Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Jeffrey Klotz- Candidate for Select Board

 The following LTE was submitted to the LongmeadowBuzz blog by Jeffrey Klotz- a candidate for Longmeadow Select Board.

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about me, Jeffrey Klotz

As a relative new comer to Longmeadow, the question I most often get asked is “Why do you feel that you are qualified to serve on the Town’s Selectboard?”  So let’s start there.

Shortly after moving to Town, to fill some of the time I have between obligations to my family as a stay at home dad, I sought out a volunteer opportunity with which I could help the Town leveraging both my education (I’m a Certified Public Accountant, with a Masters in Business Administration), and work experience (9 years at higher levels within a municipal government with a $2+ billion dollar operating budget).  There was an opening on the Town’s Audit Committee.  I interviewed, was appointed, rolled up my sleeves, and got to work. 

Quickly I studied the Town’s prior financial statements, budgets, and governing laws.  I was surprised to learn many things.  First, it struck me as odd that the Town had employed for over 20 years the same auditor.  It is common after so many years to change auditors simply to obtain a fresh perspective on the activities of any Town.  Second, it struck me as odd that the School Committee and Administration acted to hire it’s own legal council to fight for operational independence against my interpretation of the Town Charter.  The School Committee and Administration currently controls over half of the Town’s budget, yet the Town’s Finance Director has no Human Resource or disciplinary authority with which to control spending, or internal controls, which has led to year after year of financial malfeasance by the School Administration.  This has clearly been reported by the Town’s auditors in the Town’s audit report.  Finally, I found it odd that the Select Board spends much of its public time arguing with the Town Manager over minutia. 

As a member of the Audit Committee I have argued for and made progress on points one and two.  Starting next year we start a new contract with a new auditor, and instead of the employing the same reports that have been used for the last twenty years, the Town is starting down a path of enhanced reporting that will bring easier digestion of key metrics with trends.  Secondly, as the Audit Committee has purview of internal controls, the Audit Committee will be specifically looking at the School System’s controls in detail both at operational, custodial, and budgetary levels.

I am proud of these achievements.  But as my wife and I have decided to make this our forever home, and we have two children yet to enter kindergarten, I’m not ready to rest on my laurels.  I believe the School System to be managerially top-heavy, and if elected, will pursue a course through the budget process that mandates the School System justify their salary and employee levels against regional peers.  It is my hope that these cost savings can contribute to the Town affording both full-day kindergarten and enhanced services for the developmentally challenged.

As I said above, I’m not one to rest on my laurels… 

I believe that our Town needs to expand it’s efforts toward regionalistic cost sharing.  There are assets in the Town that we need not own individually, and can share with other local municipalities, and services, such as educating the developmentally challenged mentioned above, where economies of scale should provide cost savings.

Additionally, I believe that our Recreation Department should no longer subsidize programs.  For many years in a row the Recreation Department’s management has failed to operate within budget.  Our Town’s recreation department programing should be fee-based, much like all the programming at our Town’s Senior Center.  If there is interest sufficient to support a program, let’s run it.  But if not, there are plenty of private firms providing the same services.

Our Town needs to expand our tax base.  I support exploring development of some of our athletic and park land, the implementation of a Semi-trailer permit to offset the damage they do to our roads going to and from the highway, and the implementation of fee-based short-term overnight permitted street parking (not during snow emergencies).

In this brief space, one can only say so much.  I implore you to look for and watch the LCTV candidate interviews which should start airing June 3rd on channel 12.  To learn more about me specifically, go to my website, www.jeffreyklotz.com.  There I have contact information, both online, and direct.

Our current Select Board spends too much time arguing with the Town Manager, and not enough time thinking critically about where we are, how we got here, and how we are going to fix this mess.  I ask you on June 9th to vote for me.  Mnemonically, my name can be remembered at the voting booth with the following tag line:  Vote for new blood.  Vote for Klotz.

I know, it's a bad pun on a potentially serious vascular condition, but it is easy to remember...

Thank you again for taking the time to visit this site and read this.  If I have earned your vote, please tell a friend about me.  And if you are not convinced and want further information, I can be reached at any of the following points of contact:

Cell phone:  413-564-9468
Email:  ejeffreyklotz@gmail.com
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/jeffgives

Jeffrey Klotz

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