Letter: Picard Rebuts Daugherty’s “Three Points”

letters

Gary,

This campaign has been free of all the negativity that is engulfing the current Federal election. Your letter is nicely composed but is not accurate. I also understand that your desire to run for selectmen is not a reflection on my performance, but the performance of other departments. I can assure you that as a Selectman I will always expect continuous improvement from all parts of our Town government. I am compelled to respond with factual information with respect to the three points that you brought up in your recent letter to Upton voters.

  • Our third municipal well did not run dry. The well was not shut down last summer. Last summer was very dry and water draw from our 3rd  well was slowed down as not to impact the long term performance of this well.  To maintain the capacity of the system the other two municipal wells draws were increased.  The Board discussed this issue in public session. With regards to accountability. When the 3rd  well was put into production it was not meeting design results. The Board held the design firm accountable and the repairs were completed with no additional charges to the tax payer.  The Board did not publicly chastise the design firm for its errors and omissions, but collaboratively worked with the design firm to implement changes that would meet design results at no cost to the tax payers.Providing better delivery of municipal services is a theme in the Strategic Leadership Plan. You are correct that the CY2014 & 2015 score cards have not been updated.
  • Early this year the Board signed an Executive Order agreement with the Lt. Governor to find better ways to report, present, and implement financial operations.  With this $25,000 grant the Board will be hiring a firm to evaluate our financial policies and procedures.  I am sure there will be some changes.  On the Town website there is a tab called Financial – ClearGov.  ClearGov is a private firm that collects data from the Department of Revenue (DOR) and compares similar communities with respect to their financial performance.  Yes, there were some minor category and calculation errors when ClearGov was first launched on the Town website. Those errors have been corrected. Providing better financial information is a theme in the Strategic Leadership Plan. You are correct that the CY2014 & 2015 score cards has not been updated.
  • Yes, our tax rate is high, but you fail to address that this is the will of the people. The citizens at Town Meeting and at an election determined with their vote to provide the school district with additional funding.The Board does not raise or levy taxes, but executes the voters’ decisions derived from the Town Meeting and election. Would you prefer an all powerful Board that does not provide the voters an ability to determine what they want to support or not support? We need to ask ourselves; are we getting value for our tax dollars, are our tax dollars being wasted?  The three largest spending categories which account for 80% (Upon Budget Presentation 2017) of the budget are; Education, Public Safety, and Department of Public Works.
      • Are you satisfied with the performance of Upton’s school districts?
      • Are you satisfied with the performance of Upton ’s public safety departments?
      • Are you satisfied with the performance of Upton’s public works departments?

    I ask you again to check out the Financial – ClearGov tab on Upton’s  web site and compare the Town’s historical data and trends.  Upton’s government is not extravagant.  In most cases it is spending below the mean when compared to similar Towns.

  • Yes, you are correct; the Strategic Leadership Plan score card has not been recently updated.That does not mean that the Board has not been attempting to implement objectives of the nine strategic themes.  We are addressing fiscal transparency and accountability, we are addressing increasing value and utilization, we are addressing continuous improvement, and you are proof that we are addressing increased involvement.The Board is continuing to create positive impact for the residents of our community. Our latest initiative is addressing this theme with the Opioid Task Force.

Is our Town government performing better now that it was nine years ago? I would answer yes.  Does our Town government need to continue to improve? I would answer yes? I have been an agent of change my entire tenure in Town Government.  I believe that Town government should strive for excellence with continuous improvement.

Ken Picard

Upton

About Jennifer Doyle

Comments

  1. Phil De Zutter says:

    Please vote today and attend the town meeting Thursday to make your voice heard..

    Over the last few days there have been a number of comments I have heard/seen and questions I have been asked in regards to our town government, the override and Ken. I wanted to take a minute to address my support for Ken.

    Ken has always operated with the best interests of our town in mind. His inclusive and balanced approach has brought significant progress to our collective town services. He has helped to bring greater discourse and transparency to how and where our tax dollars are spent. Items such as the override, public safety and public works have always been open discussions at BOS, town, and multi-board meetings. He has worked hard to ensure the right balance is brought to decisions that effect town departments, schools, and minimizing the tax burden to our citizens. To say these things have not happened, is a gross misrepresentation of the facts.

    Our school district’s progress over the past several years is based on the dedication of our citizens to provide the funds necessary, and the active support of Ken, the selectmen, and the FinComm. With the full override funding provided in 2015 and continued in 2016, our district has continued to make strides with reasonable class sizes, added additional programming in STEM, world languages, and career exploration, enhanced technology for students, and additional support to our youngest learners. Ken has been a key leader at the center of making this happen.

    I feel a vote for Ken is a vote for the continued progress of our town and schools

    Thank you

    • William D. Montenegro says:

      Mr. Picard,

      You are correct with respect to your statement that the Board does not raise or levy taxes. However, the Board can influence voters through recommendations and endorsements. You promoted the most recent override by claiming that it would only cost taxpayers “sacrificing” the purchase of one coffee a day. You are disingenuous with your position that the Board has no impact on voters and taxes.

      William D. Montenegro
      Upton

  2. Bill Burchard says:

    Not addressed was the use of funds in the last override. We’re all those funds slotted for the school used only for the schools or were there “hidden” articles filed with the school budget?

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