Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: Do we REALLY want the Wayland that Kent George and Tony Boschetto appear to want?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Wayland MA
    Posts
    1,431

    Default Do we REALLY want the Wayland that Kent George and Tony Boschetto appear to want?

    Here's the text of an email that Wayland resident Kent George sent around. The first text in bold is his emphasis, not mine. "Tom" is likely Thomas Greenaway of the Finance Committee, and "Tony" is likely Tony Boschetto.

    Below their note, I point out why Mr. George's assertion that "we have never asked for a reduction of services at anytime [sic]" can AT BEST be characterized as highly misleading. In fact, "they" are doing EXACTLY THAT--asking for a reduction of services.

    If you support the Wayland Public Schools and do NOT wish to reduce the services that our schools provide,
    I urge you NOT to support Mr. Boschetto or Ms. Bouchard in their runs for elected office.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kent George
    Hi Neighbors and Friends,

    I am sending this to the many people in Wayland who have agreed to take emails regarding Wayland town government and particularly our work to reduce or at least stabilize our UNSUSTAINABLE property taxes.

    First, there is very good news and some bad news. The good news is that Tony Boschetto has taken out papers to run for the Board of Selectmen, and our other good friend Donna Bouchard has taken out papers to run for the School Committee. We are hoping to get a tremendous turnout at the polls and have these two stalwarts of tax and financial management get in official positions to be able to help with transparency, accountability and fiscal responsibility needed in town government.

    The bad news is that the Finance Committee (FinCom) seems pretty much set to approving a tax increase of approximately $2.00 per thousand, coming close to getting back to the $20 range up from $17.89 we got it down to this past spring and $19.01 in 2011. Tony, Donna and I have good communication with the FinCom and have told them that there are several issues with this budget, both on the town and school sides and given them our thinking on how to reduce that increase. So far, we have made no substantial impact on their collective thinking. It is important to know that we have never asked for a reduction of services at anytime. We believe that there is a big difference between what town officials see as "wants" and what we see as "needs with fiscal responsibility". There is always a way to keep budgets and property taxes in line with the proper approach and good financial management.

    We now are coming out to you to help with communication with other residents, and with town officials to let them know we are not going to allow these UNSUSTAINABLE property taxes. We will also later need you help for getting out the vote at the elections and Annual Town Meeting (ATM).

    I am enclosing below a letter we sent to the FinCom recently that outlined some of our major issues. In the meantime we have several volunteers working on specific department budgets and other major issues coming up. We have been clear that we believe that the ATM is being held, again, despite protestations, way too early in the year and gives little time for us to work with the FinCom or other town officials to go through the budget and make suggestions for changes. Therefore we may have to take the issues to the floor of town meeting and get up or down votes for the budget there. No one wants to have that take place so we are trying to plan ahead.

    Here is the letter that we sent to the FinCom on January 28, 2013:

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony
    Hi Tom,

    Thanks for sending the email and asking for feedback before tonight.

    I hope you were able to spend some quality time with the family this weekend.

    I will be unable to attend this evening as I have an audit committee meeting at the same time.

    I greatly appreciate your effort in preparing the analysis.

    I discussed some of the items with Donna and Kent and we took a quick look at your analysis and without substantive detail it is hard to evaluate and or opine on the budget as a whole.

    We believe there are many areas that need further scrutiny and once the final detailed budget is available, we will be working with others to analyze these recommendations against actual results and there could be possible recommended additional items for savings before town meeting and possible adjustments recommended at town meeting.

    In addition to comments below, we would strongly encourage the Fincom support of the recommendations of Annette Lewis with respect to the detailed reporting to be presented in the warrant and voted at town meeting.

    Even without the further detail, at this point, there are some areas where we believe immediate adjustments are warranted.

    1. We could not justify or support the funding of the Wayland Cares Program.

    2. We would recommend you defer any investment and funding of additional vehicles for capital spending until a more substantive fleet management and analysis program is implemented. Where are the vehicles, who are they assigned to, what is the annual mileage, what percentage of mileage is person vs. business, is there a policy for personal use and how is it maintained. This information is critical to evaluate our overall fleet costs and savings. One off requests for vehicles every year without this data is challenging to understand and support. This should be deferred until analysis is completed.

    3. As requested to the school comm…level funding for school budget. Finding efficiencies in a $33 million dollar appropriation is imperative for maintaining sustainability. [My emphasis]

    4. We do not believe there is a need for debt exclusion as there is sufficient room in the tax levy capacity to fund all new debt. The impact on the levy capacity for debt is only the annual debt service costs, not the entire debt issue. This can be managed appropriately within the current levy capacity.

    5. We do not see appropriate justification for further funding of OPEB until all questions are answered and a clear policy is documented to manage the investment of the funds and future costs based on the new legislation filed by Governor Patrick.

    6. Health Expense- we would look more closely at the proposed increases as some of the assumptions on health costs and enrollment do not appear consistent with actual data and information from the State. We are still waiting for the further analysis and breakout of the employee contributions and how they are managed. We would recommend level funding of this expense at actual expense levels from prior year.

    7. We could not see justification for increase staffing in the police and fire budget and recommend those positions be deferred.

    8. Any recommended funding of “reserve for salary adjustments” should be eliminated, if and when final contracts are negotiated, those adjustments can be made by either transfers from other funds, or appropriated at STM.

    Thanks for your time and effort and hard work. I believe there is significant room for improvement in this budget process that should make the work of the finance committee easier and the information more transparent. I hope that we can make some changes in the future, so the analysis is not this difficult.

    Thanks

    Tony
    In the main body of his note, Mr. George writes (emphasis his):

    Quote Originally Posted by Kent George
    It is important to know that we have never asked for a reduction of services at anytime. We believe that there is a big difference between what town officials see as "wants" and what we see as "needs with fiscal responsibility". There is always a way to keep budgets and property taxes in line with the proper approach and good financial management.
    Yet, point 3 of the letter that "Tony," Mr. George, and perhaps Ms. Bouchard sent to the Finance Committee urges:

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony
    3. As requested to the school comm…level funding for school budget. Finding efficiencies in a $33 million dollar appropriation is imperative for maintaining sustainability.
    Despite Mr. George's misleading assertion to the contrary, "level funding" of the school budget represents exactly a "reduction of services" to the tune of approximately $510,000. As I noted here, these cuts include but are not limited to a number of teachers.

    "Tony" has it backwards when he suggests cutting first and finding efficiencies later. Perhaps he might suggest the "efficiencies" he has in mind. Are they the same cuts that School Committee member Shawn Kinney wants?

    Are they the same "efficiencies" that Mr. George searched for but couldn't find when he did a detailed school budget analysis 6-8 years or so ago?

    Does potential School Committee candidate Donna Bouchard support this reduction of school services?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Wayland MA
    Posts
    1,431

    Default

    Here's my Town Crier/Wicked Local letter on this same subject: http://www.wickedlocal.com/wayland/n...chool-services

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    726

    Default

    The letter quoted above was presented at a FinCom meeting on January 28.

    Starting at about 14:26 on this link
    http://waycamtv.pegcentral.com/playe...b1989bcfbb435d

    the comments above are summarized by FinCom's Tom Greenaway.


    ---------------------
    This comment is made on my own behalf individually, and does not represent WaylandeNews or any other group with which I am affiliated.
    Last edited by Kim Reichelt; 03-27-2013 at 10:42 AM. Reason: to add disclaimer

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Wayland MA
    Posts
    1,431

    Default

    I'm disappointed to see Tony Boschetto's response to the growing awareness that Donna Bouchard and he made a concerted effort back in January to advocate on behalf of level funding for the school budget. Note that a level budget means a reduction in services to the tune of $1.2M.

    In a recent letter to Wayland Patch, Mr. Boschetto attempts to "set the record straight."
    http://wayland.patch.com/articles/le...eak-for-itself

    Mr. Boschetto might have said that they communicated poorly back in January. But he didn't. Instead, he claimed that they never advocated for level funding. The problem with setting the record straight is that when it was already straight to begin with, you end up making it crooked.


    ONE. In his point 3, Mr. Boschetto summarizes his comments at the October 15, 2012 School Committee meeting that I also attended. I agree, Mr. Boschetto spoke against the "Minus 10 Percent Budget," and I've never suggested otherwise. The key point here is that the Minus 10 Percent Budget would have been WELL BELOW a "Level Funding Budget."


    TWO. In his point 4, however, Mr. Boschetto writes, "I submitted a request to the finance committee asking for an analysis of Level Funding as a comparison to the other models as this was a more useful comparison than a 10 percent reduction." You can see the full text of this letter earlier in this thread.

    This statement is misleading for several reasons.

    a. While Mr. Boschetto may have SUBMITTED the January 28 "FinCom Request," he was not alone in AUTHORING it. In that FinCom Request, Mr. Boschetto writes, "I discussed some of the items with Donna and Kent ... there are some areas where we believe immediate adjustments are warranted."

    b. More importantly, Mr. Boschetto doesn't even HINT that Ms. Bouchard and he are asking for an "analysis of Level Funding as a comparison." Here are his words--please read them for yourself:

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Boschetto and Donna Bouchard
    ... there are some areas where we believe immediate adjustments are warranted.

    3. As requested to the school comm…level funding for school budget. Finding efficiencies in a $33 million dollar appropriation is imperative for maintaining sustainability."
    Mr. Boschetto and Ms. Bouchard are asking for Level Funding (that is, a service reduction) as an "immediate adjustment."


    THREE. In his point 5, Mr. Boschetto flat out contradicts Ms. Bouchard's/his FinCom Request, writing:

    Quote Originally Posted by Tony Boschetto
    I did NOT recommend or approve of any cuts in the school budget. I did NOT support a level funded budget.
    Compare the quote immediately above with the one that comes just before it and judge for yourself.

    Keep in mind that their Level Funding request was not a careless, off-the-cuff remark. It was stated clearly in their written FinCom Request. Mr. Boschetto and Ms. Bouchard then backed up their FinCom Request by attending the January 28 FinCom meeting later that day. At about the 14:20 mark of the video of that meeting (see link below), FinCom member Tom Greenaway summarizes the Boschetto/Bouchard FinCom Request. The segment specific to their Level Funding request for the schools starts at the 15:20 mark. The overall segment ends at the 16:45 mark. Neither Mr. Boschetto nor Ms. Bouchard made any objection to Mr. Greenaway's characterization of their having requested Level Funding (and not just an analysis for comparison purposes).
    http://waycamtv.pegcentral.com/playe...b1989bcfbb435d


    I first drew Mr. Boschetto's and Ms. Bouchard's attention to the harm that their Level Funding FinCom Request would do on the WaylandENews Discussion Forum on February 9. To my knowledge, it was not until the League of Women Voters' Candidates Night almost a month and a half later on March 21 that Mr. Boschetto first contradicted the January 28 Level Funding FinCom Request. He did NOT say that he had changed his mind. Rather, he said that he never made such a request.

    Well, the record CLEARLY shows that he did. It simply took the issue gaining traction for him to claim that he didn't. Unfortunately for him, the record was already straight.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    726

    Default

    In a similar vein, I would like to point out what seems to be a discrepancy between prior positions on WaylandCares.

    In the WaylandeNews Q&A, Tony Boschetto submitted on March 18 this response to the question "Do you support taxpayer funding for WaylandCares?":
    "I have not taken a position on the issue. I do not have sufficient information to evaluate the proposal and I believe there are still unanswered questions from residents that need to be addressed before I can make an informed decision. I look forward to seeing further information and responses to these open questions such that I can properly evaluate the budget request."
    But in that January 28 email, he wrote:
    Even without the further detail, at this point, there are some areas where we believe immediate adjustments are warranted.

    1. We could not justify or support the funding of the Wayland Cares Program.
    Perhaps he's learned more since January 28 that has shifted his position positively from the negative "we could not justify or support the funding of the Wayland Cares Program" to the neutral "I have not taken a position on the issue", but the fact is that he clearly had taken a position.

    [Note: At Candidates' Night, he did not take a position one way or the other, but referred only to the deterrent to alcohol use that stems from the MIAA zero-tolerance guidelines, from which I inferred (though he did not explicitly state) that he believes WaylandCares' work is not necessary (or worth the funding in any event). So this seems to imply he's back to the negative position stated in the 1/28 email [see http://waycamtv.pegcentral.com/playe...caaec6dfdfe4e0 starting at about 1:20:12]

    I understand that sometimes we change our minds - everybody does that, and I appreciate a willingness to be open. However, that doesn't seem to be what's happening here. Instead, we are seeing a change in an official position that is accompanied by denials that the prior positions ever occurred.

    If people support a candidate based on what they will do, then we should not let them be confused by the history of what they have done. It's fine to vote for Tony knowing that he recommended to the Finance Committee that they level-fund the schools (which amounts to a $1.2 million cut from maintenance of 2012-13 effort) and eliminate WaylandCares funding as they were finalizing the budget for this year's warrant if that's what the people really want. It's not fine, however, if people vote for him believing that this did not happen.

    ---------------------
    This comment is made on my own behalf individually, and does not represent WaylandeNews or any other group with which I am affiliated.
    Last edited by Kim Reichelt; 03-27-2013 at 01:49 PM. Reason: to add the date of the Q&A

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Wayland MA
    Posts
    1,431

    Default

    Here's how the Wayland Voters Network's Betty Salzberg characterized the January 28 meeting [WVN 484, February 4, 2013]:

    Quote Originally Posted by Wayland Voters Network
    Public comment included several citizens asking the FinCom to keep the budget level unchanged for next year. Emails FinCom members had received also sounded this note.
    Apparently, I'm not alone in noting Mr. Boschetto's and Ms. Bouchard's "level funding for school budget" request that would mean a cut of $1.2M below level services.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •