During the campaign, there are questions I frequently here from voters. I will continue to build this inventory of questions and my positions here.
Statement on Code of Conduct and Social Media Policies for Elected Officials
All of us need to be accountable for our actions and our words. Our words matter. This is particularly true for leaders and those who seek to represent all members of our community. Leaders must do everything possible to foster an environment that is open, inclusive, and welcoming.
I personally value an inclusive and diverse community and culture. I demonstrate that in my work, my relationships, and how Melanie and I are raising our children. Diverse thinking drives better solutions. I have an inclusive style of leadership that values all perspectives. As a member of the Board of Selectmen, I will actively work to improve the connections between the Board and the community. I will work to ensure all members of our community feel welcome and comfortable engaging with the Board.
In regards to a social media policy, it is important that we use the correct terminology. Social media policies typically are intended to control who has the authority to officially represent the town in social media channels, while Codes of Conduct specify what behaviors are expected and/or tolerated within an organization. North Attleboro has both policies in place today. I don’t believe the channel of communication (email, spoken, social media, hand written etc.) is relevant. Racism is unacceptable regardless of where it takes place.
A Code of Conduct can be enforced with employees, however elected officials are held accountable by the voters either via re-election of in some cases by recall vote. That being said, nothing prevents elected officials from holding themselves accountable. As such, I personally pledge to adhere to the behaviors specified in the North Attleboro Code of Professional Conduct for employees approved by the Board of Selectmen on June 18, 2015.
Finally, as a candidate actively campaigning for a seat on the Board of Selectman, it is inappropriate for me to call for the resignation of a current sitting member. I would benefit directly from such a resignation and that therefore represents a clear conflict of interest. I would however advocate for an active dialog on what we can learn from these recent incidents and how we can make North Attleboro better in the future.
Am I in support of the Home Rule Charter commission?
I am 100% in support of the home-rule charter and the process to get there. I applaud my fellow volunteers that worked tirelessly to collect the 3000+ signatures needed to get the question on the ballot. I think it is premature, however, to have a position on what the final outcome should be. I hope that we elect a group of open-minded citizens to the Commission and they are willing to listen to input, study the alternatives, and committed to making a recommendation that will improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our government. I hope this recommendation is balanced and able to achieve voter support.
What is my position on a dual tax rate?
I think the dual tax rate is a complex question and the situation varies year to year and certainly over time. I know many residents are in favor of it because it has been successfully implemented in other towns and shifts the burden from residents to businesses and I assume they believe this is justified based on the logic that businesses are making a profit in the town. However on the other hand, relatively speaking, in North Attleboro businesses represent such a small percentage of the overall tax base that to create a meaningful impact for the residents, the shift on the businesses would be dramatic. So, in some ways it has become a matter of optics. You could implement a dual tax rate, but in the scale currently discussed, residents would barely notice the impact. So, bottom line, I don’t have a blanket position, I think it is situation specific.
What is my party affiliation?
I should start by saying fundamentally I don’t believe that blanket party politics are valuable in determining how to best move North Attleboro forward and local offices are non-partisan by nature. I think the current state of our two party system drives us to the extremes of philosophy when I believe we have much more in common than not. Unfortunately the system forces us to choose sides. The most important decisions we have today sit on a continuum, not a coin.
That being said, voters want to know how I think.
I am a fiscally conservative Independent. Abraham Lincoln said it best, “The legitimate object of government is to do for a community of people whatever they need to have done, but can not do at all, or can not so well do, for themselves – in their separate, and individual capacities.”