The Town of Wellesley depends on the active participation of its citizens in governance of the Town.
Wellesley will hold a Special Election on Tuesday, Sept. 1, to fill a seat on the Board of Selectmen vacated by a BOS member who moved out of town.
The Board of Selectmen serves as the chief executive board of the Town, and as such, oversees all matters affecting the interest and welfare of the community. The Board exercises the authority vested in the Town not specifically assigned by law to any other board or office.
Three candidates are running for the single open seat. The candidate elected will serve for a term of six months, to expire at the next Annual Town Election on March 2, 2021
The three candidates running are Colette Aufranc, Gwen Baker, and Odessa Sanchez.
We invited each of the three candidates to answer a few questions about their qualifications and priorities for the Town of Wellesley. Colette Aufranc’s Q & A is below. Gwen Baker’s and Odessa Sanchez’s Q & A will appear pending their responses.
The Swellesley Report: What is your background and what qualifies you for this position?
The Board of Selectmen is the Town’s executive body with significant fiduciary responsibilities. By training, I am a Chartered Accountant (the UK equivalent of a CPA) and worked for twelve years as an auditor with PWC in the UK and USA. I am serving my third year on Wellesley’s Audit Committee and am the current chair. I have also been a Town Meeting Member since 2018. Running for election as a Town Meeting Member and seeking an appointment on the Audit Committee were purposeful steps I took in 2018 to gain a better understanding of Wellesley’s town government and its overall global financial picture.
I have volunteered for years in the community with several organizations including, but not limited to, Sprague PTO, Central Council of PTOs, The Teen Center, Sustainable Wellesley and Wellesley High School PTSO. Since 2006, I have acted as a neighborhood advocate in the redevelopment of Linden Square. This engagement was my introduction to Wellesley’s town
government and through this ongoing work I have learned how to make our residents’ voices heard by the various town boards and how to effect change within Wellesley’s complex government structure.
My background in finance, knowledge of Wellesley’s particular financial situation through the Audit Committee, and experience of Wellesley’s town government prepare me well to join the Board. My personal style of engagement is collaborative, polite, persistent and reasonable — something I think we can all appreciate.
SR: The Wellesley business district has faced challenges recently, as evidenced by several empty storefronts. How can the Board of Selectmen and the Town further support existing businesses and encourage new ones to come into Wellesley?
Colette Aufranc: Wellesley’s business community is facing unprecedented challenges. Our town has shown creativity and flexibility in supporting businesses by installing sanitizing stations, helping restaurants utilize outdoor spaces for dining, eliminating parking charges, working with the Community Fund for Wellesley to source meals for our vulnerable population in partnership with our local restaurants, and obtaining a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Transport to establish a “mobile mini parklet” in areas where restaurants do not have easy access to outdoor seating.