Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Mike Demos for Selectman Platform

Dear Friends,

This upcoming election is about our future. It is about achieving meaningful change, not serving personal agendas, or maintaining the status quo.

The greatest issue before us is the financial condition of our town. My experience on the Advisory Board, in depth knowledge of fiscal policy and familiarity of the town’s affairs will allow me to bring much needed change and fiscal responsibility
back to our community.

I am the first candidate in this race who has offered a substantive plan on how to adequately address the full-blown fiscal crisis in our town. I will provide CLEAR positions to the many challenges that face Bridgewater rather than offer vague stances for political expediency. What people will hear throughout this campaign are my core beliefs on what needs to be done to turn Bridgewater around.

I will preserve the future of Bridgewater by bringing meaningful change to our community through:

LEADERSHIP:

*I pledge to bring a new vision to the Board of Selectmen to help bring about fundamental change in the way our town conducts business (transparent government, weekly public forums, reasoning behind decisions);

*Ask tough questions and deliver honest answers to our residents;

*Work to restore the trust elected officials need to have from those who elect them;

*Work on behalf of every resident in town;

*Offer a more balanced, logical approach to government by collaboratively working with all elected and appointed officials as equal partners to make certain
government serves the people;

* Stay away from “politics as usual”.

FISCAL RESPONSIBILITY:

*Support and implement my three-point plan to attain fiscal stability;

*I pledge to only support an override proposal that is diligently proposed with overwhelming analyses that comprehensively answer our long-term needs;

*Develop policies that expedite the budget process and that ensure the collaboration between the Selectmen, Department Heads, School Committee and Advisory Board;

*Prioritize spending that ensures public safety and education are adequately funded;

*Responsibly restore funding to the library, senior center, and recreation departments through fiscal prudence;

*Develop a long-term comprehensive fiscal plan that does not require balancing the budget with (cash reserves, selling of town owned land) one-time revenues;

REFORM:

*Intend to implement a top to bottom review of our municipal government to ensure we can improve upon delivering services with greater efficiency;

*Support a bylaw change that would create a "Capital Stabilization Fund" that would fund capital upgrades such as fire engines, highway equipment, and proper
maintenance of town buildings;

*Support a more responsive pro-business approach to the permitting process that welcomes, not discourages commercial development.

VOTE FOR MEANINGFUL CHANGE ON APRIL 26!

DEMOS FOR SELECTMAN


I look forward to talking and listening to you throughout this campaign. Should you have any questions or require further clarification, please feel free to contact me directly at 508-279-1971.

Sincerely,
Mike Demos

4 comments:

  1. Mike, recognizing the fact that two override ballots have been defeated, what type of fiscal plan for the future would you support putting together and what would it entail?

    Second, what part of the permiting process do you feel is laging behind that requires "streamlining"

    Thank you for your time.

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  2. I firmly believe there is a significant number of taxpayers that would invest in the town if both of the following occurred:

    1. They trusted those in the position of leadership to spend their money wisely;

    2.There was a plan to fix the existing cost structure.

    I referenced the word invest above, because that’s what the town needs – investors in the form of taxpayers….but investors only invest money where there is credibility. The past two override ballots had been defeated because they both lacked credibility.

    To simply present an override without containing fixed costs would be the equivalence of applying a band-aid to a gun shot wound. This is why I didn't favor the 2004 override and the 2007 override as an Advisory Board member.

    Thus, I have proposed the following three-point plan to enable town and educational services to become more affordable and sustainable:

    1.Health insurance plan costs must be contained and
    reduced as an operating expense for the town and the
    schools by increasing the employee share of health
    insurance for town and school employees;

    2.All future contractual increases for town and school
    employees cannot exceed the revenue amount permitted
    by Proposition 2 ½. Any raises must be reasonable and
    within normal cost of living increases;

    3.The town needs to pass a responsible override to
    bring town and school services to desired levels and
    to attain fiscal stability;

    To restore such credibility, the Board of Selectmen must present the town a sound multi-year financial budget plan. Execute against that plan. Report on a regular basis back to the investor(taxpayer)on how hard earned tax dollars are being managed. Rather than offer blind ideology based on ignorance or provide vague philosophical feel good positions, I’ll continue to deliver honest answers. This is the only way LEADERSHIP can begin restoring credibility.

    As you know, the federal gov’t can have it both ways by cutting taxes, while at the same time, increase spending only to leave future politicians/generations to “fix it”. However, states and municipalities have to govern by responsibly balancing a budget. Our budget deficit is too large and too far gone to focus on a single solution. It will require a series of responsible steps to get us back on track. This will require us to continue to aggressively pursue environmentally sound businesses.

    So let me get to your second question: Bridgewater's revenue is mostly derived from residential property taxes and state aid. As such, on average each household approximately consumes $1.50 in services in return for every dollar paid in property taxes. Given the current 91% to 9% split between residential and commercial in our tax base, now is NOT the time to elect someone that wants to place additional regulations/restrictions on proposed business development. Various boards/committees need to continue to work towards common sense reform within the permitting process. These efforts should not be misconstrued in any way to do away with necessary due process, but instead, be looked at making Bridgewater more "competitive".

    Thank you for your questions.

    Sincerely,
    Mike Demos

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  3. Referring to your 3-point plan, how would you apply that plan to the current and future budgetary constrictions? If we were able to do all of those steps at once I would certainly agree with your philosophy, however as you know you can not expect to re-negotiate every municipal and district union contract all in one year. To add to that point you would be asking the town and school employees to most likely go without a pay raise while you raise their insurance premium. In a contract negotiation there is always give and take. I would agree that the unions have been taking for some time but if you expect for them to give up everything all at once in an attempt to lessen the financial pressure, I can tell you that you would be sadly mistaken.

    To your point of leadership and trust I would completely agree. Until such time as the majority of voters have trust and confidence in their elected officials, regardless of which position they hold, we will never get anywhere as a town.

    I do have one question pertaining to pay raises. You mentioned in your response to the previous individual that you favor pay raises just as long as they are either "reasonable" or "within the confines of Prop 2.5". I would like to know if you were in favor of the recent agreement where the teacher's union was granted 2.5% raises for the next three years.

    Thanks Mike for taking the time.

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  4. Dear Chris,
    Thank you for your questions. You have helped to highlight why my 3-point plan is so important. I’m running for the Board of Selectman because I strongly believe we need to change the thought process of our elected officials. For too long, our elected officials have sat by the way side afraid to come up with creative solutions to contract negotiations.

    My 3-point plan provides a framework that will lead Bridgewater on the path toward fiscal recovery by offering a solution to contract negotiations by requiring pattern bargaining; a collective bargaining process that eliminates inequities between unions.
    This process establishes trust between elected officials and unions that would lead to more affordable, sustainable municipal and educational services.

    I refuse to believe in a fate that we have to accept our inevitable decline by listening to the ineffective stale thinking of our elected officials. There is no simple solution towards productive compromise. But the proof that unions are willing to negotiate in good faith was never more evident in the teachers June 2007 contract. While I do not know what transpired during the negotiations between the school committee and teachers union, the teachers clearly understood the financial position of the town by agreeing to pay a higher contribution rate of health care costs, while at the same time, accept a 2.5% salary increase. This is consistent with my 3-point plan. Therefore, I do think this is a step in the right direction.

    I do not believe that existing contracts are to be re-negotiated. Doing so would compromise the good faith principles of collective bargaining. A promise made should be a promise kept. As you may know, we do have several municipal contracts set to expire on June 30, 2008 with the rest to follow on June 30, 2009. Our elected officials need to be fair and consistent with all unions rather than only support the politically powerful unions. Now more than ever, we in this town need individuals on the Board of Selectman who will offer fair and consistent leadership under the principles of a common sense plan.

    I hope I can count on your support for meaningful change on April 26. Please feel free to contact me should you have further questions or concerns.

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