Shrewsbury candidates address voters
Shrewsbury – Shrewsbury voters participating in the Town Election Tuesday May 5 will be making decisions in the contested races for town moderator, selectmen and School Committee members.
As we do before each election, the Community Advocate offered candidates in the contested races the opportunity to submit statements to our readers focusing on what traits and experience they feel they can bring to their respective position and what they see as the most pressing problem facing the town or schools. Their statements: Shrewsbury Town Moderator
Thomas Fiore Candidate for Shrewsbury Town Moderator
This May 5, Shrewsbury voters have an opportunity to choose a new Town Moderator for the first time in over three decades. That person should be experienced, accessible, proven, and most of all independent. I am confident that I meet this criteria and I am asking for your vote.
As a 20 year small business owner, Fiore's Auto and Truck in Shrewsbury, and a lifelong Shrewsbury resident, I look forward to this opportunity. Nine recent years as Selectman, and ten years as a Town Meeting Member have prepared me well. My wife and I are very involved in this community, raising our three children here. I have spent countless hours volunteering in many diff erent capacities, from assisting our Seniors to coaching youth sports.
Independence is the most important characteristic for a Town Moderator. This ensures fairness and equality at both Town Meeting, and in the appointment process. My independence is real and proven. I am the only candidate for Moderator that has not given or accepted endorsements from other candidates on this May 5 ballot. My campaign committee does not include former elected official s o r specia l interest group members. I have been elected to offic e b y the voters, not appointed by other elected officials. My actions while a Town Meeting Member and Selectman have always put the Town and its residents first. I will bring this same transparency, dedication, and independence to the Moderator's role.
I am not a lawyer, and it is not a requirement for Moderator. In fact, almost all Central Massachusetts Town Moderators are not lawyers. I do, however, have a great understanding of our bylaws, state statutes, and rules of order. I will utilize my experiences as a longtime small business owner, and bring those skills to this position. I am thoroughly prepared, and ready to assume the role of Moderator. I respectfully ask for your consideration and vote this May 5.
Christopher Mehne Candidate for Shrewsbury Town Moderator
I am a candidate for Moderator in Shrewsbury's annual election on Tuesday May 5th.
Having lived in Shrewsbury since 1980, I have served the town in a number of ways during the past 29 years.
I have held elected positions on the Shrewsbury School Committee and as an 18-year Town Meeting Representative. I have been appointed to the Shrewsbury Development Corporation, the Shrewsbury Public Library Foundation, and the Master Plan Steering Committee.
I have also volunteered my time and energy to a number of organizations, including Shrewsbury Youth & Family Services, the Shrewsbury Education Foundation, and the Shrewsbury Council on Aging Legal Clinic. Through these activities, I believe I have contributed to improving the quality of life for the youth, seniors and families of Shrewsbury.
My professional background as a lawyer will be a valuable asset to me and the town as Moderator. I work regularly with statutes, regulations and bylaws, and I have chaired many meetings of boards and committees. I am an eff ective leader and a good listener. I will maintain order and respect at our Town Meetings, giving all representatives an opportunity to be heard.
I am an independent and fair minded person. I am not a member of any political party or special interest group. I judge every candidate and issue by its own merits, and always seek to learn as much as possible about issues I'm asked to take positions on.
Appointing the Finance Committee and Personnel Board is a serious responsibility. If elected as Moderator I will strive to identify and appoint the best possible individuals to those bodies in a fair and open process.
I look forward to serving the Town of Shrewsbury in this very important position, and respectfully ask for your vote on May 5th.
Shrewsbury Board of Selectmen
James Kane Candidate for Shrewsbury Board of Selectmen
I believe that I have the education, experience and an inclusive approach to leadership that will best serve our community. I served 3 terms as a City Councilor and Finance Chair in Marlborough where I grew up, and I have served on the Board of Assessors, the Fiscal Study Committee and been an active volunteer in youth sports and the schools in Shrewsbury. I understand municipal finance and governance, and I am also a business executive in commercial development. My experience in both the public and private sector, combined with my ability to work with all interested parties, makes me a uniquely qualified candidate.
The most significant problem facing our town is the structural budget deficit – it creates annual budget short-falls and prevents our community from undertaking necessary capital projects and adequately funding our priorities.
We need a short-term approach to close the budget gap for this coming fiscal year:
1. Deal with facts, not assertions of false savings.
2. Prioritize – My priorities are public safety, public education and our library.
3. Consolidate basic support operations.
We then must establish a long-term strategy to deal with our overall structural budget deficit:
1. We must plan as one community and the Selectmen must meet regularly with our Finance and School Committees
2. Economic development must be our priority to realize additional commercial tax revenue.
3. We need 3, 5 and 7 year budget projections for public understanding – the community needs to know the reality we face. We must: control long-term personnel costs/ collective bargaining, regionalize and collaborate with area communities, plan for capital projects such as the library and Sherwood school, rally area municipalities and lead the charge on Beacon Hill to fight unfunded mandates that place our town budgets at risk on a regular basis.
Andrew MacIsaac Candidate for Shrewsbury Board of Selectmen
I am running for Selectman because I love this community and I want to preserve our great municipal services, high quality public safety and tremendous school system that all make this such a great place to live, work and raise our families. Through my professional life, I have gained extensive experience working with and learning from State and Local Governments leaders from across the country. This has given me a very strong foundation in understanding how through innovation, collaboration, operational transformation, and eff ective leadership, local government can be a positive catalyst in bringing communities together to solve very challenging issues. I have seen firsthand that beyond just having a strategic vision, local government leaders must bring a willingness to implement dynamic change and a commitment to achieving results if they want to find meaningful solutions for the future. I believe the new perspective I will bring to our town government will help build a brighter and sustainable future for Shrewsbury.
We face a much different world than we did 10 to 15 years ago. Forces such as changing demographics, rising energy and environmental concerns, the emerging and evolving use of technology, global competition, and economic instability are forcing governments at all levels to find new, more efficien t and innovative ways to operate and deliver services. With cuts in core services like public safety, public education, the library and social services, Shrewsbury needs to find new approaches, new ways to collaborate and more efficiencie s s o tha t w e can build a sustainable future and address these forces of change. We need leadership that will be open to defining a vision and collaborating so the transformative change we need can be implemented. As selectman, I would push for a comprehensive energy conservation and alternative energy plan to reduce costs. I would implement a performance management process to set goals and measure the return on taxpayer investment and I would look for areas where more pervasive use of technology can drive further efficiencie s an d cos t savings.
Rashid Shaikh Candidate for Shrewsbury Board of Selectmen
There are two main schools of thought in town.
1. Raise taxes to preserve services
2. Cut services to keep lower Taxes
But there is a third alternative. Improve services by getting more for our tax dollar.
In a $90 million Shrewsbury budget, we have a $2 million gap that can be bridged with better contract negotiation, department consolidation, and best business practices instead of cutting services. Utilizing my advanced engineering and business skills I have reviewed each line item of the FY2010 budget and found 20+ specific places to save millions of dollars. We have lots of political experience in the Board; it's time to bring engineering, negotiation and change management expertise to the Board.
I, Rashid M. Shaikh, live at 24 Sheryl Drive with my wife, Humaira, and our three sons, ages 4, 9 and 11.
Shrewsbury is my home; I strongly believe in quality of education and services, but that can be achieved with better management and not necessarily with increased taxes.
By Leveraging My Skills and Relations Shrewsbury will be able to:
1. Save Multi Million $$$ in Contracts
2. Bring More Business & Govt. aid
3. Develop Industry Support for Schools
4. Initiate eGovt. & Energy Conservation
5. Properly fund important services such as Police, Fire, Schools, and Library
Shrewsbury School Committee
Steve Levine Candidate for School Committee
If you share my belief that children are the future of Shrewsbury, then you know that having a top school system in our community is something we all will benefit from in the long run. At the same time, we must be focused on operating in an efficient , eff ective , and fiscally responsible manner – especially given the current economic crisis.
The Shrewsbury School system is, by far, the largest "business" in town, with over $50 million in expenses, 600 employees, and 18,000 clients. With 15 years of experience with my three sons at all levels of the School System, over 20 years running my own successful business, and a true love of children, I feel that I'm well qualified to take on the role during these challenging times, and hit the ground running. I currently serve on the Board of Directors of two nonprofit organizations focused on the needs of children and families in our region, and have vast experience in navigating tough challenges and bringing together people with seemingly diverse interests – creating winwin situations for all.
We are going through a critical time – not just in Shrewsbury, but throughout the nation. Clearly we need to ensure that our schools receive the funding they need to educate our children properly. At the same time, we need to recognize that we cannot just "tax our way" out of the problem, and have it go away. There are global issues at stake here that go well beyond the borders of Shrewsbury.
What we need is sound fiscal management, experienced business professionals at the helm, an open dialog with the public, respect for the great work our teachers perform, and the ability to think outside the box for new solutions to old problems that we've been dealing with long before these economic times came upon us.
Join with me as I put all that I've learned to the test, and work to lead our schools through these unprecedented conditions, to protect our teachers, our students and the very future of our community itself.
Robin Snyder Candidate for School Committee
Shrewsbury's schools achieve amazing things. We have talented and dedicated teachers, smart administrators, and bright students. What we do not have is adequate funding. Shrewsbury's per pupil spending, at 309th out of 329 districts, is near the bottom in Massachusetts. Because our funding has not kept pace with the costs of education, Shrewsbury has been forced to eliminate programs, increase class sizes, and reduce services. This is the exact opposite of the direction we should be heading.
The School Committee cannot determine the amount of money available to the schools; that is the job of Town Meeting Members. However, the Committee can encourage investment in education by wisely allocating the available budget, as well as making a credible and compelling case for increased funding. To this end, as a School Committee member, I will:
1. Provide clear, concise, and frequent communications to update residents on matters facing the schools. Ensure that communication is two-way, and that the schools are mindful of and responsive to citizen questions and concerns.
2. Collaborate with other towns to explore ways to regionally address student needs, share costs, and effectively lobby Boston for relief from unfunded mandates.
3. Work with our town officials to develop a long-term plan for meeting student needs and ensuring that we maximize our Chapter 70 funding.
Meeting the above commitments requires a combination of talents: excellent research, analytical, and writing skills; the ability to listen and seek out the expertise of others; the willingness to put in the time. My experience as an environmental consultant, Town Meeting Member, Shrewsbury League of Women Voters Vice President, and school volunteer have provided me with the skills; my four small boys provide me with the motivation.
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