Candidate Update: Qualifications and Goals

Bedford's 2013 caucus nominees
Bedford’s 2013 caucus nominees will be on the Town Election ballot on Saturday, March 9

Compiled by Julie McCay Turner

The Bedford Citizen posed a pair  of questions to each of the candidates who will appear on the Town Election ballot next Saturday, March 9.

  • Question 1: What prepares you for service on the board to which you seek election?
  • Question 2:  What do you hope to accomplish during your next/first term?

Answers from the candidates for Moderator, Selectmen, School Committee, Planning Board, Assessor, and Shawsheen Regional School Committee. The Citizen received no replies from candidates for Housing Authority or Library Trustee, all of whom are unopposed.

Moderator

Betsey J. Anderson

Question 1: I have served in local government in Bedford since 1977 and have gained much experience during this time.  Prior to being elected as Moderator, I was a member of the Finance Committee for seven years and a Selectman for eleven years including three terms as chair.  As a member of these committees, I attended all Town Meetings and presented budgets and articles.  At the Annual Town Meeting in 1999, I was elected Moderator and have served fourteen years in this position.

As Moderator, I have a deep respect for the institution of town meeting, a thorough knowledge of our local by-laws, Bedford’s town meeting customs and parliamentary procedure as defined in Town Meeting Time.  I am a member and officer of the Massachusetts Moderators’ Association.  I regularly attend the Association’s annual meeting and workshops to learn about changes in the laws relating to town meeting and new techniques and practices used by other moderators in Massachusetts.

Question 2: During my next term, I hope to encourage more citizens to participate in this unique form of democracy.  Open Town Meeting allows all registered voters to vote on the Bedford’s annual operating budget and on changes to local by-laws, amendments to the Town’s Charter, allocation of funds for capital projects, and use of community preservation funds for our town. Having a direct impact on one’s taxes and the future of the community is a rare opportunity in today’s world.   As Moderator, I attempt to allow full discussion of the issues, respecting the individual’s right to express his or her views, while maintaining a businesslike meeting that moves at a reasonable pace.

I know that procedures at Town Meeting can sometimes be confusing especially to newcomers.  To assist voters, a booklet entitled A Guide to Bedford’s Open Town Meeting is now available on the Town of Bedford’s website.  This document attempts to demystify some of the parliamentary procedures and rules under which Town Meeting is conducted.  I am always happy to answer questions and to review presentations while the Petitioner’s Advisory Committee will assist anyone who wishes to submit an article by petition.

Selectmen

William S. Moonan

Question 1: I have been a resident of Bedford since I married my wife, Carol Amick, in 1976.  I quickly became involved in Town activities, joining the Bedford Housing Authority as the gubernatorial appointee, the Bedford Players theatrical group and the Bedford Minuteman Company.  My interest in the Town’s history grew with my appointment to the Historic District Commission (HDC).  I have served continuously on the HDC for 23 years, and as Chairman for 14.

I continue serving as a member of the Housing Authority – a post I have held for 33 years.  I also serve on the Board of Directors of Town Center, Inc., the non-profit organization created to manage Town Center.  I have been involved with this group ever since my successful fight to convince Town Meeting in 1981 to approve funding to renovate and convert the 1881 yellow, wood school building into a community center.

These activities became building blocks for my service on various other building committees, including one for the DPW building and one for the recent addition to Town Center.

Over the years, serving in these voluntary capacities, I have been constantly reminded of what a special place Bedford is, and how important it is to preserve and protect the Town’s historic character for future generations.

My professional career has also prepared me for service as a Selectman.  A graduate of Yale University and the Harvard Business School, I have served as a financial officer for both large and small corporations.  My experience in this capacity has been extremely helpful as the Town continues to address the challenges of the recent fiscal downturn.  I find I use the financial analysis skills and knowledge of best practices that I employed while working for Fortune 500 companies regularly in my capacity as Selectman.  My familiarity with accounting and contracts helps me understand and evaluate the Town’s fiscal and planning challenges, and contribute to their solutions.

Question 2: In my successful campaign for Selectman three years ago, I called for greater transparency in Town government, not because I felt there was any wrong-doing, but because I wanted to make the actions taken by our local government more accessible and visible to Bedford residents.

One campaign idea I promoted to provide greater transparency was to bring cable to our Town Hall, to enable coverage of Selectmen’s meetings on the local cable station.  It has taken longer than I thought, but the RFP to perform the wiring will be going out soon. I will keep pushing to achieve this goal.

I will continue working with the Bedford Chamber of Commerce and other groups to aggressively pursue ways to bring more business to Bedford.  During the recent fiscal downturn, the Town lost numerous companies in the buildings adjacent to Route 3.  The loss of these corporate taxpayers caused a shift in the tax burden from our Commercial and Industrial taxpayers onto our Residential taxpayers.  This shift has caused a severe burden to many of the retired families in town – one-quarter of Bedford’s homes are owned by residents 65 and older.  I will continue to speak up for this 25%, and for all Bedford residents, in evaluating the need and cost of future Town projects.

I will continue to support new measures to achieve more cost-effective ways of providing Town services, as we have with the new trash collection program .  The Selectmen are looking at further regionalization of some services; I believe we should be open to considering the use of solar energy and other means to hold down Town government expenses.

We need to use the savings wisely that will come from the retirement of debt incurred from rebuilding and improving our schools.  We need to expand our budgeting process to plan for the next five years, not just for next year, and to spend more time as Selectmen reviewing the financial implications of our decisions.  I will encourage these activities, always mindful of the need to preserve Bedford’s special character and quality of life.

Caroline Fedele

Question 1: I was raised by two very honest and hard-working people (Lou and Bobbie Ennis) here in Bedford.  My husband, Rich Fedele, is also a Bedford native.  He and I are raising our family on Gray Terrace and doing our part for Bedford.  Currently, I am serving you as a Bedford Recreation Commissioner and Vice President of BEST/PTO.  It is a busy but rewarding life and we wouldn’t have it any other way!  We are truly blessed!

After graduating from BHS in ’88, I went on to get my Bachelors of Science in Business Management from Ithaca College.  Now settled back in Bedford, I have been working for Sprint for almost 12 years managing all of Sprint’s Higher Education clients in New England.  Daily, I listen to organizational challenges and develop fiscally-responsible solutions.

Question 2: We live in a great town, financially-stable, efficiently-run with a focus to maintain small town services and great schools.  This isn’t by accident.  It is due to our highly-skilled Police, Fire, DPW and Town employees.  It is also due to a great number of volunteers willing to give back many hours to keep Bedford the community we love.  I am one of the volunteers and as your next Selectman, I am excited to work towards more regional collaboration in an effort to find ways to attract businesses to Bedford and increase tax revenues.  I would like to help Bedford to become more safe, more fit, more green by working with the Transportation Advisory, Bicycle Advisory, Trails Committee and the Energy Task Force. I would like to encourage recent graduates and young families that want to be more involved in Town Government to find time to do so.  I would like to continue to support the efforts of the COA to bring programs and service to our Seniors.

School Committee

Bradford G. Hafer

Question 1: I have served on the School Committee for the past six years.  Prior to this service, I spent four years on the Capital Expenditure Committee.  I have also acted as liaison to the Finance Committee, Fiscal Planning and Coordinating Committee, Energy Task Force, Youth and Family Services and Bedford Education Foundation.  My wife and I have three boys in the Bedford Schools (1 each at Lane, JGMS and BHS). Additionally, I have coached Bedford Youth Soccer and have been a member of the Bedford Chamber of Commerce.  Based on this experience, I’ve built an excellent understanding of the issues within our schools and across town and a solid grasp of how to affect change therein. I take a pragmatic, collaborative approach to assessment and decision making with a focus on what is best for our kids.  I deeply support Bedford’s longstanding commitment to high-quality public education and continually seek to improve upon that strong base within our budgetary means.

Question 2: We have a number of ongoing challenges that must be addressed and successfully implemented over the next two to three years.  These include the transition to the common core, a new teacher evaluation system, a fairly new administrative leadership team, a growing, changing student population that includes more English Language Learners, and new standardized tests which put pressure on our staff resources (and kids) in order to meet state and federal expectations.   Additionally, I have personal interests in seeing the district’s use of technology be effectively embedded within our curriculum and instruction and would like to continue our investment and improvement of our Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) offerings.  I’d also like to further enhance our balance of academics, arts/music and athletics to foster the concept of a “whole student” experience as well as increase our efforts to market Bedford’s unique strengths to the college admissions community to assist our graduates in the ultra-competitive application process. Hopefully the residents of Bedford will support my bid for a third and should-be final term.

Michael McAllister

Question 1: I bring a combination of personal and professional experiences that prepare me well for service on the School Committee.  As a 1995 graduate of the Bedford Public Schools, I bring the perspective of a student.  As an educator with 10 years of classroom experience, I bring the perspective of a teacher.  As a current public school principal in Belmont, I bring the perspective of a school leader.  As the father of children at Davis and Lane Schools, I bring the perspective of a parent wanting, as we all do, a top-tier educational experience for our children.  I believe that this combination of personal and professional traits will allow me to provide the support our school leaders require, with the oversight that the residents of Bedford deserve.

Question 2: As far as impact is concerned, I feel only the pressure to continue the excellent work the School Committee is already doing.  The current members of the Bedford School Committee are polite, professional, and dedicated to the schools.  I look forward to joining them as a team member who will contribute to the strong work they’ve been doing for years.

I think that 2013 is an important time for Bedford’s Schools:

  • New students and families are bringing needs that require new capacities from our system.
  • New mandates, such as the new Educator Evaluation system, are asking more of teachers han ever before.
  • New leadership requires the support and oversight of a knowledgeable School Committee.

Despite all of these changes, one thing remains the same: the desire to sustain a level of high achievement and opportunity for all students.

Planning Board

Shawn J. Hanegan

Question 1: It takes a variety of skills to be a good Planning Board member. In my ten months serving on the Board, I have been able to utilize my experience from previous volunteer work, my analytical background as a systems engineer, and also my ability to listen to and understand different perspectives presented in each Planning Board case.

A few days before each meeting, Planning Board members are given a package of information to prepare for the upcoming agenda items. This information ranges from legal documentation to site plans to letters from concerned citizens. Our planning staff does a tremendous job in summarizing the issues facing the Board. However, I believe it is necessary that each member have some background knowledge in a wide variety of areas affecting planning, and have a feel for how a particular proposal might affect an area of town. In my previous town, I served two years on the Zoning Board of Appeals and six years on the Housing Partnership Committee. I have been a systems engineer at MITRE in Bedford for 12 years and this training has helped me to foresee how proposed projects have far-reaching and sometimes unintended consequences. It is based upon these credentials that I was appointed to the Board last April.

Each issue we face is different and I take time to listen to the issues and concerns of residents, the ideas of fellow Board members, and the perspective of developers. Oftentimes, it is through the process of listening and asking the right questions that the root causes of disagreements can be uncovered. Patience is important, because in some cases a resolution takes place only after several meetings and extended discussions on an item.

Finally, serving on the Planning Board is a significant time commitment, and I am able to devote the time needed because of the support and understanding of my wife and two young daughters. I am able to fully study the issues facing the Board before each meeting, and also serve as a liaison from the Planning Board to the Transportation Advisory Committee and Community Preservation Committee.

Question 2: If given the opportunity to serve three more years on the Planning Board, I will help complete the Comprehensive Plan and continue to ensure that development is done in the interests of the affected neighborhood and the town, particularly with regards to the initial developments proposed for the mixed use overlay districts in town.

In my next term, I plan on working with the Board to finish the work started last spring on a Comprehensive Plan for Bedford that will define growth and development, capital investment, and other public policy needs for the next ten years. This plan is a vital document, a blueprint for Bedford’s future, which touches on a wide variety of issues facing the town. I moved to Bedford with my family because I was attracted by the character of the Town and the excellent services it provides. A good Comprehensive Plan will help Bedford maintain its character and build upon its successes.

The Board is also seeing and influencing the initial developments utilizing mixed use overlay districts at Depot Square and Middlesex Turnpike. The vision for the mixed use areas is to create spaces whereby residential, retail, and commercial properties co-exist and people living in the area can walk or bike to amenities such as restaurants. The areas would also serve as a desirable destination for visitors. Since the first few developments using the overlay zoning set a precedent, it is important that the Planning Board help to create the conditions for thriving districts that will benefit the people living in and around the area.

In closing, I have quickly come to love the Town of Bedford, and want to continue serving on the Planning Board. I will work hard in my next three years on the Board to help ensure Bedford keeps its special character and remains a place we can all be proud of. I ask for one of your two votes for Planning Board on March 9th.

Amy Lloyd

Question 1: My most significant preparation is having a life-long fascination with all facets of Urban Planning, Design, and Architecture! I’ve been an amature student of these subjects quite literally since childhood (when, using bricks and sand from our under-construction backyard, I happily tested compression forces by building arches). Experientially, I’ve worked in and around construction much of my life. This experience gives me an “eye” for design detail as well as a realistic understanding of how projects are structured. Working in our family firm — in the field as a teen and as an estimator and manager as an adult — also gives me a in depth-understanding of the unique needs of small businesses. In later years as a Business Analyst, I learned the art of careful analysis and critical listening to hone in on the heart of an issue, helping involved parties to understand one another and come to a mutually satisfactory resolution.

I’ve followed the Planning Board activities from my first days in Bedford. I’m up to speed on most of the current projects facing the Board, including the current Comprehensive Plan. Another long-standing interest of mine is history. Reading books on Bedford’s past and studying local historical maps has given me an appreciation for the concerns of our life-long citizens about the rapid pace of growth.

Question 2: Like many (if not most) Bedfordites, I am concerned about traffic and will be looking closely at all traffic related issues that come before the Board. I will add my voice to the growing chorus of advocates for improved pedestrian access to more areas of town, not just for the benefit of those who walk, but also for the traffic calming effect that street elements such as sidewalks, curbs, and plantings provide. I am quite eager to start looking more closely at our zoning by-laws. We have many regulations that reflect a decades-old view of land use; our by-laws need to be brought into line with the current understanding of the inputs that create a healthy and economically sound community. Another area of concern is that residential property taxes are carrying an increasingly large percentage of the town’s total tax burden every year. This trend troubles me, and I would like to find ways to create incentives for commercial building owners to update their building stock; attracting more tenants would benefit the owners and increasing the property values would benefit all of us.

Joseph J. Dini

Question 1: Elected office in any town or city presents those elected with an opportunity to serve using ones professional and life experiences.  My forty plus years of management experience, including experience as an elected official, provide me with technical and interpersonal skills.  My first management position was planning and opening a branch office for Arlington National Bank on The Great Road in Bedford in 1966.  From that day until now I have learned and consistently implemented the four “C” of planning- Conceive; Construct; Comply and Complete.

Every plan starts with an idea to solve a problem – Conceive.  Then the plan needs to be presented and set up in a logical way so that all stakeholders can buy in- Construct. The impact, implementation and effects of the plan need to fit within all laws, private and civic constraints and meet the documented concerns of all parties- Comply.  From the conception of the plan all the way through, resources must be available to finish- Complete.

I have used this system in business as well as when I sat as Chairperson of the Lexington School Committee (mid 1990s).  I hope to carry this with me and to learn any new techniques that the existing Planning Board has found beneficial.

Question 2: The first term will start with a steep learning curve to be able to fit within an existing board.  From what I saw at the meeting I attended, there is a strong, respectful working relationship among the members that I hope to emulate.  My recent experience at Massachusetts Air And Space Museum – planning a 300,000 square foot, $130,000,000 project should be of some assistance for the current board as it completes is latest Town wide plan.  I know that my financial training will help verify the viability of any plans presented to the Board.

Assessors

Robert B. Murphy

Question 1: First, my dozen years on the Finance Committee provided me with an excellent grounding in the mechanics of municipal finance and the roles that the different boards and committees play.  During many of those years I served as liaison to the Board of Assessors and that served as an introduction to the assessing function in Bedford.  When I was elected to the Board, I participated in a ten-week, thirty-hour Department of Revenue certification course.  Every elected assessor has to obtain DOR certification within two years of their election.  Finally, a “numbers oriented” career provided me with transferable estimation and quantitative evaluation skills that facilitated my understanding of the mass appraisal methods.  What was a surprise for me was how much of a role as an administrative judge an elected assessor has.  It has turned out to be a pleasant surprise for me.  Learning about the legal process in the role has been the exciting growth experience for me in a dimension that I had not anticipated.

Question 2: I have been working on greater transparency of the assessing function.  My wife Lora’s initial reaction when told her I was going to run for a position on the Board was, “Good for you. Personally I think I would rather watch paint dry”.   Lora’s reaction is not at all atypical.  Unfortunately that leads to the Assessor function being treated as a bit of an arcane priesthood.  It is unfortunate because the assessed value of your home is one of the major determinants of your tax bill.   As consumers of municipal services, citizens should have some understanding about the billing for those services.  Over the last couple of years I have work to make the process more approachable for citizens and have reached out to other Boards and Committees to make the activities of the Board less opaque.  I want to continue that effort.  I cannot promise I will be able to make it interesting but I do hope to make the assessing function better understood.

Shawsheen Regional School Committee

Donald Drouin

Question 1: Through a combination of my extensive educational experience, including a Master’s Degree and Bachelor of Arts degree from Suffolk University and a J.D. from the New England School of Law, coupled with my extensive community involvement including membership on the Bedford Capital Expenditures Committee and as an active resident that extends beyond three decades, I feel as though I am ably ready by education and experience to continue my service to the Shawsheen Valley Regional Vocational/Technical School District.  I have had exceptional attendance  representing the town’s interests for the past sixteen years and I am pleased to announce that the total budget increase from Shawsheen Valley Technical to the Town of Bedford will be less than $300.

Question 2: As always, vocational/technical education is evolving.  During my past term we eliminated an aging Diesel Technician program and built a state-of-the-art Life Sciences Center which will provide additional programs in Medical Assisting, Dental Assisting and Health Assisting.  Our analysis must require constant views of labor market trends and a commitment to offer programming that meets labor market need.  During the next three years I am committed to expand programs offerings to adults, veterans, the unemployed and the underemployed so that they can reap the benefits that Shawsheen Tech graduates have become accustomed to.  I will also use my legal experience and business experience to ensure the taxpayers of Bedford can afford the wonderful programs offered.

Deborah Kostas

Question 1: I am so excited for the opportunity to serve Bedford as a representative on the Shawsheen Tech Regional School Board.  I believe I am perfectly suited for this position, because I understand vocational education. I am proud to be the product of a vocational high school education.  I received my first job as a high school junior through the school’s co-op program.  Inspired by my educators, I became a business education teacher.  I returned to Greater Lowell Voke and taught in the Business Technology Department. I continued teaching as a vocational instructor in Massachusetts.  The goal is always to provide students with a sharp set of skills to obtain gainful employment in their field.  Bundling students’ skills along with resume writing and interviewing skills was a key part of our curriculum.  Since our schools had a great relationship with area businesses, we were very successful placing our students.

I have been fortunate to meet one-on-one with Mr. Charlie Lyons, Superintendent of Shawsheen Tech.  I also had the opportunity to sit in on a Regional School Board meeting.  I toured the school and observed firsthand what a fantastic environment it is.

Question 2: My goals will be to communicate all of the wonderful opportunities that Shawsheen has to offer the town of Bedford and promote the many benefits of a vocational education.  We all hear that there are not any good jobs available; and yet, we still hear from employers that they cannot find trained employees.  Clearly, this is a gap that needs to be closed.  I want to work on a solution to this problem as a liason between Bedford businesses and Shawsheen Tech.  Providing quality, trained students to Bedford businesses could potentially attract businesses to town.  Shawsheen students cook, bake, build, wire, plumb, computer program, etc.  These students are often required to complete projects–put in so many hours–to learn under their teacher’s direction.  I would like to look into ways the town of Bedford may be able to benefit from their vocational services creating a win/win for all. Thank you for considering a vote for me on March 9.

Board of Health

Bea Brunkhorst

Question 1: Credentials:

  • Board of Health Member from 1998-2013 minus one year
  • B.A. in Biochemistry from Douglass College, Rutgers University 1983
  • Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Boston University 1990
  • Scientist doing research and development in Cancer Immuno-therapy since 1992.
  • Member of Bedford’s Institutional Bio-safety Committees that are a part of the Recombinant DNA permitting process since 2000.

My background is in the Sciences, I hold my Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Boston University.  For the past fourteen years, I have been a Research Scientist and the Safety Officer at a local pharmaceutical company.  My scientific work has centered around research on Cancer inhibitors that target tumors and mobilize our own body’s defenses to fight the tumor.

As Safety Officer and Chair of my companies Institutional Biosafety Committee, I have been responsible for: helping to set safety policies, training, as well as coordinating  recombinant DNA applications and interfacing with local Health officials.

I feel that there are Public Health issues in the community that need to be addressed such as obesity, heart disease, cancer and violence. I would like to use both my scientific and partnership skills to help the Board of Health do a more complete job for our community.

Question 2: Currently we are in the midst of updating our rDNA regulations so that we can have similar standards to Cambridge, a world leader in this field. I would like to continue this work. Our town is also finalizing our Comprehensive plan, I would like to continue to work with the local boards to examine what we can do to insert Public Health needs into our guidelines for the Built Environment to improve overall  health. This becomes important in the face of increase in obesity due to a more sedentary lifestyle for example.

We face continued threats from influenza strains, emergencies created by severe weather,  and reduced resources. I woudl like to continue to support regionalization efforts for example. And finally I would like to continue to work with Director of Health to take findings from recent Community Health Assessments and implement new programs as needed.

I ask for your support on March 9th.

 

 


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