I’ve been on the Board of Reps now for more than six months. During that time, I’ve relied on three strengths to do this job – evidence-based decision-making, exemplary constituent service, and consistent and timely communications.
My career in management consulting taught me that effective decisions rely on evidence, not prejudices. An example is one of the first votes I took on the Board – the decision to accept grants to fund new turf fields at Stamford High School. I knew there were concerns about the effect of turf fields on student athletes. I called several high school Athletic Directors in the state and asked them about athletic performance, injury frequency, and usage rates of the fields – grass vs. turf. The evidence I gathered helped me in deciding to vote in favor of accepting the grants.
Constituent service is my top priority. In my six months on the Board, I’ve helped well over 100 constituents to solve problems – whether it’s getting potholes filled, brush cleared from the side of the road, reducing traffic congestion, or securing construction permits.
In terms of communication, I post on social media after every Board meeting, highlighting the important decisions that the Board made, how I voted, and why. I also post information about upcoming public hearings and other meetings that are important to District 20, so residents can get their voices heard.
My top priority is increasing the level and quality of service that our district receives. I understand that the City’s resources are constrained – nevertheless we pay a lot in taxes and receive less in return. Our parks – especially Scofieldtown and Dorothy Heroy – are under-supported. I am changing that through my position on the Parks & Recreation Committee, and we are starting to see improvements in both parks. Until recently our roads were chronically neglected. I speak with the Director of Operations almost every week to increase investment in our roads. And I interact regularly with our top public safety executives – the Director of Health & Public Safety, the Chief of Police, and the Captain in charge of traffic control – to increase patrols, signage, and electronic speed monitoring to make our community safer.
My social media posts have already done a great deal to improve public awareness of the Board of Representatives’ work. I’m gratified that a few other Reps have begun posting after meetings. The diversity of viewpoints will increase public awareness and improve the quality of debate.
I will vote “NO” on Charter Revision, and I urge everyone else to vote “NO.” If adopted, the proposed new Charter will cause a radical transfer of power from a full-time Mayor, who is popularly elected by the entire City, to the forty part-timers on the Board of Representatives. A group of forty part-timers cannot run a city like Stamford effectively.
I also fundamentally disagree with (and voted against) the decisions to hold the vote this November and to make the nine-part ballot question a single question.
If adopted, the proposed new Charter will turn the Board of Representatives into a forty-headed shadow executive branch without the means or accountability to get things done.