Thursday February 28, 2013
BS Education, Salem State College, MA (Prof. Designations) CLU, ChFCAmerican College, PA
Occupation: Financial Advisor
Years as SB resident: 30 years
What skills uniquely qualify you for the position of City Councilor?
I bring leadership experience from the many local, state and national boards I have served on and presided over. As a financial planner I bring 34 years of experience with budgets, financial reports and fiscal oversight. I am an effective communicator and a respectful listener. I’ve prepared and administered multi-million dollar budgets and have the ability to make tough decisions when necessary. My chief purpose as a councilor is to serve you, the people of So. Burlington.
Interim Zoning is at the half-way point. What are its successes and/or failures. What are your post-IZ objectives?
The committees studying form based codes, affordable housing, sustainable agriculture and open space established under IZ have engaged a large number of volunteers and are producing what appears to be some valuable work that will be incorporated into the comprehensive plan and will impact land development regulations. As a Council member I’d look forward to assessing these results and ensuring that the revised plan and LDR point the way toward a vibrant community that is an even better place to live and work than it has been in the past.
Could all of this have been done without the controversy, rancor and lawsuits brought on by IZ? The answer is yes. The comprehensive plan revisions were already underway. The outstanding response by dozens of volunteers would have occurred without IZ. Finally, there is no evidence there was runaway development for IZ to prevent.
South Burlington has a unique relationship with VTANG, Burlington International Airport, and the city of Burlington. What are your views on airport related finances, expansion, noise, and loss of housing. What role does City Council hold?
As a transportation hub, an Air Guard Base and a commercial center the airport provides thousands of jobs directly on site and indirect jobs from businesses depending on the airport. Our tax base also benefits. While So. Burlington houses the airport, it is owned by Burlington. We do have one seat on the Airport Commission. In recent years expansion and federal noise regulations have driven the purchase by the airport of a number of affordable homes.
The City Council has not asserted itself effectively. Other than voting to oppose the F-35 before all the facts were in, the city has not been an effective participant regarding airport expansion planning or planning what will replace the housing. I pledge to improve communications with Burlington so that So. Burlington has an effective seat at the airport planning/development table.
The city is at a difficult crossroad on many issues, including management, policy, and process. How will you determine what direction best balances the needs of the community moving forward?
I am firmly in favor of continuing the Council/Manager form of government. I would like to see a national search undertaken to hire our next city manager. Although I am in favor of a committee to screen applicants, the final responsibility for due diligence leading to selection rests with the City Council. In addition to seeking a well educated professional with experience in a similar community, I believe we need a manager who sees him or herself as an ambassador from the city to the citizens and a leader of a competent and friendly team of employees.
What do you feel is the single most pressing concern for the city, and what solutions/actions would you propose?
The single most pressing concern for our city is the degree of divisiveness that has entered the everyday processes of operation and decision making. It could be said that great issues are at stake and disagreement is normal and healthy. I don’t believe the atmosphere derives from the issues- they could be settled with research, analysis and civil discussion. I believe the divisiveness is a top-down problem. A new city manager will help but he or she will only be as good as the leadership received from the City Council. I pledge to change the leadership style if I am elected.
My background and experience in financial services will help bring to the council a skill that I believe is lacking now. I will work hard on your behalf and want to see the city coming together with a renewed spirit.
One of the first recommendations would be to hold 2 Town Meeting sessions a year when everyone can meet and discuss issues with the council,department heads and city manager. We need an open forum and cannot afford 2-3 more years of these imprudent financial decisions… Vote Pat Nowak for a positive change for So. Burlington.