In an effort to give residents a last chance to hear from the candidates before the April 10 Town Election, Stoughton Patch sent a questionnaire to each of the candidates running in a contested race.
The questions are printed as they were presented to the candidates and their answers are printed as they were received (unedited).
The following responses are from Board of Selectmen Candidate Joe Mokrisky:
- Background information (how long you've served or your prior service on various town boards) and any other pertinent info you would like readers to know about you.
Town Meeting Member
Charter Study Review Committee
Finance Committee Member
Board of Selectmen, 12 years
Redevelopment Authority Member 3 years
Stoughton Community Events Committee
- Why are you running for this position?
I am running for the Board of Selectmen because I believe I can make a difference and contribute in a manner that delivers measurable results. Being a member of the Board of Selectmen is more than saying that you represented everyone equally and honestly or you have attended more meetings than your peers. It means nothing if you can’t say what you have contributed in your previous 3 years in office or how you made a difference. With your vote on April 10th I will use my past successes as a challenge to establish a clear line of communication that involves everyone in making Stoughton better. Currently there are members of the board who conduct private meetings with only those who support their particular goal. Although I do believe that each member brings their own vision for the future of our town you must be able to work as a team to deliver results that make a difference. I will not micro-manage department heads or spend excessive time in town hall trying to push my own personal agenda or tell others what to do. It is important for the Board of Selectmen to help our department heads meet the challenges of a tough economy and maintain the highest level services.
- What separates you from your opponents? Why should residents vote for you?
Experience and a proven track record of delivering results. In this race candidates have not talked about what they hope to contribute to the Board of Selectmen. I have more experience than anyone in this race and a proven track record of delivering results. When some talk about bringing business to town, I have brought business to town. When some talk about making sure those new businesses don’t impact our services, I have worked to ensure that the taxpayers of Stoughton are not impacted by new development. When others talk about bringing services to town, I have a proven track record of brining resources from outside of our town and delivering results. When it was discovered that there would be no 4th of July celebration I reached out to our fellow residents and created a committee that has greatly improved the family events available to our residents at no additional cost to the taxpayers. I am also proud of my record of setting aside differences and working with anyone who is truly committed to making Stoughton better. Stoughton has come a long way in the past two years and has some great opportunities in the future if we can stay focused on working together. During this campaign I have attempted to show through my advertisements what I contributed as a member of the Board of Selectmen. I believe my track record sets me apart from others in this race. With your vote on April 10th I will continue to work with everyone to make Stoughton even better. I will always work hard to deliver results, and make you proud of your vote.
- What is the most important issue facing the town?
I feel one of the most important issues is the lack of a clear commitment to finding new sources of revenue to lessen the burden on residential taxpayers. Some members spend more time pushing their personal agendas and succeed at nothing visible to the residents. It is not about what an individual selectman wants, it is about working together and making a difference on the issues that hold the town back from prospering. The Board of Selectmen does not have a more important role than working as a team with the Town Manager to deliver measurable results to the residents of Stoughton.
You deserve results from your elected representatives because that is what they are supposed to do, work for you. I feel a selectman should work together to help department heads by defining clear goals and providing assistance to accomplish their goals. When elected, each member of the Board of Selectmen has a responsibility to honor the position and pledge to work together to make a difference. It is not the role of a selectman to become actively involved in the daily operations of the town departments. That is the responsibility of the Town Manager but I feel that some members have lost that focus in the past couple of years. Our selectmen need to remain focused on working with the Town Manager, not telling him or her how to do the job.
- What is your take on the procurement issue between the town and the schools? How can the relationship between the town side and schools be improved in general?
Not being a sitting member of the Board of Selectmen I am not aware of all of the correspondence and conversations that took place but of the opinion that with respect and a good line of communication some of this could have been prevented. If there is a perceived issue that exposes the town to liability it is the responsibility of both boards to sit down and discuss how improvements can be made if necessary. During each election you hear candidates say that they will work with everyone to maintain effective communication between “the town side and the school side”. I feel the lack of communication between the Board of Selectmen and the School Committee is unacceptable and needs to be improved if we are to be successful in making Stoughton the best it can be. It is inexcusable that we have resorted to sending letters back and forth. During my twelve years as a member of the Board of Selectmen I have always maintained a good relationship with members of the School Committee and the Superintendent of Schools and look forward to continuing that with your vote. Both boards have separate and distinct responsibilities but must never forget that we represent the residents. The people of Stoughton deserve nothing less than two boards that remain focused on the issues at hand and work hard for all of Stoughton.
- What should the Board of Selectmen (and the town) be looking for in a Town Manager?
We deserve a Town Manager that has a proven and verifiable record of bringing people together and the experience needed to deliver results to the taxpayers. It is a difficult job serving as a Town Manager and being charged with the task of taking input from 5 members of the Board of Selectmen and managing the department heads who will implement the process to achieve the projected goals. I still hold the opinion that because a person has held the position of Town Manager in other communities makes them better suited than others. We must attract a candidate that has the ability to work with the board honoring each member’s vision but has the ability to gather those visions and create a plan that can work. They don’t issue college degrees in common sense that is a much needed value when serving as Town Manager. I personally would be looking for a candidate who can assure me they possess the ability to work with a board with the differed opinions and the leadership ability to create and manage a plan that will address the board’s vision and will deliver results. Others in this race have accused me of “liking to quote the Town Charter” and I welcome that as a badge of honor because I believe the Town Charter was implemented by people with a clear understanding that there is a need for people to have a clear understanding of their responsibilities. That is why I feel that we need a Town Manager with the ability to take input from the Board of Selectmen and the leadership skills to include everyone in a plan the will achieve the targeted goals.