The following represents the candidate’s responses to the Current’s Select Board-specific questions. Jump back to Election Guide
Years in Marblehead: 61 years
Occupation/education: I am a native Marbleheader, born in the Mary Alley Hospital and educated in the Eveleth, Glover and Marblehead Junior and Senior High Schools, class of 1979. I graduated from Bentley College and am president and CEO of the National Grand Bank of Marblehead.
Appointed positions and/or elected offices: Select Board since 2005
What are the three reasons/issues motivating your decision to run for election?
Just one, delivering the high level of service that the residents of Marblehead expect and deserve, while providing increases in pay within the budgetary constraints for our town employees.
Do you believe the $2.5 million override will pass? How are you actively persuading the town to support it? In the event that it does not pass, what alternatives do you propose?
I do not believe the override will pass. For the past 18 years, the town has paid all its obligations with revenue collected, including negotiated step and cost of living increases, purchased rolling stock and maintained assets with no layoffs. This year, department heads have identified positions that can remain unfilled as well as staff cuts that will minimally impact the delivery of services to Marblehead citizens to again match revenues with expenses.
What measures would you propose to increase our town’s revenues without excessively burdening taxpayers?
Any increase would be considered excessive to the most vulnerable in our town. The Select Board has been on a multi-year path to analyse and address our capital needs and to identify and plan for projects facing the town. With a $100 million budget, planning does not happen overnight but combining our work with the Government Finance Officers Association and our new ClearGov software, which will give us more detailed budget reporting and review capabilities, we will be doing everything possible to run our town as tight as possible. Ultimately, the taxpayer will decide the level of services vs. tax rate that they are comfortable with.
How would you ensure the long-term financial health of our town, extending beyond the immediate deficit?
Our work with the Collins Center earned us the Government Finance Officers Association’s Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for the town’s FY 2022 budget. This year, we authorized the purchase of ClearGov to allow for the most comprehensive budget analysis with a robust public facing budget portal. Together, they represent the best in transparent planning and budgeting tools to enhance our capital planning and financial controls. Once implemented, this will give citizens the ability to access and review town finances in real-time.
Could you share your philosophy on maintaining reserves and their significance in situations like the present budget deficit?
Building reserves is a function of conservative budgeting, responsible contracts and tight expense control. Though reserves are desirable, without set goals and restrictions, they can be a pool of money looking for a purpose.
What areas of municipal government do you think the town could give more attention to?
The building department.
As real estate prices continue to soar, Marblehead homes appear increasingly unaffordable for many police officers, teachers and other public servants. This also affects those who grew up in town but cannot afford to return “home.” To what extent do you consider this a problem, and what potential solutions can you propose?
Housing costs and affordability are an enormous issue throughout the country, even more of a problem in Marblehead. Moving forward with accessory dwelling units is a good first step. Partnering with quasi-government agencies to develop our excess municipal buildings is another area worth considering with input from neighbors that would be directly affected.