I am Unenrolled, preferring to adhere to an approach than to a platform.
I tend to take a careful and considered approach to most things. I like to have issues laid out and to be able to learn their subtleties and gather input and opinion prior to acting. This may be the Product Manager in me, or it could be the pragmatist that knows that there are often many sides to an argument, and that only an evaluation of all aspects can provide the basis for a satisfactory outcome. I will bring this approach to my work on the Board. I certainly have the passion to make a stink and to go against the flow when I believe that it is right to do so. But I will always work as a member of the team regardless of my position, and will judge all my actions and decisions against the best interests of the Town.
Business Friendly Regulation and Promotion
I have been amazed at the consistency with which Groton’s business community reports the town as being unfriendly to business. I know that many feel that this is not so, and that government works hard to help. Indeed I have seen and heard commitment to business from many in our Town’s government. But if business owners feel that there are obstacles to their success or missed opportunities to improve their success, we should do what we can to help when reasonable.
I have spoken with many business owners who report that their efforts to comply with the spirit of our regulations are undermined by enforcement of the letter of the law. I would like to focus on finding ways to make our regulations, and their enforcement, fit our objectives. We should free ourselves from blind adherence to rules that create unintended consequences and limit opportunity for those who are subject to them, and the town that they are created to protect.
I believe that there are some simple ways for the Selectmen to recognize and promote local business. As an example, the Board has a practice of assigning a liaison to the various Boards and Committees. I would like to see a similar practice for local businesses. One Selectman should be responsible for visiting a business every week and returning to the next Board meeting, accompanied by the owner if they like, with feedback from their visit. The exposure to the public would benefit the business; and the ability for the Board to regularly hear the issues that local businesses face, would drive home the importance of these issues and would make creativity and action more likely.
Central Fire Station
I participated in a number of Town Meetings to consider the proposals to site the new Central Fire Station at 279 Main St. I was less opposed to the specific site, than I was to the apparent process that had been followed leading up to the recommendation. I was concerned that a suboptimal process may have led to poor recommendations and was sure that a more thorough process may may have led to a different recommendation. Let me say that I know that there were dedicated people participating in those efforts. I know full well that they worked very very hard to produce the best deliverable, and that it is easy to poke holes from the outside. Still I felt that there was not comfortable with what I saw. I joined a number of other residents in opposing the recommendation which ultimately did not pass at Town Meeting, causing the Town to seek an alternative site.
Some months later, I was asked to participate in the selection of an architect to evaluate a new site and to draw up plans for estimating the size and cost of a new station on the proposed site. I was flattered to participate, and to be selected to Chair the Committee. Together we saw the focus on a single new site as a risk that Groton may be in danger of repeating its previous mistake. We offered to expand the scope of our mission to provide a multi-site evaluation so that we could compare a number of viable sites through a process that the town could see as comprehensive, methodical, and open to their input and scrutiny. We will make a recommendation to the Board at the conclusion of our evaluation and the town will judge the quality of our efforts and our process.
Here is a link to Groton’s Center Fire Station page dedicated to that effort.