 West Main Street; be instrumental in a resurgence of prosperous businesses for all to enjoy. I would also like to introduce a Green Initiative Committee to incorporate sustainability into all new projects. Most importantly, I am looking forward to serving harmoniously with the Select Board to represent our constituents’ needs and wants.
Perreault – The selectmen each act as liaison to a subset of the other Town boards and committees. I serve as liaison to the Planning Board and was the Selectmen’s representative on the Master Plan Steering Committee, whose work is now concluded. The next phase for the Master Plan will be to create an implementation committee to begin acting on the recommendations; I anticipate maintaining a close association with that work.
Rogers – I look forward to working with the Planning Board as projects from the Northborough Master Plan are prioritized for implementation. We have an opportunity for developing downtown, supporting commercial development, improving public facilities, and enhancing our open spaces. Although we may not have funds for immediate starts, now is a good time for more detailed planning.
What is the primary problem you feel the town is facing and what do you think should be done to rectify it?
Dalton – The problem with the town is a complete economic meltdown after an unforeseen medical pandemic. Nothing like what’s been part of our country for over 100 years. The richest person in town to the poorest person were all on the same boat as it was sinking. The answer to everything should have been an honest answer, “WE DON’T KNOW.” Instead, they kept on quoting HIPAA. The only number that matters when the town’s on fire is ‘HEALTH’. All other matters needed to wait. Taking my Dad’s lead as an MIT and Raytheon man we build a wall. (Create a plan to fit daily circumstance.)
Maselli – We are living through a never before experienced pandemic. There are no definitive past experiences we can rely on to prepare for our health and economic future. It is a collective worry and we will have to work together to stop the losses and rebuild intelligently. For starters, previously appropriated capital expenditures need to be carefully reviewed to see how the post-crisis economic environment impacts our revenues. This is the time for innovation, not past history. We have seen what business as usual looks like, now a fresh perspective is necessary in the unchartered waters we face today. I can offer that and ask for your vote for Board of Selectmen.
Perreault – COVID-19 has had an enormous impact on health, employment, education, commerce, and social contact. It is difficult to forecast how long these effects will linger and how quickly life will return to the “old normal”. The Town’s financial methodology implemented over the last decade has minimized our vulnerability and puts Northborough on much firmer financial footing to weather this storm than many of our surrounding communities. We need to stay calm, understand all factors as fully as we can, and plan and act rationally; not rashly and prematurely based on unfounded assumptions about what the future may hold. The entire community must collaborate to protect our health, support necessary adaptations to education delivery, and provide a safety net for neighbors most in need.
Rogers – I am troubled, however, by what seems to be a division in Northborough. Some see the consensus between town staff, boards, and committees in the last 10 years as everyone working together towards a common purpose. Others have developed a perception that decisions are simply rubber-stamped. I have heard dichotomies of Leadership vs. Followership and Status Quo vs. Change. My objective is to reduce this division, listen to all recommendations, and make constructive changes when warranted.