The Town of Wellesley depends on the active participation of its citizens in governance of the Town. Wellesley has 11 Boards and Committees on the ballot at the Annual Town election each year in March. The 2020 election will be held on March 17.
Tom Skelly is one of two candidates running for a single open 1-year term on the Board of Public Works (BPW). The three-member BPW is made up of local residents. Like other town boards, members of the Board of Public Works receive no payment for their volunteer services.
The BPW, acting through the Director and Managers of the Department of Public Works (DPW), helps provide multiple services to the Town such as: engineering and technical services as related to Town Facilities; highway services, including those for roads, sidewalks, and drainage systems; services to parks, recreation areas, trees, and open space; services related to the Recycling and Transfer Facility; services for the Town’s water and sewer systems; and practice sound fiscal practices related to all of the above.
We invited the candidates to answer a few questions about their qualifications and priorities for the Town of Wellesley. Below are candidate Tom Skelly’s answers. Candidate Scott Bender’s Q & A appeared in a previous post.
The Swellesley Report: What is your background and what qualifies you for the position?
Tom Skelly: 23 yrs Town Meeting Member; Library Trustees three years; Advisory Board three years ending as Chair; current BPW/Municipal Light Plant (MLP) member; local business owner; husband and dad.
SR: Why are you running for a position on the Board of Public Works?
Tom Skelly: To assist the Board of Public Works and the Municipal Light Plant with the management of its budget; to assist management with achieving its goals for the year; to bring more clarity to the construction process to the town; to increase sustainability efforts across both boards.
SR: What if any changes would you like to see take place in town as they relate to Public Works?
Tom Skelly: I believe the Recycling and Disposal Facility management will become more of a challenge in the coming years. There are shifts in the economics of recycling that will have an impact on the town. Managing those risks will allow us greater returns when we sell our recycling material. We should be over communicating our construction timelines with citizens and neighbors that abut the project. Move to become more sustainable as time moves on and the town purchases more energy from renewable sources.
SR: What are the most pressing needs in Wellesley as they relate to Town services?
Tom Skelly: The budget is balanced, and looks like it may be balanced in the near future. However, we will need to vote overrides in the next 3 – 5 years to support the building of two schools. That will have an impact on the BPW/MLP budgets. I believe my knowledge of municipal finance from my time on the Advisory Committee will be of service the the BPW/MLP.
SR: What would you like to see achieved in the long-term in town?
Tom Skelly: Attention to the total town-wide budget and how town departments can share the wealth of resources the town has already. For example: the IT department can be of help to all the departments in town if allowed in to analyze IT usage on a per-department basis.Other departments should come to the MLP for assistance on energy conservation. Others should ask BPW for help with small construction projects they have within their capital budgets.
SR: Is there anything else you’d like to say that I haven’t covered?
Tom Skelly: Both departments are innovative. I look forward to building more solar arrays within town, building charging stations for electric cars, moving people to buying electric heat pumps. Helping to solve any dead-spot issues with the Town’s cell phone coverage. Improving communication with the citizens from both committees.