[Ed note: What follows is a statement authored by Leo Bartolini who is running for a seat on the Board of Selectmen. If you’re running for a town office this year and would like to post a statement on My Southborough, drop me a line at email@example.com. Town elections are on Monday, May 14. You can find a list of candidates here.]
In Southborough we’re at a crossroads. Yes, Routes 9, 30 and 85 are crossroads, but we’re also at an important point in our history. While we must move forward as a community we also must do so in a manner which is in the best interest of the town. In recent years we’ve enjoyed relatively stable taxes but that’s unlikely to continue. If we’re to keep a town in which families are proud to call home, we must explore ways to expand our tax base. Making our home inviting to businesses along Route 9 or our town borders, while insisting upon designs that blend within the town, will foster an improved economy that will help keep taxes down, cover future services for an increased population, and provide for a surplus in our budget.
Before we can realize our longer-term goals, getting our local government house in order internally is important. Some members of the community feel disconnected from the process and feel as though their concerns are falling on deaf ears of some town leaders. If we had accepted the proposal to hire a Town Manager, others feared that the divide between the town and the people would increase. Different governing boards and subcommittees within the town even have a history of bickering in a manner contrary to the best interest of the community – sometimes even requiring the board to bring in a third party. Any one of these three concerns would be undesirable by themselves, but for all three it is unacceptable. If elected to the Board of Selectmen, I will not only be a voice between the town’s people and the town government, but also work to improve compromise and communication.
I believe I am qualified to bring about a more efficient and open government for our town. I’m a life-long resident of the town, am proud to have sent my two sons through Southborough Public Schools, have spent all of my life working in the private sector, and currently own two businesses within Southborough. During my business career, I’ve participated in large-scale negotiations with labor unions and worked with the Massachusetts Highway Department and many other State agencies.
For the better part of the last 26 years I have been involved in town government. For nine years I was an elected member of the Planning Board. As a member of the Planning Board, I also served on SHOPC and as liaison to the Conservation Committee. We wrote the affordable housing bylaw that was approved at Town Meeting. During my time on the Planning Board many improvements were accomplished including the hiring of our first Town Planner. As a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) I have worked very hard to build consensus amongst the board members on controversial issues. I was appointed as a resident at-large to the ZAC (Zoning Action Committee) Committee to draft a long-overdue revision to the local bylaws which will be brought to Town Meeting. On the Drafting Committee for the Town Manager Legislation I proposed an option at Town Meeting to indefinitely postpone the warrant article so that it can be considered at a later Town Meeting. I did so because I believe the proposal gave up too much control to A Town Manager and because the Selectmen can delegate more day-to-day activities to the Town Administrator.
Over the past 26 years, I have attended hundreds of Selectman’s meetings to remain informed of the activities affecting the town. The combination of my private industry experience and my public service within the town has shown a strong record of leadership and the ability to work with others. I am committed to remaining open to new ideas, to being consistent, honest and transparent, and always working towards the best interest of the town.
I feel that my background, experience, and memory of what has occurred in the last 26 years will be an asset to the Board of Selectmen. I sincerely hope you will vote for me on May 14, 2012 and please, if you see me around town, don’t hesitate to share your concerns and ideas. I always enjoy hearing feedback from neighbors.
Leo Bartolini, Jr.