Dunstable Candidate Night/BOS & SC Candidates – Cliff Notes 5/2/17

As requested here are my notes from Dunstable Candidate night.  Although there are more than two contested races, I am offering notes on the BOS and SC contested races this evening.  Tomorrow I will post on the other three contested races which are the Board of Road Commissoner, Park Commissioner and Planning Board since my readers will hate me if the post runs too long. 🙂     

Candidate Forum, 7 pm ~ May 2, 2017

Questions were submitted before the forum, so there was not an opportunity for follow-up questions from the community. It was difficult keeping up with the pace of the Candidate Night Forum because candidates only had one minute to introduce themselves and only one minute to respond to questions. So it was kinda like watching speed dating for candidates. However, that did leave time for voters to speak with candidates in a more casual setting.

The candidate Q&A & candidate introduction was recorded and will be broadcasted on Dunstable Public Access television.  That can be found on Charter – Channel 191 and Verizon – Channel 31.

Board Of Selectman – One Opening

  • Introductions:  
    • Candidate – Michael J. Manahan, Sr. – He expressed that he may not have the same amount of experience with town government. However, he believes that information should run the town. Information getting out to the voters and the people needs to improve, and he would like the opportunity to accomplish that as a member of the BoS.
    • Candidate – Ronald J. Mikol – He shared that he has been on the advisory board for ten years, has taken online courses MMA (Massachusetts Municipal Association) and believes he has had the unique ability to have had the experience in building the town budget from years before Dunstable having a Town Advisor.
  • Question:   What is the biggest problem facing Dunstable today and how do you propose to address it?
    • Ronald Mikol – Expressed that Dunstable faces many challenges but the one that is most outstanding and is threatening the financial vitality of the town is the water department. There is a mindset in the town that the folks that are connected to the water system are obligated to pay for this thing, and the rate payers do not own the system; it is not a collaborative or cooperative.  It is owned by the town, and it is ready to go kaboom and when that happens it will probably be the single largest financial crisis we ever had. 
    • Michael J. Manahan, Sr.  – Expressed that communication is the problem.  We have to communicate and educate the town to get everyone on board about the project.  Bring more community to the people. We have to get the community to work together for the good of the town versus individual projects.

Groton-Dunstable Regional School Committee – one opening

  • Introductions:
    • Candidate – Rafael Glod – Shared that he is a lifelong resident of Dunstable and a graduate of GDRHS class 2010 and Graduate from UMASS Dartmouth class of 2014. He did not touch upon what he does for current employment or his work experience for the last couple years. He believes that our elected officials should reflect the balance and needs of their constituents and work together as a team to better prepare our students for the 21st century to the best of our abilities. He is up for the challenge and is ready to serve Dunstable.
    • Candidate – Ryan McLane – Shared that he moved to Dunstable several years ago for the rural community and the great schools for his children. He is a Public Policy Ph.D. candidate at UMass Boston with Master’s degrees in Public Administration and Public Policy. He expressed the need for further collaboration between boards and towns and believes his experience in doing so in his career as a Director of Veteran Services will allow him to hit the ground running. Experience includes collaborated with the board of selectman in his current position, presenting budgets, policy, and programming in Melrose, Wakefield, and Saugus.
  • Question:  How do you balance Dunstable’s financial situation while meeting the educational needs of our children?
    • Ryan McLaneHe expressed that what we need to do is decide as a community what we want to have as a character. So open space and rural character are really important and one of the reasons why people like himself move to Dunstable, however education is also important too, and he doesn’t believe that there is anyone that would not agree that we need to educate our children correctly.  He expressed the need to make sure that the schools use the resources that taxpayers give them well and correctly which is in the best interest of our children.  If that was done and the community is educated about that and if the schools need more funding than we can sit and talk about what we want to invest in and how we want to invest in our schools to balance the rural character and the needs of our schools. He believes that taxpayers would be more willing to make an investment if they were comfortable knowing current funding is spent wisely.
    • Rafael Glod – He expressed that after speaking with various elected officials and community members there was a common concern about money, but that does not mean pumping money into the District. It means invest wisely, budgeting properly, using money in a smart way. Communication between the various boards in both Dunstable and Groton. With more communication, everyone will be on the same page, and there won’t be mismanagement and miscommunication.
  • Question:   The role of the SC is to act as an advocate liaison between the town and the District, how will you accomplish this?
    • Ryan McLane – He acknowledged that there had been an increased effort to have collaboration and communication between the two towns and the boards that has helped this year to identify some needs, invest money in the right way and bring down costs. He would like to further this effort by talking to community members, staff, and all stakeholders so he can gather information and utilize that information in the decision making process. That is how he functions in his career and what he would bring to the committee.
    • Rafael Glod – He has been meeting with town officials and listening to the community.  He believes that all community members should have representation and part of his platform is to make sure everyone has a voice at the table.  He likes talking with people and communication is very important as we work through financial troubles and getting everyone on the same page.