Tedstone and Wright Win Selectmen, and other election results (unofficial)

ballot-header-2016d

Congratulations to all the participants in the May 16 town election and thank you for your willingness to volunteer for our town. This year 1,800 voters participated, which is comparable to last year’s Town Election. This represents about 18% of Hopkinton’s 9,961 registered voters. Click to view full results by precinct from the Town Clerk’s office: 5-16-2016 Town Election Tally

BOARD OF SELECTMEN, For 3 years, Vote for 2 – Contested Race

  • Brendan T. Tedstone 1249
  • Claire B. Wright 1104
  • Margaret A. Wiggin 755
  • Michael P. Umina, Sr. 149

TOWN MODERATOR, For 3 years, Vote for 1 – Contested Race

  • Thomas J. Garabedian 889
  • Bruce G. Karlin 812

TOWN CLERK, For 3 years, Vote for 1 – Contested Race

  • Connor B. Degan 1,115
  • Henry R. Kunicki 546

BOARD OF HEALTH, For 3 years, Vote for 1 – Contested Race

  • Jennifer C. Flanagan 804
  • Philip A. Cohen 795

CONSTABLE, For 3 years, Vote for 1 – Contested Race

  • Michael A. Hayes 827
  • Michael P. Umina, Sr. 706

HOPKINTON HOUSING AUTHORITY, For 5 years, Vote for 1 – Contested Race

  • Nancy E. Kelleigh 932
  • Emily R. D’Urso 629

COMMISSIONERS OF PARKS & RECREATION, For 3 years, Vote for 1 – Contested Race

  • Kelly W. Karp 868
  • F. Eric Sonnett 836

BOARD OF ASSESSORS, For 3 years, Vote for 1

  • Mary Jo LaFreniere 1,371

BOARD OF LIBRARY TRUSTEES, For 3 years, Vote for 2

  • Michael J. McNamara 1,241
  • Susan E. Porter 1,268

CEMETERY COMMISSIONER, For 3 years, Vote for 1

  • John L. Palmer 1,422

COMMISSIONERS OF TRUST FUND, For 3 years, Vote for 1

  • Maureen Bumiller 1,289

PLANNING BOARD, For 5 years, Vote for 2

  • Clifford D. Kistner 1,145
  • David M. Paul 1,146

SCHOOL COMMITTEE, For 3 years, Vote for 1

  • Nancy M. Richards-Cavanaugh 1,341

Vote Monday for Selectmen and Six Other Contested Races

ballot-header-2016d

All Hopkinton precincts vote at the Middle School. Polls are open 7:00am-8:00pm on Monday, May 16. School will be in session, so please park in the back and use the back entrance to the Brown Gym. Follow the signs. There are seven contested races this year. eHop as an organization does not specifically endorse any of the candidates, click to read our policy for more info.  Please read the following articles for information about each contested race.

Stay tuned, HCAM will be live at 8pm when the polls close tonight to give you election results as soon as they are available. HCAM is available on Comcast 8 / Verizon 30 or streaming live at http://hcam.tv/live.

Board of Selectmen Candidate Q & A

CandidateComposite-2016-Selectmen

eHop posed the following seven questions to our Board of Selectmen Candidates and we are posting their responses here exactly as submitted. We thank them for their time and for their commitment to Hopkinton.  In addition we recommend voters watch the HCAM Contested Races Debate and the Women’s Club Meet the Candidates Night, both of which are available on the HCAM YouTube Channel.

BOARD OF SELECTMEN, For 3 years, Vote for 2

Question 1: What is your ideal vision of Hopkinton in 10 years? How will you as a Selectman help to achieve that vision?

Brendan T. Tedstone: Ideally, my Hopkinton will have overcome all its obstacles that are present right now and remain the best place to live. Schools are still the best around, police and fire remain cutting edge and the DPW is given the proper resources to do their job in the best way that is possible. Tax rates remain low and seniors are able to live comfortably in the town that they grew up in.

Michael P. Umina, Sr.: I see Hopkinton as a more financially stable town, living within its means. I see that stability being achieved by a combination of increased revenue and being more frugal wherever we can. Like most of us in the town, we have a limit on our income, and we must be careful about buying expensive items and loading our children with our debt. Most municipalities deal with this by having to reign in spending and becoming more responsible. At our last town meeting the town voted in quite a few items that I feel were not necessary, or could have been purchased at significantly lower prices, or even leased. Some items could have been purchased used for 1/10 of what we spent. Some items were Deluxe items where plainer items could have been substituted. If you want to be more fiscally responsible, your elected officials must be more careful with your money. I will be looking for ways to save, and keep things going. I have always been paid to be an idea man, finding and fixing things to make them work. My nickname has always been “McGyver”. (after the old TV series of the same name) I see people running the town who are experts in high finance. people who are in the finance business are used to spending money. Its time we find more people who want to save money.

Margaret A. Wiggin: My vision for Hopkinton in 10 years is that there will still be a small, charming town center, with family activities on the common, and a great school system. I envision small shops on Main Street with ample parking, and an easy flow of traffic. I hope to see people still greeting each other on the street, and still letting others into traffic, not driving by uncaring. As Selectman, I would encourage initiatives which would be revenue positive, and community based. Families should feel safe here, so I would continue to honor and support our Police, Fire and DPW workers, as I would our Youth and Family Services and Parks and Rec Departments. I would encourage open communication from residents and do my best to help Hopkinton continue to be the place we love now.

Claire B. Wright:  In 10 years hence, I would like to see a Hopkinton that has successfully absorbed the new growth, with continued quality services and an expanded community that still reflects our cherished small town character of neighborliness, community engagement, safety, and cohesiveness. I hope to see our traffic better managed, parking, roadways, and sidewalks improved to promote walkability, and a revitalized downtown.  I would like to see storefronts filled, now-vacant commercial spaces occupied, and more amenities offered to keep shopping dollars in Hopkinton.
The Board of Selectmen can provide the directives to achieve the improvements to roadways, traffic management, sidewalk connectivity, etc., setting these as town priorities. Sound fiscal management, and conservative tax policy from the Board of Selectmen is key to well managed growth.  Economic development also depends on this.  Economic policies and partnerships through the Board of Selectmen will help attract and keep businesses in Hopkinton, through services, infrastructure, tax policy, and regional collaboration.

Question 2: As Selectman, you would have to juggle many competing pressures in your decision-making. Describe an issue that faced the Board of Selectmen this year and indicate what you liked about how it was handled and/or what you would have done differently.

Brendan T. Tedstone: An issue that the Selectmen faced that I feel was handled horribly was the one of the promotion of the Fire Chief. My take would have been common sense one. The candidate presented to the board for promotion was our existing Deputy Chief, he had been with the department for 30+years, has all the required (and much more) education and training, and was deemed the best applicant of the 18 resumes that the personnel committee reviewed. To decide to re-open the search at a cost to the taxpayers was absolutely ridiculous and meaningless. It was an exercise in futility and ego driven. The ONLY thing that was done correctly, in my opinion, was that they eventually saw the errors of their ways and removed the acting label from Chief Slaman and made him permanent. I would have voted on the spot to make him permanent and saved much time, money and embarrassment.

Michael P. Umina, Sr.: One issue was infrastructure. This means our roads and bridges. Most of the townspeople have noticed that the roads are falling apart. They have been crack sealed with liquid asphalt. I used to work with an asphalt paving company years ago when I was in Hopkinton High School in the late 60’s. About 20 years ago, oil prices went up sharply, and the price of asphalt doubled. The State of Massachusetts had a specification for how all asphalt in the state was to be made. It had a certain amount of liquid asphalt that had to be in the mix of sand and stone. The asphalt companies suggested lowering the amount of liquid asphalt oil in the mix to reduce the price. It was accepted by the state.
This had one critical flaw. Asphalt mix is supposed to be a flexible material. It expands and contracts with temperature, and flexes in small amounts under load. With the right amount of oil, the asphalt flexes and doesn’t crack or break for about 5 years. With the lower amount of oil it cracked in 1 year. Remember when the state paved 495 and it came apart with terrible pot holes the next summer? The State had to grind it all up and repave it again. They put more oil in the mix, but still not as much as the old standard. What they paid in damage, labor, and repairs, was more than if they had just paid the higher price of asphalt. The big asphalt companies that pave the roads made many millions in profit that year. We paid for it,and for the stupidity of the State that was responsible for it.
So here’s the point. Now that oil prices are around $2 a gallon, the price of asphalt is down, This is the time to pave. It should be done ASAP before summer comes and the price goes up again. Was this built into the town budget so that we could take advantage of the lower prices? Definitely not! But, we spent 10 million dollars for fluff. This cannot continue. We must find a way to pay for it, or stop it..
Another problem is our traffic in town. The schools are mostly to blame for this. The Town has taken no effective action to deal with this horrendous problem. The solution is to make all school buses free for all students. If I was charged the highway robbery of $300 per child to ride the bus, I would take my kid(s) to school too. These twice daily trips to drop off and pick up kids are costing us. First one bus puts out the pollution of 2 cars. When 1000 short 2 way trips to school are made each day, this puts tons of CO2 in the air and

Margaret A. Wiggin: I will refer to the Fire Chief Slaman issue. I believe if there is a selection process which includes 18 candidates, and it comes down to 2 candidates, and one of those drops out, then the remaining person would be the natural selection. If there was some glaring issue that the Selectmen knew about which would make that remaining candidate unsuitable, then that person wouldn’t have been a good acting Fire Chief either,. I will say that I have great respect for our Selectmen and Town Manager, but would have more transparency and better communication with Townspeople if elected.

Claire B. Wright:      Recently, the Board of Selectmen made a decision to set uniform hours for liquor service throughout the town.  Some establishments had earlier or later hours than others and did not want to lose them or be disadvantaged.  The Board of Selectmen did a good job of listening to all sides, understanding the issues, and treating the parties fairly.  They gave affected business owners the chance to be heard, also considered other establishments not represented at the hearing, sought counsel from the Chief of Police, and discussed the issues and objectives openly and honestly. In the end, a decision was reached that actually reduced some hours for some establishments, but it was acceptable to all.  The acceptance seemed to be the result of the way the proceedings were conducted, in a spirit of fairness and openness.

Question 3: What current issues/conditions pose the greatest challenge to Hopkinton?

Brendan T. Tedstone: The current status of the Legacy Farms build out is a big challenge. We need to control it’s growth and monitor the entire project so it does in fact remain tax revenue positive for the town. If we lose this fight, the town is in for a very hard financial time in the very near future.

Michael P. Umina, Sr.: Our towns over spending is the greatest challenge to our town. Our expansion without helping to create increased revenue to pay for it is like taking your Mastercard and running it up to its limit and having to pay half your payment as interest. I think everybody does that once in their life, and then they learn how hard it is to catch up. Our town is learning that lesson the hard way, and it will get worse. We can’t balance the books now, so what will we leave our kids in the future? I see people move into town to take advantage of our services, then they vote up even more services we can’t pay for. Then they don’t want to pay the high taxes anymore when the kids are grown, and move out of town, leaving the rest of us to pay for it. They take advantage of the increased property values when they sell out and move, and we pay the taxes for it. It has to stop. Hopkinton has to become a place where people can afford to live again. And a place they can afford to live. After the debate yesterday another elderly woman resident spoke with me about the awful situation she is in, having to move out of town because she can’t pay her taxes and eat at the same time. lots of people are telling me this.
We must realize that Hopkinton has to change. When Legacy farms came to town, the cat came out of the bag. We were wooed by how great it would be, and how it would help the town. But new residences are never revenue positive, and it is too late now to do anything but make the changes necessary to keep Hopkinton afloat. Hopkinton has to change to do this. Will everyone like it? NO. Will I like it? NO! But we hav no choice. This isn’t the city of OZ There are no yellow brick roads or wizards here. We must take care of our problems ourselves and do our best to do the best we can for the town. If this means some belt tightening and some changes, we must work it out the best we can.

Margaret A. Wiggin: Rapid growth and commercial development. High expenditures in recent years which has left our taxes creeping higher. Population increase which impacts schools, traffic, police and fire.

Claire B. Wright:         Some of Hopkinton’s greatest challenges for the near future are 1) living within our means – in other words, maintaining the quality of our services, including schools, while avoiding tax increases.     2)  Managing our growth to keep the town prosperous while holding on to our character and quality of life.  3) Bringing in new sources of revenue to limit our tax burden and allow seniors and others of varied income levels to be able to live here.

Question 4: Why do you feel you are qualified for this position?

Brendan T. Tedstone: I’m a lifelong resident of Hopkinton that has had his finger on the pulse of the town for years. I’m honest and direct. If I see an issue that needs attention, I will work to make it right. I am not easily talked out of my opinion and my opinion has historically been for the good of others before the good of myself. I am passionate to keep the town great so that my 2 young children can love it here as I have, my mother has, her parents have, and so on.

Michael P. Umina, Sr.: I have experience in working as a Mechanical engineer, being a Manufacturing Engineering Manager, and managing a Construction and Paving company. I have a degree in General Science and Psychology from Brigham Young University, along with extra work in Marine Biology, Zoology, and a year of Economics.
I have 3 years in towards an Engineering degree at UMASS Lowell, with a concentration in Physics and Computer Science. I have Real Estate Management experience as well Managing large residential properties.
I have always agreed with “Benjamin Franklin’s” philosophy of it being necessary to be a “well Rounded Man” and knowing something about everything.
I have also been poor. I know what it was like growing up at the bottom of the heap. Everything I have done, I have had to struggle and fight for all my life. I have learned how to make do with less because I had to.
I know how hard it is to get what you need, and how to manage a budget that gets everyone what they need to get by, and doing it so the wealth is spread out equally. We all can’t have everything we want, but we all deserve something. We must take care of our Elderly too.

Margaret A. Wiggin: I moved here in 1986, moving out 5 years later to Newton, then Weston, and back to Hopkinton in 1998 because of the schools, natural resources, and charm. I feel strongly about protecting all that is special here, and will do my best as Selectman because of that strong feeling. Professionally, I have run two non-profit organizatons. I have worked in business, including Hopkinton businesses: Weston Nurseries, Playhouse Preschool, Next Generation, Cedar Street Chiropractic, Body Restoration and Hopkinton Wine and Spirits. I have a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education and Reading Specialist, and have worked in the Brookline and Weston school systems before working in Hopkinton schools for the past 10 years. As a Hopkinton volunteer, I have chaired Cultural Council for at least 6 years, been a member of Youth Commission for 14 years, the past 4 or so as Chair. I have run the MLK Day of Service for Youth Commission for 5 years. I have volunteered in Hopkinton Scouts, Schools and Soccer. In Scouts, I was den leader, then Cubmaster of Pack 4, then merit badge counselor and Eagle Advisor for Troop 1, helping 15 scouts over 5 years to attain their Eagle rank. I am now Unit Commissioner for Hopkinton Scouts. I attend and volunteer at FAITH community church. I have had experience in cities and small towns and prefer small towns, I have had experience in businesses and schools professionally and have volunteered in many different aspects of town. Culturally, my family has Mayflower and Daughters of the American Revolution ancestry. My mother was born in China, near Beijing, and lived tgere fir 15 years with her family. I have rich and varied experience to bring to my role as Selectman, which will aid in my decision-making process.

Claire B. Wright:        I have given 30 years of service to the town, on a wide variety of boards and committees, learning how town government works, understanding our needs and problems, and finding ways to address them. I understand where we have been, who we are, and the issues that determine where we are going. This time of intense growth poses great challenges and is the source of much concern.  Serving as an elected member of the Planning Board for the last 15 years, I have gained a depth of knowledge in the complex issues of managing growth, respecting property rights, working within the law, and responding to the townspeople’s concerns.  This is the solid background in town government, public policy, and citizen outreach that the Board of Selectmen requires.

Question 5: What are the top three priorities that will guide your decision-making as Selectman?

Brendan T. Tedstone:
Managed growth
Manageable tax rate
A cohesive, transparent and open relationship with the Hopkinton citizens

Michael P. Umina, Sr.:
Priority 1. Can we afford it?
Priority 2 Can we get the same things we want for less money?
Priority 3 Can we control our spending?

Margaret A. Wiggin:
1) Full understanding of all aspects of a proposal or decision.
2) Evaluation of which decision best helps Hopkinton as a whole, and aligns with the people’s will.
3) Consulting people who know about an issue, telling them what we want to do and asking their advice/opinion on how best to proceed.

Claire B. Wright:
1. Is this fiscally responsible or burdensome to the taxpayer?
2. Is this in the long-term best interests of the town?
3. Have citizens been heard, their concerns understood, and efforts made to accommodate them?

Question 6: How do you define your budget priorities when tough decisions have to be made?

Brendan T. Tedstone: In the medical field, we routinely have to triage patients. This is when we have multiple patients needing our immediate assistance at the same time. Triaging is when we place the ones that need the most urgent attention first, and some of the ones that we can put off for a bit until later. This is the same train of thought that I have moving in to a Selectman. The immediate, hot button, issues that need immediate attention get it and the ones of not so urgent are reviewed after. Not sent away, but reviewed after.

Michael P. Umina, Sr.:
1 People of the town
2 Education
3 Whats left

Margaret A. Wiggin: I would lean towards fiscal conservatism at this point. There have been a lot of proposals for spending large amounts of money in recent years, and I think many of those expenses could have been pared down or prioritized to not put as great or as quick an increase on the town budget.
We need to evaluate what will benefit Hopkinton, as a whole, and then carefully and thoughtfully go through our options before deciding to spend large sums of money.

Claire B. Wright:      Foremost in budget policies will need to be managing to keep our services level and avoid deterioration in quality while at the same time staying within the 2 ½% levy limit.  Efficiencies, seeking out areas of duplication, or finding ways to perhaps combine or streamline functions are some possible approaches.  Budgeting needs to include capital asset management, so that our assets are not allowed to deteriorate.  Times of tight budgets – which we will face – make this a challenging objective, but all the more important, because the temptation to defer upkeep will end up costing us more.  At the top of the capital asset management list must be a plan for the repurposing of Center School.

Question 7: What will you do to minimize the tax burden for seniors and residents on fixed incomes?

Brendan T. Tedstone: Keep holding the feet to the fire of the people that have the ability to make the decisions to manage expenses. Developers, Town Managers, department heads and other boards are all players in this game

Michael P. Umina, Sr.: I would like to see taxes commensurate with income. Housing for poorer people is provided by the state as a percentage of income. When someone has worked all their life and paid taxes in town for over 20 years, their taxes on their primary residence should be no higher than a percentage of their income, and remain that way until they either move or pass on, as long as they are the head of the household. The taxes should at least be frozen for them at the level they are at when they reach retirement. Maybe then they might be able to stay in town.

Margaret A. Wiggin: I would like to see seniors and residents on fixed incomes have a tax break and the application process for this modification be simple and streamlined so it is possible for seniors to continue to live in the town where they raised their children.

Claire B. Wright:    The Board of Selectmen does not have direct control over the taxes of our seniors. Fortunately,      there are a number of methods for direct relief within the town.  Seniors can file with the Board of Assessors for a tax exemption of $1,000. In recent years, the town has voted to accept an additional exemption under Massachusetts law, granting up to an additional 75% of real estate tax relief, for a total tax exemption of $1,750.  In addition, the town maintains a Tax Relief Fund, supported by citizen donations, to offer additional aid to seniors and others in need.  The State of Massachusetts Real Estate Tax Credit (Circuit Breaker Credit) also gives seniors means-tested relief from state income taxes.
The Board of Selectmen must weigh the effects of all spending initiatives on our citizenry as a whole, but with added consideration for those with fixed or limited incomes, who are least able to absorb rising taxes.

Town Clerk Candidate Q & A

CandidateComposite-2016-TownClerk

eHop posed the following questions to our Town Clerk Candidates and we are posting their responses here exactly as submitted. We thank them for their time and for their commitment to Hopkinton. In addition we recommend voters watch the HCAM Contested Races Debate and the Women’s Club Meet the Candidates Night, both of which are available on the HCAM YouTube Channel.

TOWN CLERK, For 3 years, Vote for 1

Question 1: Town Clerk is a complex job including overseeing all federal, state, and local elections, preserving all vital statistics and documents, issuing licenses and permits, recording and certifying official action taken at Town Meeting. The International Institute of Municipal Clerks offers a Certified Municipal Clerk Program including extensive education and training for this role. Do you think certification is important? Do you plan to become certified?

Connor B. Degan: I think that certification is critical to the position and I am looking forward to attending the program. I have worked as part of the electoral process now for various state elections and have had the added bonus of working directly in the Hopkinton Town Clerk’s office where I have been privy to the day-to-day operations that are required of the position. I continue to express my sincere interest in serving my town – the town in which I grew up. I don’t look at this as an interim position, but as a place where I can use my education, my experience, and my enthusiasm to make a difference and to give back to this community. I have the added insight of already attending a municipal town clerk’s conference that I was invited to by our Hopkinton Town Clerk and I understand the many complexities along with the training requirements that will be essential in making my contribution to the position of town clerk successful.

Henry R. Kunicki: The Town Clerk position is a complex job and requires someone who has managed complex projects in their career. I have managed highly complex projects for both small and large companies along with working with all members of town government for over twenty years. Becoming a Certified Municipal Clerk will assist me in performing the duties of Town Clerk and I intend to become certified should I be elected Town Clerk.

Question 2: The Hopkinton Personnel Committee sponsored an Article to change Town Clerk from an elected to an appointed position, however it did not pass at Town Meeting. Meanwhile, the Charter Review Committee is considering the pros and cons of making this change. Do you think Town Clerk should remain elected or become an appointed position and why?

Connor B. Degan: In my opinion, the town clerk is a position that should always be accountable to the residents of the town and therefore should remain elected. The position of town clerk serves as the gatekeeper to the town hall and chief elections officer. I feel strongly that the position should remain party neutral so that it can serve town government without bias and is fully accountable to the people it serves and the law that it upholds.

Henry R. Kunicki: Town Meeting did not pass the Article to change Town Clerk from and elected to an appointed position because town members felt it the Charter Review Commission was a better venue to review the subject as it would allow them to hold public hearings before a recommendation is made. I agree with this decision. I am in favor of Town Clerk becoming an appointed position as it would allow the town to conduct a professional search for someone that best meets the job position requirements. The Town Clerk position is one that should be free of politics and candidates chosen solely on merit and I believe this is the best way of ensuring that in the future.

Question 3: The recording, preservation, and sharing of town data is a key responsibility of Town Clerk. In this digital age, how can the Town Clerk use new technologies to manage data and increase accessibility of data to the general public?

Connor B. Degan: Maintaining, innovating, and streamlining town data keeps residents informed and increases efficiency. I am an advocate for government transparency and will work with IT to resolve issues with viewing the agendas and minutes online so people can easily access information. I have valuable insight to the various digital communication available today and how best to utilize that. I am confident that I can work with the Community Preservation Committee to digitize the town records. I see a critical need to apply my skills to help implement technology in the clerk’s office to increase efficiency and reduce long-term costs.

Henry R. Kunicki: As Chairman of the Hopkinton CPC I fully supported the efforts of the past two Town Clerks in the preservation of old records. I encouraged the funding not only the physical preservation of old data but also digitizing these records and making them available on the web. I would continue the work funded by the CPC for this project. We will utilize cloud storage in addition to the physical storage of data and make all public records available as part of the Hopkinton Municipal web site.

Question 4: As Town Clerk, what will you do to increase voter awareness and participation?

Connor B. Degan: The town clerk has to continue to be a catalyst for voter education. I think there has been great strides, but I want to see even more when it comes to not only educating young voters, but making them active participants. They need to understand that their vote counts and it is key for them to understand the issues. I want to reach out to all residents about being involved and see a great value in educating our youth on the system early and cultivating a passion for self governance. I have already laid the groundwork to work with the schools to educate future voters and help our next generation become more informed and driven to be politically involved.

Henry R. Kunicki: I would encourage more utilization of social networking to make voters aware of all issues both for town elections and prior to Town Meetings. We need to encourage more citizens to participate in all Town Forums and making the warrant available on the web prior to Town Meeting would assist in meeting that goal.

Town Moderator Candidate Q & A

Town Moderator Candidates - Karlin and Garabedian

eHop posed the following questions to our Town Moderator Candidates and we are posting their responses here exactly as submitted. We thank them for their time and for their commitment to Hopkinton.  In addition we recommend voters watch the HCAM Contested Races Debate and the Women’s Club Meet the Candidates Night, both of which are available on the HCAM YouTube Channel.

TOWN MODERATOR, For 3 years, Vote for 1 

Question 1: What do you think are the key characteristics of a good moderator? Give an example of a time you have demonstrated these characteristics.

Bruce G. Karlin: No response received by deadline.

Thomas J. Garabedian:  A good moderator must have a solid understanding of the articles and issues that will be before the town meeting, must be articulate, must have the ability to process information quickly, must be patient and yet know when to move the meeting along, and must have the ability to comprehend and reframe issues in a clear and understandable manner so that the town meeting participants can make informed decisions.
Through my career as a consulting actuary, I’ve had numerous opportunities with many clients to conduct large group meetings where I was responsible for the communication and explanation of complicated retirement benefit program changes. A typical session would start with an overview of the current program, a description of the plan changes, and a review of the impact of the changes on representative employees. After making the presentation, I would be responsible for answering employee questions. There were often very technical issues and employees were often concerned about their impact, and the challenge which I met was to convey that technical information clearly and in a way that was accessible to the every day employee.

Question 2: What do you think has been working well with our Town Meeting?

Bruce G. Karlin: No response received by deadline.

Thomas J. Garabedian: I think that most everything about Town Meeting works reasonably well. However, I think that there are several areas which could stand improvement. I’ve expressed that Town Meeting runs longer than it should and that serves to reduce the number of townspeople who participate. I’ve noticed that the important business of the first night of Town Meeting doesn’t begin until 7:30PM or about 30 minutes after the return of the warrant by the Town Clerk. I also think that the Consent Calendar (which is an attempt to group several “noncontroversial” articles together for quick passage) has not served Town Meeting well.
Meeting length is affected by the preparation of town employees, our volunteer boards, and our moderator. I believe that there are steps that can be taken by all involved that would enhance our awareness of issues, articles and motions well before Town Meeting begins. And that would help make Town Meeting even greater again!

Question 3: As we are reviewing our Town Charter, are there any changes or improvements would you like to see in the role of Town Moderator?

Bruce G. Karlin: No response received by deadline.

Thomas J. Garabedian: No, I believe that the current charter expresses an appropriate role for the Town Moderator.

Parks & Rec Candidate Q &A

CandidateComposite-2016-ParksRec

eHop posed the following questions to our Parks & Recreation Commission Candidates and we are posting their responses here exactly as submitted. We thank them for their time and for their commitment to Hopkinton.  In addition we recommend voters watch theHCAM Contested Races Debate and the Women’s Club Meet the Candidates Night, both of which are available on the HCAM YouTube Channel.

COMMISSIONERS OF PARKS & RECREATION, For 3 years, Vote for 1

Question 1:  What are your top three initiatives or priorities for programming in the next three years?

F. Eric Sonnett: My number One priority is the continuation of the program fee price stability for the next three years.  The Parks and Recreation Commission is an enterprise fund.  The enterprise fund is required to balance revenue verses expenses.  In a perfect world the fees charged for our programs would cover the expenses for the commission.  However, the Parks and Recreation commission has many non-revenue expenses that I feel should be paid for by the town and not the participants in our programs.  The town common’s care and programs such as free concerts are an example.  Should we lose this initiative with the town program fees would rise as much as 30% and some programs would be discontinued.
My number two priority is to expand our current programming to reflect the changing ethnic and age demographics in the town.  Programs should represent all age groups and nationalities.  Think badminton, cricket, bridge and bocce.
My number three priority is to continue to expand the environment to empower citizens and group to develop ideas for new programs.  A dedicated professional staff is in place to help coordinate these initiatives.

Kelly W. Karp: I believe that there is a growing demand for adult athletic programs in Hopkinton. I was instrumental in bringing the Women’s Flag Football League together last year and found that it was not only a fantastic opportunity to exercise and stay fit, but it provided an additional way for people with common interests to meet and socialize. I would love to see the department expand upon these offerings. Secondly, I would like the department to grow their current offering of Community Wellness programs to include stress management, healthy eating, spiritual, emotional and mental wellness activities. I would like to explore the opportunity of utilizing the Town Common for outdoor Yoga and other group fitness activities. Lastly, I would like to explore additional variations of “mommy and me” or “daddy and me” activities that would give parents and young children a chance to bond and interact with a focus on a fit and healthy lifestyle.

Question 2:  Where do you see the greatest investments should be as it pertains to the town’s facilities in the next 5-10 years?

F. Eric Sonnett: The Fruit Street Athletic Complex is the crown jewel of our Parks and Recreation Assets.  This year two new facilities will be built.  Parking and safety enhancements are also planned for this year.  We have the luxury of undeveloped land for future expansion and the need to do so.  By 2020 the housing units in Hopkinton will have increased by 2000 units.  Expansion is not a want but a necessity.  The need for a professional master plan is upon us.
The East Main Street Legacy Farms parcel that will be deeded to the town this year provides the opportunity to develop a masterpiece for the town.  This parcel could include a Marathon Museum, community center, public swimming pool, and athletic fields.  We are only restrained by our imaginations.
Facilities such as the approved dog park are being built and will be state of the art.  We are negotiating with Stanton Foundation to upgrade our dog park to world class status.  EMC Park will be expanded modernized and the Upper Charles Rail Trail will be an integral part of all that we do.

Kelly W. Karp: Long term, I would like Hopkinton to invest in a full-scale community recreation and wellness center including amenities such as an indoor track, basketball courts, racquetball courts, fitness studios, cycling studios, weight room and pool facilities just to name a few. In addition to offering exercise and fitness, I imagine the facility would serve as a community gathering place for fun and entertainment; learning and education and relaxation and would contribute to a healthy lifestyle for all ages. Short term I would like the department to invest in improving the quality and maintenance of some of our fields – specifically the baseball/softball fields at Hopkins and Carrigan Field.

Question 3:  With the Todaro/Irvine property allocation currently being determined, what do you feel is the best (parks & rec) use of this land?

F. Eric Sonnett: I currently serve on the Irvine Todaro Committee representing the Upper Charles Rail Trail Committee.  The number one Parks and Recreation use for this land is the Rail Trail.  That said the process to determine the use will be heavily influenced by the citizens.  A survey for ideas is in process and public information and discussion are planned for this summer and fall.  This will be a bottom up and not a top down process.  Imagination will be unleashed.

Kelly W. Karp: I would like to see the Irvine-Todaro property utilized for trails as a continuation of the Upper Charles Trail Committee’s vision to connect residents to the wide variety of natural resources Hopkinton has to offer. The proximity of the property provides a perfect opportunity to link EMC Park, Center Trail and the Town Common, making an accessible route for waking and biking to downtown and other points of interest in the community. A fully integrated trail system will add tremendous value to our community; it will allow for safe, healthy outdoor recreation as well as cultural and conservation activities.

Question 4:  There remains a lot of discussion around the weed control of Lake Maspenock – what recommendation would you make to the Weed Management and Control Advisory Group to evoke a timely and mutually beneficial resolution?

F. Eric Sonnett: I currently serve on the Lake Maspenock Weed Management and Control Advisory Group.  This group has hired a weed management expert who is directing the committee through a comprehensive process to define the problem and explore the solutions.  Virtually every weed management solution is being analyzed.  The committee has not yet arrived at a conclusion for the best action but feels that a long range plan is required.  We have done a survey of the citizens and have held two public meetings to date to keep the public informed of our progress and get their input.  More public meetings are planned.   Our goal is to present a plan to the Selectmen this fall.

Kelly W. Karp: From what I have been able to read and study, the issue of the lake weeds in Lake Maspenock is very complicated and not easily or quickly resolved. The Town has been studying and taking action in one form or another since at least 1979. Since then, actions taken have included lake draw-down and herbicide applications. Other recommendations over the years have included aeration, hydro raking, dredging and mechanical harvesting. There are serious pros and cons to all suggested methods of management above relating to safety, effectiveness, cost and feasibility and ultimately community input must be the determining force in deciding which method or methods to use. I believe the Lake Maspenock Weed Management and Advisory Group has been very thoughtful and thorough in understanding the need for community involvement. They have been very welcoming of community feedback via open meetings and public surveys and I would continue to support their outreach and education efforts. I believe that they are thoroughly evaluating the options for an effective, safe and long term solution and I am open to hearing all suggestions. I will continue to educate myself so that ultimately I can assist the community in choosing a solution that is best overall for the town and preservation of the Lake.

Board of Health Candidate Q & A

CandidateComposite-2016-BoardofHealth

eHop posed the following questions to our Board of Health Candidates and we are posting their responses here exactly as submitted. We thank them for their time and for their commitment to Hopkinton.  In addition we recommend voters watch the HCAM Contested Races Debate and the Women’s Club Meet the Candidates Night, both of which are available on the HCAM YouTube Channel.

BOARD OF HEALTH, For 3 years, Vote for 1

  • Philip A. Cohen, 3 John Matthew Rd, Republican, Incumbent • No Candidate Statement Received
  • Jennifer C. Flanagan, 238 Ash St, Democrat • Flanagan Candidate Statement

Question 1: Can you please tell us about your education, work experience and skills, and how they relate to the work of the Board of Health?

Philip A. Cohen: After completing medical school at Boston University, I continued my education at Boston Medical Center finishing my surgical residency in 2008. This included a Surgical Research Fellowship for two additional years, in addition to the five years of surgical training. I then went on to complete an advanced surgical fellowship in Minimally Invasive Surgery and Bariatric Surgery. Surgery relates to the Board of Health position beyond the obvious relationship between health and medicine. The Board of Health is also responsible for disaster management, which is an offshoot of trauma and emergency medicine, which I am well familiar with after training at BMC.
My other experience and skills have to do with home renovation and I consider myself to be a relatively handy home owner. I have a fairly good knowledge of plumbing and septic concepts, and enjoy learning more about those systems every day. I have also worked in kitchens as a short order cook and doing back of the house prep, and did research in a microbiology lab, so I understand fully the importance of restaurant and food service cleanliness.
The most important experience I have as it relates to the work of the Board of Health is the experience that I have gained while serving the Town of Hopkinton on the Board for the past year.

Jennifer C. Flanagan: I have been a Relationship Manager and Project Manager for large Risk Management companies for over 20 years. As a Relationship Manager, I build trust, manage expectations and maintain loyalty by being a trusted resource and ally to both my colleagues and my clients. In the case of the Board of Health, this would translate to the people of Hopkinton. I have lived in town for 17 years and formed strong relationships with countless people in town, through our children, common interests and volunteering.
As a Project Manager, I am tasked with garnering all the necessary resources from cross-functional teams to deliver what I have promised, on-time and as expected. This skill-set will be extremely helpful when working with the various Boards in our Municipal Government. The Board of Health needs to be able to work in collaboration with the Board of Selectmen, Parks and Recreation, Planning Board and the DPW, to name a few.
Additionally, I worked for a large insurance company for a number of years where I was responsible for visiting and training our clients; which included hospital, nursing home and school cafeterias as well as many large restaurant chains. These visits were to insure that our clients were in compliance with all worksite safety and Health Department Regulations, with the intent of circumventing any need for OSHA or Board of Health involvement. I believe that this experience brings a very unique skill-set to this position.

Question 2: What is the most important function of the Board of Health?

Philip A. Cohen: The Board of Health has a fairly large job description, but in general, the most important function of the Board is to maintain the public’s safety while upholding the laws and regulations of the Commonwealth.

Jennifer C. Flanagan: The primary function of the Board of Health is to keep our town healthy, both in our common space and in our homes. It is imperative that we find ways to deal with mosquito-borne illnesses and lake weeds in a way that does not introduce further risk to our community. The Board of Health will need to work with the Board of Selectmen, Parks and Recreation and the DPW to find healthy solutions for these problems.
It is also important to closely manage new construction and new businesses to insure that we are maintaining the integrity of our ground water and clean air.

Question 3: Do you see any public health safety issues in town that the Board of Health should become involved with?

Philip A. Cohen: Currently, no. But moving forward over the next several years, there will be items that will require some discussion. For example, the lake weeds issue will ultimately require discussion with the Board of Health, but no plans have been solidified by the Parks and Recreation Department and the commission. Another area that will ultimately need monitoring is the ever-changing landscape of disaster management to ensure that the Town has a reasonable plan in place that keeps the interest of the people in mind.

Jennifer C. Flanagan: Hopkinton is already a very healthy community. We are a town that is very cognizant of our wonderful natural resources; parks, trails and clean water. We know that we are lucky to live in a town that is so in tune with our overall health – our children’s especially. We do have things to address, as I mentioned above, but I am confident that we can do so in the least obtrusive way and keep Hopkinton the wonderful safe and healthy town we all love.

Housing Authority Candidate Q & A

eHop posed the following questions to our Housing Authority Candidates and we are posting their responses here exactly as submitted. We thank them for their time and for their commitment to Hopkinton.  In addition we recommend voters watch theHCAM Contested Races Debate and the Women’s Club Meet the Candidates Night, both of which are available on the HCAM YouTube Channel.

HOPKINTON HOUSING AUTHORITY, For 5 years, Vote for 1

Question 1: Can you please tell us about your education, work experience and skills, and how they relate to the work of the Housing Authority?

Nancy E. Kelleigh: In my opinion the most important criteria for a candidate for the Housing Authority Board is a genuine interest in serving the elders in our community. I have several degrees and relevant experience, but I’ve witnessed first hand the value of the wisdom and life experience among our residents that no degree can bestow.

Emily R. D’Urso: I have an undergraduate degree in psychology from Earlham College in Richmond Indiana. I got my very first full time job out of college working as an assistant property manager and have only ever worked in the field of multi family housing management. I have hands on experience working with housing authorities, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and implementing capital improvements.

Question 2: Ms Kelleigh: Can you give us an example of some of the programs you have worked on as a member of the Housing Authority?

Nancy E. Kelleigh: The board doesn’t run programs at the Housing Authority or manage its day to day operations. The Board’s primary function is to support the director; to review and approve budget items; and to be an active ear for residents who would like to be heard.

Question 2: Ms D’Urso: What made you decide to run for Housing Authority?

Emily R. D’Urso: I was asked to run.

Question 3: Do you think the town is meeting the housing needs of its low income residents? Do you have any suggestions for improvements?

Nancy E. Kelleigh: That might be a better question for the Planning Board. Many residential developments set aside a number of units for low income home buyers. In the case of rentals, as Board members, we do not have enough information regarding low income rental housing needs in our community. As a starting point, the town census may provide information to better assess this demographic.

Emily R. D’Urso: In all honesty I do know know what affordable housing is currently available in Hopkinton.Hou

Formerly Educate Hopkinton. Because Information Matters, a Civic League of Hopkinton, Massachusetts