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, held this year on Tuesday, March 2.
There are two candidates running for one open seat on the Board of Public Works. The BPW, acting through the Director and Managers of the Department of Public Works, 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.
The Board of Public Works candidates are Scott Bender and John Bubeck.
The Swellesley Report invited the candidates to answer a few questions about their qualifications and priorities for the Town of Wellesley. (Here’s a link to Bubeck’s Q & A.)
Scott Bender—candidate for Board of Public Works
The Swellesley Report: What is your background and what qualifies you for the position?
Bender: As a lifelong Wellesley resident, I have enjoyed so many areas of our community. I attended Upham, Bates, WMS and WHS. My kids, now young adults, went to Sprague and are currently at WHS. I have walked, played and traversed our town on virtually all trails, sidewalks and roads and have grown ever more committed to working hard to maintain and improve infrastructure for all who find themselves within our borders. In 2008, I started working with our Municipal Light Plant to share my passion for energy by organizing residential energy efficiency seminars. Later that year, I was appointed to Wellesley’s Green Ribbon Study Committee, which developed Wellesley’s first greenhouse gas reduction goal and proposed the formation of the Sustainable Energy Committee (SEC). Subsequently, I was appointed and served on the SEC for 8 years. During this time we collaborated with the WMLP on the Voluntary Renewable Energy, Solar and Home Energy Audit Programs. While on the SEC I founded Sustainable Wellesley, bringing together a wonderful team of highly skilled and dedicated residents with a passion for environmental stewardship. I have also served as an elected Town Meeting Member since 2012.
Professionally, I am a product manager and engineer with a proven track record of bringing complex products from business plan through product release and implementation. I thrive in a team environment and enjoy finding creative solutions to
Last year I was part of a team that successfully brought a citizens petition to town meeting to accelerate reduction in Wellesley’s greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, I was elected to the Board of Public Works. These experiences, combined with my
background have prepared me to assist Wellesley’s Public Works as it looks ahead to create a stronger, healthier, more resilient and connected community.
TSR:What are the town’s most pressing needs in optimizing its infrastructure in the short term and the long term?
Bender: As a “Tree City,” Wellesley has consistently supported responsible use of resources, and as a “Green Community” even voted in favor of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions and the future. Our town residents are counting on our DPW and WMLP to realize these aspirations.
In the short term, we have conservation and efficiency opportunities in our use of electricity and water. There are many opportunities that are low-hanging fruit where residents can save money while implementing best practices. As a Board member I am excited to work with the DPW management team to investigate and implement initiatives for water conservation via the EPA WaterSense Program.
On the WMLP Board, I have been working on electricity initiatives to further reduce our town’s greenhouse gas emissions. I also look forward to applying my extensive experience with home power meters and working with WMLP management to implement a pilot program with similar meters to achieve residential conservation and efficiency best practices.
In the longer term we have more complex challenges which require investment in infrastructure. For our WMLP, investments include updating our electric grid to keep pace with electrification of cars and home heating. Our DPW needs to invest in our aging infrastructure which manages storm water and enables multimodal local mobility for our seniors, elementary students and all who find themselves enjoying moving themselves about our town.
TSR:What are your ideas on how to increase the use of the RDF by residents?
Bender: Wellesley RDF has a long history of excellence in recycling, reusing and managing our waste. Residents already using our RDF likely know about our Food Waste Drop-off Program, but this relatively new and successful program is a unique opportunity for many who are less familiar with the wide array of waste management that our RDF has to offer. By separating food waste from our waste steam, residents can simultaneously reduce the tonnage headed for landfill by diverting food waste for energy generation. I believe that community outreach to promote this and other offerings at the RDF will add new users as well as increase food waste participation for those already using the RDF.
TSR: Is there anything else you’d like to say that I haven’t covered?
Bender: If re-elected, I would continue to use my technical knowledge, management and town experience as an active, effective member of Public Works and Light Plant Boards. This means working to update and increase resiliency of town infrastructure, advance technology integration to improve services and achieve Wellesley’s resource and environmental goals in a financially sound manner. Respectfully, I ask for your vote this election season.
TSR: How can voters get in touch with you?
Bender: Please learn more about me and reach out to me here.