Letter: Sam Stivers for Selectman

[Ed note: My Southborough invited each candidate for a contested position in the special town election to submit a letter to voters.]

To the Editor:

My name is Sam Stivers, and I’m running for Selectman.

Some of you may know me as a current Advisory Committee member or as a former member of several other Town committees, including the St. Mark’s Golf Course Master Plan Committee, the Zoning Advisory Committee and the Zoning Board of Appeals. Here’s why a vote for me is a vote for a better Southborough.

Why Am I Running For Selectman?

  • I care a lot about Southborough’s future. I want to help retain and enhance the great things about Southborough that make us all want to live here.
  • I can help Town government be more effective. My management skills and experience can help produce better value from our tax dollars.
  • I bring a fresh, independent view to Town issues. I do my homework to understand the issues and I pay careful attention to the interests of the residents most affected by these issues.

Why Vote For Me?

  • I have a detailed understanding of Town government activities.
  • I am independent, with no conflicts of interest or obligations to special interest groups.
  • I am always ready to listen, and I work hard to understand all sides of an issue.
  • I deal effectively with complex issues and I find solutions that can address the needs of all parties.
  • I will devote the time and effort needed to do the job well.

What Important Town Issues Can My Skills Address? 

  • Oversight of annual budget and major public construction projects (Public Safety; Main Street); the Town has a $50+ million annual budget and we are projecting a $30+ million cost for the new Public Safety/Golf Course project and the Main Street Reconstruction project; I have experience managing projects of this size and I know how to get the most value from our tax dollars.
  • Develop ways to help the Town save money; my business management background can help identify new sources of revenue and ways to streamline operations to reduce operating costs.
  • Improve coordination among Town Boards, Departments, Committees and Commissions; I have extensive experience with improving coordination between organizations, which can support more efficient permitting, streamlining data flows and improving document acquisition and availability
  • Create more housing opportunities for residents—with a focus on young families and seniors; I can use my extensive knowledge of Town zoning bylaws to improve housing options for residents.
  • Find opportunities for public/private partnerships; My business experience means that I can identify opportunities to use underutilized Town resources, including both land and buildings, in connection with private investment that can benefit the residents of the Town.
  • Develop new ways to improve the Town’s cultural life, open space and recreational opportunities; I’ve spent over ten years following and participating in the Town’s planning efforts, including the Master Plan and the Open Space and Recreation Plan. I’d like to increase the Town’s investment in these areas.

My Background:

I’ve lived in Southborough for twenty years. I came here because of the rural character of the Town, the abundance of open space, the New England history, and the blend of larger businesses along Route 9 and the active small businesses in the center of Town. A town with similar advantages is hard to find elsewhere in the Metrowest area, and it’s worth preserving.

For the past 13 years I’ve spent many hours volunteering for the Town. Serving on the Advisory Committee for the past 5 years, I’ve gained a deep knowledge of the Town’s finances and fiscal operations in all municipal departments and the schools. I’m also known as the guy in the white shirt and red tie who regularly attends committee meetings across Town government, including: Selectmen, Schools, Advisory, Library, Planning, Zoning, Conservation, Open Space, Personnel, Economic Development, Technology and a variety of others. I regularly attend over 100 of these Town committee meetings each year so I can stay informed about Town government activities. I am well qualified to serve as a Selectman based on my wide knowledge of how our Town government works—I can hit the ground running on day one.

I started my career working for 6 years as a teacher. I then worked for 25 years as a management consultant, where I specialized in helping public and private sector organizations develop successful business strategies and restructure their organizations as needed to implement these strategies. For the past 15 years I’ve been a health care company manager.

My academic background includes a BA degree from Wesleyan University and a MSIA degree from Carnegie Mellon University.

In Closing:

A vote for me is a vote for a positive future for Southborough. I’ll work hard to listen to you, to maintain and improve the Town we are all proud of, and to help create a future for Southborough that builds on the many great things about Southborough that we value.

Please feel free to contact me at (508) 303-3396 or at sam@forselectman.com
For more information: www.samforselectman.com; www.facebook.com/samstiversbos

I ask for your vote on November 7th! Thank you.

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5 years ago

Hello Sam,

You had me at ‘teacher, business strategies, and health care manager’. you got one of my votes!

I see unfunded or poorly funded civil servant retirement liabilities as the key issue that is both boring and largely ignored by incumbent BOS and prospective candidates. Can you shed any light on this issue? How do other towns in MA, elsewhere effectively deal with this real threat to fiscal solvency?

Obviously growing the tax base is part of it, but not on the sole back of the residents. Too much commercial growth creates new problems (ever try to exit MA Pike in SB exit 12 in morning….. busy commuters trying to get to work at companies along Rt 9 who contribute to our tax base.) Too little commercial activities reduces traffic, but you end up looking like Detroit…. bankrupt.

Finally, how can we better leverage ‘regional’ partnerships with neighboring towns to maintain service at lower cost or enhance revenues without the blight? I wish i knew!

Louise Barron
5 years ago

I fully endorse Sam Stivers. Our interests are his interests. He will work for us. Not the other way around. He is above reproach, and has been an integral part of this town and it’s government for a long time. As for projects in this town. There have been too many that have been handled in a manner that seasoned professionals would never allow to happen. Sam is that man. Thank you Sam.

Kathy Cook
5 years ago

[Note: This comment was originally posted under the wrong story.]

]I am supporting Sam Stivers for Selectman. I have worked with Mr. Stivers on the Advisory Committee for the past five years and therefore know his qualifications well. I have worked with many other talented, dedicated volunteers on various committees but none (other than possibly John Butler) have the combination of relevant experience, talent, and energy that Mr. Stivers does. He has taught me much during our joint Advisory tenure.

We need to elect someone with Mr. Stiver’s capabilities to the BOS because there is so much that needs to be done. I believe we are heading in a good direction but we need to fill this seat with someone who can provide the leadership to keep Southborough fiscally sound yet maintain its historical character while providing an excellent place for all to live – young families with children and seniors alike.

I urge all voters to select the candidate that is best suited for the job and not make this election a popularity contest as some have been in the past. I sincerely believe that person is Mr. Stivers.

Marnie Hoolahan
5 years ago

I fully endorse Sam Stivers for Selectman.

I believe that Sam Stivers years of experience on many boards, including Zoning and Advisory while I have been a resident in Town. Sam is one of the few individuals in this town who attends and understands the issues facing our town. He approaches situations in a rational manner and will weigh the pro’s and con’s. I feel that Sam Stivers “has our backs”- he may not always vote with the “popular” vote but he provides his rationale, his internal debate and what he believes is the right solution for the challenge confronting the town. Sam is honest and has so many years of experience and quite frankly is willing to come to meetings, sit with cross-functional committees and work towards the best resolutions. I commend Sam for running and I am in full support of his candidacy! Please vote for Sam Stivers- he tells it like its is, he does his homework and he 100% of the time can explain his perspective in candid and transparent terms.

Claire Reynolds
5 years ago

I feel that Sam Stivers is the most qualified person running for Selectman. His commitment has already been demonstrated by the number of meetings that he regularly attends – over 100 meetings. His regular attendance at board and committee/commission meetings and any meeting involving town issues, has provided him with the background needed to ‘hit the ground running’ as a Selectman.

His proven dedication of educating himself on all facets of the Town’s operation will serve us best with informed leadership. The Town is facing several MAJOR, EXPENSIVE projects. The Selectmen’s Board would best serve the Town with the type of business and management experience that Sam has.

I ask that you join me in supporting Sam (as do over 40 current and past board and committee members). We are all volunteers and we know what it takes to do the job and work TOGETHER for the good of Southborough. Thank you.

Deborah Costine
5 years ago

I am wholeheartedly supporting SAM STIVERS for Selectman.
#1. reason?
I believe he is the least likely to yield to inappropriate pressures. He is the most impartial; doggedly independent.
#2. I believe he is the BEST informed candidate.
#3. He is very very honest and has impeccable integrity. This can make him a stickler for getting things right. Again, not just yielding to pressure.
#4. He can be seen several nights a week at town board meetings, on the sidelines, listening, taking notes and commenting. He knows all the back stories.
#5. All candidates claim to listen; in my experience, Sam actually does.

Freddie Gillespie
5 years ago

I support Sam 100% and know we couldn’t find a finer individual to become our next Selectmen. I ask everyone who cares about the future of Southborough, to cast your vote for Sam as he will work to protect the unique qualities and special places of the town we cherish, while supporting a thriving business community and new development, maintaining our infrastructure and schools while keeping an eye on the bottom line to help stabilize our taxes.
Sam is always willing to listen and will change his mind when presented with compelling information. Actually that is one of the key attributes that makes Sam such wonderful choice for Selectmen. I have seen Sam do a complete 180 and change his position from the one he originally strongly believed in after talking with residents and doing his research. That’s the kind of person we need leading us. And even when he does disagree with people he does so with the respectfulness required of great leadership.
Check out Sam’s list of Supporters -over 40 current and former members of town boards committees and nonprofits, all working together on Sam’s Campaign. I never seen that level of inter committee communication and cooperation in town Government in my experience. This is a group of people that don’t always agree on issues, but we agree that Sam is the Candidate we can all support! Imagine if he brings that level of cooperation to town government?
I have been to hundreds of meetings with Sam, and while we have not always been on the same side of an issue, he has been respectful, not only to me personally but to every one else in the room. Given the current tone in many meetings of town boards and committees, this is rarer than one would wish. Sam would help bring back a level of decorum sadly missing.
Please watch the video of Candidates Night at the Library where Sam was hands down the obvious candidate with the most experience to help lead our town as we embark on the next phase of our town’s development. Construction of the two of the biggest projects in our history – Reconstruction of Main Street and the Public Safety Building. Sam has the business experience to help us get value for our tax dollars; helping to ensure we achieve what we want, while keeping costs down for the taxpayer.
He is a businessman who understands Town finances, fiscally conservative to protect our tax bills yet willing to advocate spending money where the Town interests are best served. He has a balanced viewpoint.
He cares about the unique special places in Southborough that give us our identity while also supporting appropriate development in line with our values.
Sam is the complete package! We need him as our next selectman!

Mark Ford
5 years ago

Add me to the Sam list! There are other fine candidates running, but you couple his quantitative and research skills with his lack of bias and we’ll have a fine leader for the town. I wholeheartedly endorse him!

Meme Luttrell
5 years ago

I enthusiastically support Sam Stivers for Selectmen!

I first became acquainted with Sam when he was the Chair of the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) and there was a 40B proposed behind my house. My husband and I attended all the hearings and found Sam to be professional, dedicated, knowledgeable, thorough, evenhanded, patient and methodical. He was very knowledgeable about the Comprehensive Permit process, he listened intently to the concerns of the neighborhood and he worked diligently to negotiate with the proponent for conditions that would address the concerns raised.

Since that time I have come to know Sam quite well. I have worked with him and sought his opinion on various matters and I respect and admire him even more today.

Sam is methodical in his decision making. He knows the laws or rules governing any particular issue, he listens to all sides of the issue and he arrives at a decision that he believes to be right—not necessarily popular or based on pressure from any interest group.

Sam is a problem solver. He is never afraid to ask the difficult questions in order to get to the heart or truth of a matter. If he identifies an issue that needs attention he makes the issue known and works to get the matter addressed—even if that requires his rolling up his own sleeves and working on a resolution himself.

Sam can be serious, but even with his impressive resume does not take himself too seriously. Sam also has a great sense of humor which he unleashes often to bring levity to tense situations.

Through the years I have often agreed with Sam, and a few times I have disagreed with Sam, but I have always admired and respected him. Sam approaches every issue not clouded by what is popular or politically correct. Instead, he thoroughly researches, he listens to all sides and he makes decisions influenced only by the truth and the desire to do the right thing.

Because Sam is professional, dedicated, knowledgeable, thorough, evenhanded, patient, methodical and always striving to do what is right, I whole heatedly support Sam for the Board of Selectmen!

Matthew Brownell
5 years ago

I heartily endorse Sam Stivers for Selectman.

Sam brings a massive amount of knowledge and working experience in Southborough. Sam has always functioned with impeccable integrity, balance and fairness.

Also, Sam is a refreshing change from Southborough’s current top-heavy composition of lawyers who head the Board of Selectmen and ZBA – where, in my observation and opinion, Southborough has not been well-represented. Rather, in recent years, we’ve seen a troubling trend of BOS and ZBA increasing the frequency of closed, “Executive Sessions”, operating with Conflicts of Interest, and in general, working at the very perimeter of what is legally permissible.

Southborough deserves better. Much better. We deserve Sam Stivers.

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