Hello friends, neighbors, Warriors parents and Sudbury residents.
This is my official campaign website and introduction as a candidate for Select Board at the upcoming Town election on Monday, March 28, 2022.
To all who know and have supported me in my contributions to our town’s civic framework during my 26 years of residency, I now officially ask for your vote! If you don’t know me, I ask that you watch this and other communications to help me earn your vote.
Over the last 15 years I’ve helped lead the town’s Planning Board - to contribute to compliance with of our subdivision by-laws related to land development and use planning, and the Finance Committee to oversee the independent review of our budget and financial processes. In those roles it has been an absolute pleasure to work with dozens if not hundreds of the town staff and volunteer contributors to the many boards, commissions and committees interacted with.
My desire is to work with the other Select Board members to improve organization, focus and consistency of approach, as I successfully achieved with the FinCom and Planning Board. I can bring a new, but experienced voice to discussion on the important and current matters our community encounters and hit the ground running in bringing them to vote and closure.
Please stay tuned, ask questions, and look for more to come soon. Many thanks!
Eric Poch, Ruddock Road – Sudbury Finance Committee Co-Chair
To be an effective leader its critical to understand how a team is organized, how it operates and its mission or the direction of its course. It’s a lot like a car racing team where you need a general manager plus drivers, engineers and mechanics and a reconnaissance team to map out the route to follow and do a look forward review of the course.
The Select Board is like this hypothetical car race team and its role is to be the best general manager. It needs to understand every aspect of the race, but it doesn’t do the driving, the wrenching, or the forward recon. Rather, it instructs the team on HOW their roles should be performed by giving explicit instruction and setting clear expectations, not doing the work of their teammates. It recognizes which drivers perform best in which conditions, but it never holds the steering wheel. It follows trends and developments to know the best current methods to make cars go fast, but it never builds or fixes a single car. And it sets the direction for the team by surveying environment and conditions, but it never actually walks the trail leaving breadcrumbs to follow. The best general managers are great at communication which includes letting others perform their roles without micromanaging.
As an audit and assurance leader in my professional life I have extensive training on how to manage assurance and perform oversight review for the SEC, the PCAOB and many other regulators. There are several methods most often used to audit processes including financial – inquiry or asking questions to determine relevant information; observation of tasks procedures and conditions; examination or inspection of evidence to determine consistency and sufficient documentation; and lastly reperformance, used when inquiry, observation and physical examination and inspection have failed to provide the requisite assurance that a process is operating effectively.
The Select Board role is an ideal role for me because I possess the skills to provide assurance and the experience to be a good general manager. The Select Board has a broad mandate, and its members have a multitude of interactions. To execute its key responsibilities and oversight it needs deliberate focus. If the Select Board does not stay focused on its own mandate, they risk stepping in other groups’ lanes – be it the Finance Committee, Town Staff, or the School Committees. Likewise, if they misuse their already limited time on duplicative or tasks already assigned, they risk diluting others effort and failure against achieving their own goals. That would create risks that the whole team – Sudbury - fails.
As Finance Committee Chair, I see a bubble of unfunded needs on the town’s horizon, in our school districts as well as our town administration, that could engulf us all in fiscal fallout unless we start thinking differently and break from what we did five or ten years ago, or even last year. Line-by-line review of the budget is NOT a responsibility of the Select Board. The Sudbury Charter establishes a Town Manager role to whom the Select Board largely delegates to be “responsible for overseeing all budgetary, financial and personnel administration activities of the Town”. This is specifically why the appointed Finance Committee is so relevant and organized for the precise purpose of reporting to the Select Board and Town Meeting with their independent opinion of the proposed budget. It took the Select Board more than a year to devise a first draft of financial policies so how would it incorporate detailed review of the budget on an already overstressed agenda?
The Select Board needs to lead by examining how we get more through structural change, new policies and new procedures and issuing clear guidance as with the budget. This means a never-ending pursuit to secure more resources for Sudbury, in the form of both personnel and capital, but also in how we deploy those resources. There needs to be more collaboration between existing committees and boards to more efficiently allocate effort for collective benefit – divide and conquer. The Select Board should not reperform the work of others under its management, that would mean there was failure in the process. If that happens, it is the Select Board’s duty to fix the process, not do the tasks.
Focus, constructive oversight and effective allocation of effort along with productive time management is how to manage effectively and how I will approach being a member of the Select Board. My candidacy is one based on bettering our community through strategically establishing that kind of efficiency and focus. I'd like to end the grand standing at meetings, debate what's within bounds for the Select Board and empower Town staff and volunteers to act with purpose. If that’s what you as a resident, taxpayer and neighbor also want, then you have a clear choice on Monday, March 28th – vote for Eric Poch.