Please provide a brief biographical background on yourself. What should voters know about you?
I have lived in Southborough for 27 years. I attended Cornell and Michigan where I earned Bachelors and Masters degrees in economics. I am a former Scout Leader, Basketball Coach and Soccer Coach. My children all attended our schools. I have 2 grandchildren, a grandniece and 2 grandnephews in our school system. I spent 40 years in consulting and technology. I founded a specialized wireless company and grew it to profitability and then sold it. I am currently retired.
I have been a past member and chair of the Capital Budget Committee, Advisory Committee, Town Administrator By-Law Committee, and the Public Safety Building Study Committee, as well as authoring several by-laws.
Recently I have volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and am President of the Pine Hill Meadow Trust which manages of open space in the Pine Hill Road neighborhood. With my wife I founded the Pine Hill Meadow Garden, a neighborhood garden devoted to growing fresh produce for food pantries and shelters including the Southborough Food Pantry.
Why are you running?
My goal for the Select Board is to get us back to a normal, reasonable, and respected municipal government. I will respect Town Meeting as an effective and thoughtful partner in how we govern ourselves. I will resist attempts to diminish Tow Meeting’s authority. I also will explore barriers to residents’ attendance at Town Meeting in order to broaden access.
I will make expanding our sidewalk network a priority. Particularly in areas of town that have historically been overlooked. I also want to focus on making progress in meeting our affordable housing goals.
I want to focus on the basics of fixing potholes, plowing the roads, and making sure we have high-quality, cost-effective services. While Southborough is on average a well-off town, some portion of every dollar we spend comes from an individual or family of modest means that will struggle to pay their tax bill. I want to be able to look those folks in the eye and say we have spent their tax dollars carefully.
In regards to recent action regarding the St. Mark’s Street park and regional dispatch center, how should citizen voices be integrated prior to Town Meeting?
The lessons from each of the St. Marks Park and Regional Dispatch are quite different. However, I believe that Town Meeting members should be given more heads up about issues we are about to face. I think a brief presentation (5-10 min) from the Select Board at the beginning of each Town Meeting on issues facing the town which may not be on the warrant would be in order as well as how to find out more about them and how to get involved. Putting presentations and budget details on the town website, in an easily accessible format, site prior to town meetings would also help.
Town leaders should engage with the public on the various blogs and forums available in town.
What are the lessons learned from the St. Mark’s Street park project? If elected, how should the board use these lessons moving forward?
The biggest lesson that came out of this debacle is that “Just because something might be legal does not make it right.” The crux of the issue revolves around the so called “License Agreement” that led to the work done on St. Marks land. This was a clear end around Town Meeting’s authority to approve real estate transactions. It was an affront to a body that has been unerringly generous to the various executive boards asking for taxing authority to fund their budgets and was seen as such by the body. The Select Board needs to treat Town Meeting as a respected partner in how we govern ourselves, not an obstacle that stands it its way.
What are the three biggest issues facing Southborough?
Labor Costs – We have a lot of good people who work for us in town. The reality is that labor is very expensive, likely to become more expensive, and increasingly hard to find. Over the next 10-15 years we need to review all operations and supplement services with technology and new modes of service delivery.
Infrastructure Investment – Over the past 20 years we have invested millions along Rt 30 between Chestnut Hill and the RR tracks by Mauro’s. I want to redirect our infrastructure investment priorities out towards our neighborhoods. That means a focus on sidewalks, parks, fields, and playgrounds. We need to finalize a plan for our K-8 facilities, particularly Neary and Woodward. This, initially, is the responsibility of the K-8 School Committee but this decision will ripple through all our public investment plans.
Senior Population Growth – The fastest growing population in town is Seniors. This trend is expected to continue and will impact the mix of services we offer in the future.