Election 2018 Q and A: Selectmen Candidates Discuss Their Experience And AccomplishmentsMar 29, 2018 02:43PM ● By Bill Gilman
From left, incumbent Selectman Mark Kratman, challenger George Ferdinand and challenger Brian Dick.
We will publish the questions individually, along with the answers provided by all three candidates, so that voters can compare them. Our goal is to provide voters with as much information as possible to help them make an informed decision.
Each of you has served on an elected board. What is the most difficult part of serving on an elected board? What has been your proudest achievement as an elected official?
I believe the most difficult part of being an elected official is prioritizing initiatives. It’s usually easier to agree on what should be done, but the timing and prioritization of those initiatives can be more difficult. When determining this I consider first the desire of Tewksbury residents for the service, facility or need and also their willingness to pay for it. I also consider whether or not there are similar services already available and what, if any tax implications there might be. Considering these helps me to then determine what the priorities of Tewksbury should be. I enjoy serving my community and typically do not approach initiatives as problems but rather as opportunities.
When looking back on my proudest achievement it’s difficult to choose just one. I was a part of a school committee that worked diligently for our community and there were many positive moments and accomplishments. This leaves little time for reflection. For me that reflection came after serving two full terms and during my last school committee meeting. I was surprised by my send off and enjoyed hearing feedback from my fellow committee members and members of the community regarding the importance of my role on the school committee. This allowed me to finally reflect on the positive impact I have had as a member of the School Committee. I am proud in how I served and represented Tewksbury during those 6 years. That was my “mission accomplished” sort of moment.
I would not say that any aspect of serving on the Board as difficult but would rather describe it as challenging. The hours and meetings that you must attend definitely takes time away from your family. I am usually out at meetings or events 5 or 6 nights a week. I am lucky to have a supporting family that knows that I am out there working to make our community a better place for us all.
Last year the S&P Global Rating for the Town of Tewksbury was raised to AA+ the highest rating that the town has received. The rating allowed us to restructuring and refinancing our debt last year saving the Town over 8 million dollars which we used to stabilize water and sewer debt would be one of our latest achievements. The report included the following points on how are Town is progressing.
- Very strong economy, with access to a broad and diverse metropolitan statistical area (MSA);
- Very strong management, with strong financial policies and practices under our Financial Management Assessment (FMA) methodology;
- Strong budgetary performance, with balanced operating results in the general fund and an operating surplus at the total governmental fund level in fiscal 2017;
- Strong budgetary flexibility, with an available fund balance in fiscal 2017 of 11.7% of operating expenditures;
- Very strong liquidity, with total government available cash at 28.3% of total governmental fund expenditures and 7.1x governmental debt service, and access to external liquidity we consider strong;
- Adequate and contingent liability position, with debt service carrying charges at 4% of expenditures and net direct debt that is 72.3% of total governmental fund revenue, and significant medium-term debt plans and a large pension and other postemployment benefit (OPEB) obligation and the lack of a plan to sufficiently address the obligation, but low overall net debt at less than 3% of market value and rapid amortization, with 74.1% of debt scheduled to be retired in 10 years; and
- Strong institutional framework score.
George FerdinandIn my many positions I’ve had in the United Auto Workers during official meetings we would use the Roberts Rules of Order and Parliamentary Procedure. The Board of Health’s meetings are a bit more free flowing. On part two, four things come to mine but I would have to say it was when officially signing the Keeping of Animals regulation in February not just because is it part of an accomplished goal but also with our Chairman’s IT expertise we will be able to take the framework to revise other much needed regulations updates but also share it with other boards and departments for the benefits of our town