Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Live reporting: Candidate Night - October 6, 2015

Board of Health

Tara and Gail participate
Phillip Brunelli and Donald Ranieri unable to do so

2 questions each, 1 minute for opening and closing comments

Town Clerk

all four candidates present tonight
Diane Padula-O'Neill, Beth Simon, Paul Cheli, Teresa Burr

Debbie Pellegri is time keeper, interesting role as she is current clerk but also a candidate

Changes to expand hours, improve use of technology, engage the younger folks to build new voters important were mentioned by most candidates"

School Committee

Mary Jane Scofield,  Denise L. Schultz, Vanessa A. Bilello, Anne K. Bergen, Kevin P. O'Malley, John S. Jewell, PHD, Cynthia J. Douglas, and Trevor A. Clement,

(as seated left to right)

all eight candidates present

school start time up for discussion,
common core also a topic
look at post graduate status for ideas on what needs to be done better in school, looking at the 'whole child'
enabling connections with the students, addressing the whole child
'reach around services', schools can't do it on their own
addressing the interior terrace access at the high school
encourage the administration to provide teachers with the resources that they need
"comment that School Committee is given the budget and they have to do more with less"
under no conditions would sports be stopped for safety
kudos to Town and School for working together on facilities
unfunded mandates are an issue, careful long term planning including all the stakeholders
students looking different than were in the classrooms ten years ago

increase communication between the community and School Committee, 4 minutes, there are some stop lights in this community that are longer than we have here, we need time to talk

issues today can only be solved when the community works together with the schools

importance of listening, to students, to their parents, to the teachers, to the administration

need to explore ways to bring and keep the love of learning for kids
passionate learning based upon compassion

need to attract and retain the best teachers for our children

hope to have the opportunity to serve the community again

(ten minute break to set up the Council candidates)

Town Council

Sean P. Slater, James D. Schultz, Jr, Richard W. Power, Sr., Deborah L. Pellegri, Glenn F. Jones,   James V. Gianotti, Jr., Peter E. Padula, Brett S. Feldman, Robert R. Vallee, Judith Pond Pfeffer, Thomas D. Mercer, Matthew T. Kelly, Robert D. Dellorco, Andrew M. Bissanti

(as seated from left to right)

generate taxes through commercial growth
how can the town influence the MBTA and the stations
dual vs single tax rate, working to improve the downtown
how about the progress with the downtown project
Finance Committee should be a recommendation for the Council
single tax rate is better for us
need to be smart about development; i.e. Thompson Press area being re-zoned for residential
police, fire, public works, and education need to strike a balance among the budgets
opioid addiction and the roads are the top two issues
role of Town Council vis a vi with the Town Administrator and other boards - teammates
Council needs to be a good ombudsman for the citizens
what are your strengths for this role - unbiased approach to a decision
22 years in private sector, looking to build trust, open honest collaborative model

  • center will be address next year, 2 way traffic coming next year
  • opioid abuse is an obvious one, went to too many kids wakes and they should be coming to his
  • working with the planning dept to attract companies and jobs 
  • balancing the budget and maintain the services within the budget parameters, opioid issue
  • we're open and available, we don't see too many unless there is a major issue
  • very little fat on the budget at the Franklin level, ways to try to make it better, applaud the unions for working with us salaries are the biggest portion of the budget
  • roads are always a touchy issue; we have a significant deficit to deal with the roads, OPEB issue isn't going away
  • biggest change would be having the big decision and dialog out into the open instead of in the back room
  • the job is not done yet, there are things to do. named as best community is not done without leadership and coordination
  • overrides are too easy, not a true vote as only those for it come out
  • single most important issue is managing the pace of revenues vs expenses, looking to model other communities (i.e. Marlboro) where they have a full time development director; the second most pressing issue is the roads, unfettered growth lead us to this
  • wouldn't start with revenues, that is a copout, generate community awareness, managing the budget, what areas we can target and prioritize

closing comments

  • decisions to be made in the next years to be made with temperance, serious decisions coming, about pro-Franklin
  • teamwork, dealing with all the parties, need to make the decisions for the community
  • so proud of our achievements in the past several years, balanced the budget without cuts and overrides
  • believe that I ave the knowledge and experience to spend our tax dollars wisely, work hard to improve the communication between the town boards both elected and appointed
  • 'thorn among the roses' based upon the fact presented, to provide services to all the citizens, don't have all the answers; provides above average services for a below average charge
  • added 4 firefighters and increased police protection, etc.
  • valuable to have a diversity of opinion, hard to jump right into the council, not impossible but difficulty, solar challenge, no budget campaign will use all the free sources and social media
  • open recycling center on the weekends, learned a lot in the past 2 years. not afraid to vote on the tough issues
  • this is really about taking back control of your town, if you don't stop the over development, it will be just a memory; the marijuana facility should have been a town vote not a council decision
  • the Council is responsible to reach out to cover all the sides, part of the community, family here, paying taxes here, when you have a good plan the job is half done
  • experience as Clerk for 31 years qualifies me for the Council, code book now on the website, we provide the one-one attention
  • goal for better communication and better education on the big issues, involved in the sports and other groups in town, can be a good resource
  • platform of four components: vision, cultural district, transparency and trust .... desire to contribute to give back to the community
  • bring a taxpayer focused mindset to the Council, the voice of the community should be #1 for the Council. fiscal discipline is not an option. people want to know, we owe it to our community to let them know

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