Paolillo (Re)Joins Select Board

Photo: The team that runs Belmont: (from top left clockwise) Select Board Chair Adam Dash, vice-chair Roy Epstein, Town Administrator Patrice Garvin, Select Board member Mark Paolillo, and Jon Marshall, assistant town administrator.

When Mark Paolillo served on the Belmont Select Board in the 2010s he would be continually fighting a losing battle with Boston traffic to get to the Board’s Monday evening meetings on time, which resulted in good-natured comments from colleagues when he would eventually come flying into Town Hall.

The three-term (2010-19) “selectman” returns to the board after running unopposed to secure his fourth term at the April 6 Town Election. And the next day, at the annual organizational meeting, it was as if Paolillo hadn’t missed a beat … as he was running three minutes late.

Paolillo said there will be a lot of work facing the Board in the coming year after the rejection of the Prop 2 1/2 override by the voters 12 hours earlier.

“We need to come together as a board and, frankly, as a community. It was an emotionally charged election and I think it’s up to us as members of the board to help the community move past its differences,” said Paolillo, pointing to reengage on fiscal issues within the town.

“That’s going to be my primary focus on the board, but there are other things that are in the back of my mind like the community path and our climate action plan,” he said. “I know we have a diversity initiative that I’m fully engaged and committed to.”

At Wednesday’s meeting, Adam Dash returned for his second turn leading the Select Board after he was named chair for the coming year. Dash said he will run the meetings – they have been pushing close to four hours – using three simple rules:

  1. No drama,
  2. Be respectful, and
  3. Don’t waste anybody’s time because there’s a lot to do this year.

Dash also mentioned the failed override vote resulting in “a lot of work to do in a very short time getting ready for Town Meeting” which will occur at the end of April.

Roy Epstein, who ran the board for the past year is now vice-chair. Epstein said he will continue his work of making Select Board meeting material available to the public via the board’s website.

“There’s been some difficulty in getting that organized as it’s logistically cumbersome and sometimes we have 15 to 20 and 30 documents. But I think it’s a good practice just to make everything available so nobody feels that they’ve been at some informational disadvantage at the time of the meeting,” said Epstein.

Letter To The Editor: Vote Roy Epstein, For A Shared Vision

Photo: (from left) Elizabeth Dionne, Roy Epstein, Lisa Gibalerio

To the editor:

We are two Belmont women who are voting for Roy Epstein for Selectman on Tuesday because we believe in a vision for our town that is shared by both of the major candidates.

Look at the platforms of the candidates — check out their websites. Each wants successful building projects, awesome schools, diversity and transparency, safe roads and sidewalks, less traffic, environmental progress, affordable senior housing, a community path, and sustainable budgets.

We want that too! It’s a vision shared by many people in our community. (It’s funny that there is such heated debate on social media—the candidates basically agree!)

We bet you agree with these laudable goals as well.

Since we all agree on the goals, the question really becomes: what’s the best way to reach these goals? Which candidate is best equipped to help us move forward toward accomplishing these goals?

Here the answer is clear: Roy Epstein.

Roy has a decade of experience working through all the ins-and-outs of a complex town structure (regulations, by-laws, arcane procedures, etc.). He has also accomplished things that no one else even thought of: the DPW/Police Station renovation, the Flanders Road electrical substation siting, and so on. To anyone who knows the town’s recent history, Roy’s accomplishments are staggering.

We are first-hand witnesses, we have watched Roy in action. While others sit in meetings, pontificating about “the best path forward,” Roy quietly takes out a ruler and a pencil and visits the sites at issue. Where others might skip down to the summaries, Roy pores over the budgets line by line. Roy investigates, he looks deeply. He’s the Sherlock Holmes of town government: he not only solves the case, but his process is brilliant, and his conclusion is beyond what anyone was considering.

The other major candidate is certainly accomplished, and we appreciate her many contributions to Belmont, but her field, her experience, is in communications and marketing—not governance, not finance. With a $295 million school underway, many other capital projects ramping up, and a fiscal storm the likes of which we haven’t seen in years about to hit the town, we need the person with the most profound financial skills and the deepest relevant town experience sitting in the driver’s seat. That means Roy.

So, precisely because we share this vision, because we want that common vision of a thriving Belmont to come to fruition, we’re voting for Roy!

We hope you will too. Thanks!

Lisa Gibalerio, Campaign Chair; Elizabeth Dionne, Campaign Treasurer

Committee to Elect Roy Epstein

Final Say: Roy J. Epstein, Board of Selectman [Video]

Photo: Roy Epstein (center), candidate for Board of Selectmen.

Over the next few years, Belmont will face the greatest financial challenge in its history.

A nearly $300 million school project is underway. The Police Station and DPW renovations are out to bid. A new Library and a new hockey rink are top priorities. Many roads and sidewalks are still in terrible shape. Most critically, preserving the quality of our schools and town services is at risk because the funds from the 2015 override will be depleted within two years.

The stakes are nothing less than our overall quality of life.

In a financial crisis, we need financial leadership. As former Selectman Ralph Jones put it:

“The nature of the challenges facing the town calls for strong leadership, creative problem solving, and a full grasp of the intricacies of the town’s finances. Of the candidates, only Roy Epstein has the qualities these challenges require.”

Belmont needs a Selectman with demonstrated experience and competence that can be applied immediately to solve the actual problems before us.

I am that candidate.

I have a Ph.D. in Economics from Yale, I’m an Adjunct Professor of Finance at B.C., I’ve spent the last 30 years advising law firms on complex financial issues. I’ve been a member of the Warrant Committee (the town’s financial watchdog) since 2007, and currently, serve as its Chair.  I’ve gained experience in all aspects of town government from working on many critical committees, including major building projects and Belmont Light. My work has saved tens of millions of dollars for the town. (For details, see my website, www.RoyForBelmont.com.)

Very soon, we will navigate a financial hurricane.  I’m the only candidate in this election who has the demonstrated skills to manage this storm successfully as a member of the Board of Selectmen.

I entered this race with a deep sense of civic duty. I’ve knocked on hundreds of doors and listened carefully to your concerns. We must remain a united and respectful community. At this critical time, I offer my knowledge, experience, and commitment to you, to help us meet the challenges ahead together.

I ask for your vote on Tuesday, April 2.

Letter To The Editor: Selectmen Need Epstein’s Creativity and Collaboration

Photo: Roy Epstein at the Belmont League of Women Voters debate.

To the editor:

Successfully completing major capital projects in Belmont requires high levels of cooperation among many boards and committees. Roy Epstein knows how the system works. He helped to save the Town at least $40 million.

Finally fixing the police station and DPW facility began with conversations at the Warrant Committee and the Capital Budget Committee. The approach gathered steam when the Major Capital Projects Working Group formed an unusual solution to address both buildings, in place. The DPW/BPD Building Committee refined the creative thinking of prior groups to present a plan which Town Meeting enthusiastically supported.

Not only is the work happening after years of inaction, but it’s also being done at a price that does not require a debt exclusion. This solution required great creativity and collaboration. Consultants repeatedly told us that new DPW and Police facilities would cost at least $50 million. The dedicated work of the many volunteers on multiple committees produced an excellent plan that should cost the Town only about $10 million.

Roy was a key contributor, working with all these groups in that evolving process. His analysis, out-of-box thinking, and financial expertise propelled the various groups to the present moment – both facilities are now out to bid.

Roy is a cooperative and creative team member. Please help elect him to the Board of Selectmen on Tuesday, April 2.

Anne Marie Mahoney

Precinct 1

Now There Are Two: Warrant Committee’s Epstein Pulls Selectman Papers

Photo: Roy Epstein

It didn’t take long for the race to fill the open seat on the Board of Selectmen to became a real contest.

Warrant Committee Chair Roy Epstein picked up nomination papers at the Town Clerk’s Office on Friday morning, Jan. 11, two days after Town Meeting member Jessica Bennett obtained hers, setting up a particularly interesting town election with two – for now – possible candidates with strong views on the direction the town should take.

A well-known member of numerous boards, working groups and committees – he currently serves on four and sat on five others in the past – the 24 year resident touts his extensive knowledge working on the financial and policy nuts and bolts of Belmont’s town government.

“Why me?  I have the professional background and actual town experience that has an unmatched record of solving the hardest problems and saving the town millions of dollars,” said the adjunct professor of finance at Boston College who earned a PhD in Economics for Yale after matriculating at Wesleyan University.

“I think I will do the best job for the town as a whole. I will continue to be an independent, reliable voice and will always welcome public input from everyone; left, right, or center,” said Epstein who lives with his family on Cushing Avenue.

(The Belmontonian will conduct detailed interviews with all candidates after nominations close on Feb. 12).