[Note: What follows is a statement authored by John Rooney who is running for a seat on the Board of Selectmen. No endorsement is implied. If you’re running for a town office this year and would like to post a statement on My Southborough, drop me a line. Town elections will be held on May 10. A list of candidates can be found here.]
My name is John Rooney, and today I will be turning in nomination papers for the office of Selectman in the Town of Southborough. I believe that the uniqueness of Southborough is its rural nature and its honest, hard working and genuine residents, and I believe our town is best served by a competitive race of competent and accomplished individuals. A number of you already know and support me, for which I am grateful, and I hope to meet many more of you over the next several weeks.
By way of background, I grew up in the City of Waltham in a small family in which my father was the Chief of Police. After graduating from high school in 1975, college in 1979, and law school in 1983, I became an Assistant District Attorney in Middlesex County where I prosecuted serious felony cases.
In 1986, I joined the law firm of Melick, Porter & Shea, LLP, a six lawyer firm with a single office in Boston. Presently, I am an owner of that law firm, which currently employs approximately eighty-five tremendous people, with offices in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. In addition to being licensed to practice law in Massachusetts, I am licensed and actively practice law in the states of New Hampshire, Connecticut and in the District of Columbia.
Most people know me as an independent thinker who approaches issues pragmatically, creatively, and with an abundance of common sense. They know I am not a politician. I have no interest in stepping into a higher office beyond serving the residents and taxpayers of Southborough.
What I am most proud of is my family. I have been married for twenty years to my beautiful wife Janelle, and have two children in whom I take great pride – Alexandra, a junior at Algonquin Regional High School, and Connor, an eighth-grader at Trottier Middle School. I have lived in the same home on Edgewood Road in Southborough since 1991. I am the consummate, die-hard Red Sox fan.
Southborough faces significant challenges in the years to come, as we deal with economic recovery and finite revenues. The town must prevent unnecessary spending and review budgets carefully. At the same time, we must find new and creative ways to increase revenue without relying on an override to meet budgetary needs. We cannot be apathetic as department budgets are cut, teachers are let go, valued town employees and administrators resign, and essential town services are further reduced. The future success of Southborough requires everyone to be an active participant.
As an owner of a large business, budget concerns relating to increasing revenues and curtailing expenses is a part of my day-to-day activity. Employee hiring, firing and evaluations are a constant. Negotiation, compromise and open discourse are essential. Operating and managing a town is not something that can be addressed unilaterally by a three member Board or in a vacuum. If elected, I would urge the Board of Selectman to partner closely with this town’s talented department heads, administrators, employees and volunteers, and invest in them duties and responsibilities they are so very qualified to perform. In order to be effective, the Board must have the respect and support of the residents, tax payers and town employees, and all of us must work together as a unified team.
Making a difference requires actual participation. Leadership style needs to be participative and investing people in the decision-making process causes them to become committed. By energizing people and encouraging participation, we are all able to make a difference.
People have asked me why am I running and how can I possibly think I can make a difference? My response is simple, and is best reflected in the well known and often repeated story of the Starfish:
On a beautiful, sunny day, a man was walking along a beach. Off in the distance he could see a person going back and forth between the surf’s edge and the beach. As the man approached he could see that there were thousands of starfish stranded on the sand after the tide receded. The man was stuck by the apparent futility of the task. There were far too many starfish and it was clear most of them would perish. Yet the person continued picking up starfish one by one and throwing them into the surf. As the man approached he said, “You must be crazy. There are miles of beach covered with starfish. You can’t possibly make any difference.” The person looked at the man, then stooped down, picked up one more starfish and threw it back into the ocean. He turned back to the man and said, “I guess it made a difference to that one.”
I have not run for any political office before. I am not running against any one person, but rather I am running for a position. If you believe it an absolute prerequisite that you elect someone with a political background then, respectfully, I am not your candidate.
On the other hand, if you are interested in someone who is not a politician, but rather a public servant that will listen to you, that will be accountable, and will make decisions based upon common sense; if you believe it important for someone to have experience in operating and managing a multi-million dollar business; for someone who has dealt with and continues to deal with decreasing revenues and increasing expenses; and someone who believes the strength of Southborough is based not on the composition of the Board of Selectmen, but rather upon the talent and wisdom of the extremely competent and passionate department heads, town personnel, and volunteers, then I humbly ask you to support me for a position on the Board of Selectmen.
Finally, unless I am convinced of its necessity, I have no intention of having political signs littering your lawns and scattered alongside the roadways of this great town. Nor will you be directed to a website and asked to contribute money or to “blog.” If I cannot earn your vote based upon my words, experience and actions, I do not deserve it simply because of signage or outspending another candidate.
No matter whom you decide to vote for on Monday, May 10, 2010, I encourage everyone to exercise their right to vote. The future of this town depends on you, not to mention the remaining stranded Starfish.
Thank you in advance for your consideration.
John F. Rooney, III
March 22, 2010