SELECTMEN RACE Q&A: Fasulo & Eaton Grade The Town Manager, Current Board Of Selectmen

WILMINGTON, MA — Wilmington Apple is asking Selectman candidates Rob Fasulo and Jonathan Eaton questions each week leading up to the April 28 Town Election.

This week’s questions focus on how the candidates view the current Board of Selectmen and Town Manager, and where they see themselves fitting in.  Below are the candidates’ responses, in their own words:

Rob Fasulo

Rob Fasulo

What grade would you give to Town Manager Jeff Hull’s performance? Why? Any areas of improvement?

I believe the Town Manager does an adequate job in his role of CFO for the town. In my opinion however, he seems to lack a certain enthusiasm for the job that I would like to see in a town manager. Recently, I published the tax rates for the town since 2005, In Mr. Hull’s four years in office, taxes rose at a slightly lower rate than the previous administration, this is a plus. The problem with the town managers position, is that he plays the role of many different people. With respect to his appointments to town boards, my opinion is that they give the perception of being sympathetic to the developers in town instead of being on the residents’ side. This has never been more apparent than the discussion about the Inclusionary Zoning bylaw where the town could not come up with an article until our planning director could sit and craft a bylaw with the “building community”. Laws and Bylaws are rules that governing body’s create out of necessity to impose on the public. I have never seen an instance where a subsection of the population is invited to help create the laws they will need to abide by. The most that is offered is a public comment and this is what town meeting would accomplish. If Wilmington is looking to be just adequate then he would receive an average grade.

What grade would you give to the current Board of Selectmen’s performance? Why? Any areas of improvement?

With respect to this question, I am really shocked as to how the Board of Selectmen has been handled over the years. I have made it very clear, I am not a politician, I have never held a public office and this election is a real eye opener to me. Since the issue of Sciarappa Farm emerged, I have heard many residents asking about affordable housing, some saying we need to allow Mr. Welch to build the development because he will be “building affordable housing in it”. I find this hard to stomach mainly for the following reason. In 2001, The Master Plan that was developed, made several recommendations to the town, only three of which I will touch on here. The first one was advising the town to enact an Inclusionary bylaw (Page 10) and second Preserve Open Space by purchasing land (Page 9). In 2003, the town hired an outside firm to prepare an affordable housing plan, this report was released in 2004. This report again recommends an Inclusionary bylaw and reiterates the need for protection of Open Space and maintaining “a small town feel” (Page 3). As a resident looking at the board as a single entity I have to give them a less than satisfactory grade. The single biggest issue facing the town is rising taxes that I directly attribute to the out of control expansion allowed by the town. Had the BOS taken the advice of The Master Plan and implemented the Inclusionary bylaw, I am convinced that we would have a much different Wilmington than we have today. According to the planning director, we are in danger of being under the 40b limit, but it is widely known if we come in above this number the town faces the prospect of a large developer coming in, skirting zoning laws, and sticking a monstrosity in a site that it does not belong. If we had the Inclusionary bylaw in place for the past 10 years there would not be a concern of being over. Now before you claim that many of the BOS members were not there 10 years ago, I will argue you’re correct, however the matter was brought up to this very board over a year ago, then more recently in February by Frank West and still nothing was done. Second, both plans call for the town to utilize town owned land for affordable housing. When confronted with the opportunity to build affordable senior housing at the site of St Dorothy’s, the BOS shot down the proposal. I would have gladly voted in favor of this, as it is a perfect site for seniors because its within walking distance to whats important to them. Finally, with respect to the Open Space recommendation, again most of the BOS failed in this manner as well, as evidenced by the vote that took away the right of the residents to vote on acquiring the Sciarappa Farm for open space.

How do you see yourself fitting in with the current Board?

My single goal in running for this seat is to move the town in a direction that the residents want with slower, smarter growth and a stronger sense of community. I will work hard to make Wilmington that community we can be proud of. I will easily be able to work with any selectman that is keeping the best interests of the taxpayers at heart. I believe I will be a great asset to the BOS because I am a candidate for the residents of Wilmington and not the Special Interests. I will be your voice.

Jonathan Eaton Board of Selectmen

Jonathan Eaton

What grade would you give to Town Manager Jeff Hull’s performance? Why? Any areas of improvement?

B. Town Manager Hull is skilled at budgeting. As it should be, the school department remains the central focus of the annual budget.  Our roads get plowed, and our police and fire departments do a great job with limited resources.  We have a vibrant library, senior center, and recreation department.  He has room to improve on his management skills.

What grade would you give to the current Board of Selectmen’s performance? Why? Any areas of improvement?

B–.  Overall, the current Board manages to find solutions to many of the significant issues facing the town.  There is room to improve on affordable housing.

How do you see yourself fitting in with the current Board?

I will surely disagree with each member on different issues, but will do so respectfully.  The town does not benefit from elected officials taking shots at each other, and my advocacy has always been focused on the principles of issues.  I have earned the respect of others both professionally and on the various committees on which I have served, despite differences, with my preparation, work ethic, and honesty.

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