Election '13: Four candidates for three Board of Finance seats
Four candidates are running for Board of Finance in the Nov. 5 election, and three will be elected.
The only incumbent on the ballot is Democrat Brian E. Stern.
The board's current chairman, Republican Avi Kaner, is running for a seat on the Board of Selectmen. Its vice chairman, Democrat Helen Garten, is running for first selectman.
Here are the Board of Finance candidates, in alphabetical order, with what each identified as important issues:
Family: Wife, Diane, two children
1. Unfunded pension liability and the associated employee costs.
2. Investment in education, recreation and municipal services to meet future demands.
3. Identifying operating efficiencies and eliminating cost centers.
Family: Wife, Carolyn, three children
Occupation: Trusts and Estates partner at large international law firm
1. Maintaining and improving Westport's first-class schools, recreational facilities and services for seniors, while at the same time keeping property taxes from increasing significantly.
2. Contain rising employee benefit costs and continue to move from defined benefit plans to defined contribution plans.
3. Provide value for money by improving efficiency in our town government by eliminating redundancies, requiring increased productivity and, in certain cases, outsourcing certain tasks where it makes sense.
BRIAN E. STERN
Family: Wife, Barbara, three children
Education: Educated in the U.K. and then attended Harvard Business School MBA Program 1973.
Occupation: Former senior executive of Xerox. President of four large divisions. Director of large international corporations. Currently private investor and chairman of two small start-ups, and director of one large U.S. public company. Currently serving on the Westport Board of Finance.
1. Deliver value for money for the Westport Taxpayer by improving productivity, aggressively outsourcing, eliminating waste and redundancy, simplifying government processes, and making greater use of our substantial IT investment.
2. Invest in Westport. Interest rates are low, our credit rating is sound, our tax base is increasing, and due to the recession we have underinvested in the past four years. My investment priorities are education, family amenities (the beach, Longshore Park, the library), services for seniors, and managing the multiple traffic issues.
3. Urgently and professionally solve, for the long term, the issues surrounding pension and OPEB liabilities.
Family: Married, three children
Education: University of Notre Dame, BA in Economics
1. As a current member of the Board of Education, I am the only candidate who will bring first-hand knowledge of the education budget and operations, which is 60 percent of town spending, to the Board of Finance.
2. Understanding the total cost of our town employees, including long-term pension and OPEB obligations, will be critical as we determine solutions that are fair to employees and to tax payers.
3. Creating a consistent framework for fiscal decisions which considers our residential experience and long-term cost structure will be important as we look to invest in Westport's town services and amenities.