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Tooker: Schools insights and fiscal acumen

Published 4:40 pm, Thursday, October 17, 2013
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You and I, we chose to make Westport our home. Effective town government is essential to ensure people continue to choose Westport. Your choice on Nov. 5 really matters. I am uniquely qualified for the Board of Finance because of my Board of Education experience and my professional experience. Here are my thoughts on the work ahead.

Bring firsthand knowledge of the Board of Education to the Board of Finance. We spend 60 percent of our town budget on education. As a current member of the Board of Education, I'm the only candidate who can bring a detailed understanding of this budget to the Board of Finance.

Understand the cost of our long-term pension and other post-retirement benefits obligations to employees. We must understand the total cost of an employee. The OPEB fiasco cannot be repeated. It is only with full transparency of costs that we can agree on a solution going forward.

Create a framework for fiscal decisions. Every week, the news highlights a new initiative in Westport. We need a consistent framework to evaluate the financial consequences imbedded in these initiatives, which considers our residential experience and long-term cost structure.

Deliver effective town services. Westporters deserve high-quality town services, and we aren't consistently getting them. Identifying long-term, recurring operational efficiencies, while maintaining high-quality services, is critical to Westport's future.

No other candidate possesses the same combination of unique qualifications. My current service on the Board of Education gives me an unmatched understanding of our education budget. My professional financial services and management experience -- specifically operational budget expertise -- is directly applicable to the work of the Board of Finance.

I chose Westport as my home. I am committed to the future of Westport. Please make Jennifer Tooker your choice for the Board of Finance on Nov. 5.