I love Scott Lennon and his exuberance always makes me smile. He is devoted to serving Newton, has ably led the City Council for many years, and if he wins the mayoralty in November I will work hard from my school committee seat to help him be as effective as possible.
But my affection for Scott is what made it so difficult for me to tell him that I’m supporting Ruthanne Fuller for mayor.
This is not a case of one person being better than the other. It is about the best match of skill set with need.
Our needs remain significant starting with Newton finances. Until we develop substantial new revenue sources or strategic efficiencies, we will struggle to continue our school rebuilding process, to offer meaningful compensation increases to our city employees, to repair our infrastructure, to cover our retiree benefits, and to improve services.
Here’s where Ruthanne comes in — she co-lead the groundbreaking 2007 Citizens Advisory Group, which created the strategic best-practices blueprint (http://newtonma.gov/civicax/filebank/documents/26967) that our city government still uses to stay fiscally strong.
She realized three years ago that our obligations to pay retiree benefits (OPEB) are difficult to understand and even more difficult to achieve. So she created and led a working group of finance professionals that put out a detailed analysis of our OPEB crisis (http://newtonma.gov/civicax/filebank/documents/58583).
Sewer, water and storm drain systems are vital infrastructure to a modern city but Newton’s have been failing and ignored. Ruthanne and her City Council colleague Deb Crossley took on the huge, unglamorous task of analysis and strategic planning for financing and repairing of these systems, and today we’re making real progress.
I have served alongside Ruthanne in each of our three elementary school rebuilding projects. Over six years of close work, she thoroughly impresses me by combining deep strategic thinking, tactical, nuanced engagement of her City Council colleagues, and sensitive outreach to Newton citizens. Ruthanne works a problem carefully and hard, and then acts. This is so impressive to watch, and it is what I’m looking for in a leader.
Ruthanne has the right skills at the right time to lead Newton to a better place. Please join me in electing her mayor of our city.
Steve Siegel, Newton School Committee, Allen Avenue, Waban