“Billerica Taxpayers Association – Candidate Assessments”
“The lack of Candidate participation in Taxpayer Questionaire sends a signal of lack of concern or contempt for the Taxpayers concerns. This seems to be a common theme that runs throughout the system of public service — from local Government to Congress”.
In the spirit of supporting an informed electorate the Billerica Taxpayers Association (BTA) sent questionnaires to Billerica Selectmen Candidates. The questionnaire was structured to measure each candidate’s commitment to the principles of sound fiscal and tax policy within the town of Billerica and their willingness to work closely with our state and community representatives to communicate and promote the needs of Billerica residents.
Four Candidates are running for two open Selectmen positions. Only one of the four candidates running for Selectman responded to the BTA questionnaire. Mike Rosa was that candidate and has demonstrated on many occasions a strong commitment to the principles of sound fiscal and tax policy in Billerica. He receives an overall Taxpayer Friendly rating of “Good” from the Billerica Taxpayers Association. The Selectman Questionnaire scored candidate answers to questions designed to assess six critical areas of suitability. These were: 1. Commitment to reduce the rate of growth in taxes and spending. 2. Understanding of the challenges facing Billerica and how they would address them. 3. Understanding of the roles and responsibilities of selectmen. 4. Understanding and support for strict conflict of interest and ethics standards. 5. Support for a more disciplined and structured budget development and justification process.
Of the remaining candidates running for Selectman all refused to participate in the Taxpayer assessment or refused to communicate with the Billerica Taxpayers Association.
There are four candidates vying for the two open seats on the School Committee. However, only two of the four responded to the BTA questionnaire. Those candidates were Sandra Giroux and Ann-Marie Norman. Sandra Giroux received an overall Taxpayer Friendly rating of “Good” from the BTA while Ann-Marie Norman received an overall Taxpayer Friendly rating of “Poor” from the BTA. A key component of the poor rating was Ann-Marie’s potential for conflict of interest which is of serious concern to the BTA, because of the School Committee’s current predominate makeup of individuals that have a high potential for conflict of interest issues. The School Committee is currently dominated by people belonging to or closely associated with municipal unions or work for companies doing business with the Town or School Departments. The BTA feels that a committee with a more independent and conflict free makeup would ensure that Taxpayer interests are represented and that our investment in infrastructure was properly maintained.
The remaining candidates running for School committee did not respond to the BTA questionnaire.
The Planning Board has three open seats with five candidates vying for those seats. Four of the five candidates participated in the BTA assessment. Robert Casey, Rome Capobianco, David Savinao and David Kinsella responded to the BTA questionnaire. All four received a BTA rating of “Average” with less than a few percentage points of difference between the candidates.
The BTA also sent a questionnaire to the candidate running unopposed for Town Moderator, Mr, Gilbert Moreira. Based on his response, Mr. Moreia received an overall Taxpayer Friendly rating of “Good” from the BTA. One key area we would have like to see Gil improve is the establishment of a fair and balanced committee appointment process that selects the best qualified candidate, with documented selection criteria.
The BTA does not endorse candidates. Instead, the BTA rates candidates for their relative suitability in supporting the principles of sound fiscal and tax policy within the town of Billerica. Please visit the BTA’s website and learn more about the BTA (www.billericabta.wordpress.com) and view the Candidate Questionnaire and Responses. The BTA asks that all residents of Billerica take the time to be informed and exercise their right to vote.
Go to Cadidate Response Page for more detail: