Back to Top

    Ideas and the Issues

    Why I am running for Select Board - to GET STUFF DONE!


    The Select Board (SB) is the Executive Branch of Sudbury’s Town government. To be effective, it should function as one, not five individuals.  As a purposeful, deliberate body, consistent in approach. Its singular focus should be policy that relentlessly advocates for the vision of our community as directed by its citizens.  Along with that, bringing the funding and legal compliance necessary to operate efficiently. It’s not a place to grandstand or promote personal projects.

    So how do we get there?  Here are my thoughts on areas I will encourage focus to ensure we get the results we all want – a safe community with adequately funded schools and town programs where neighbors can easily converse about where they see their tax dollars in action, or where it needs to be invested to keep the improvement cycle moving forward.

    Select Board goals should include:

    • Strategic Thinking through Consistency and Communication
      • Sudbury’s Vision and Profile - The SB operates as the executive function but should also proactively be the hub of communication for the community.  Both good news and when appropriate or necessary news that’s not so good. Goal setting needs to align with state mandates, but also aim to achieve our vision and meet residents’ expectations- as set at Town Meeting.
      • Accountability - The SB must set targets, but with dates and dollars or numbers to measure performance along the way. Setting and meeting expectations needs include a continuous flow with residents, other boards and committees and staff on current status and next steps required. Measuring and reporting success is almost as important as the event itself.
      • Administration - The Select Board can do better through more effective administration of meetings. Mismanagement itself disrespects the Select Board, town staff and others, sapping its strength with overly long meetings.  Better allocation of tasks and tighter agenda management are needed to Get Stuff Done on time as promised.  Equal self-monitoring of missed goals and timelines, budget excesses and unmet expectations are needed alongside the more easily completed tasks.

    How do we get here? First, look inward to the processes, practices and documentation used. Are they clear, concise, and do they make tracking progress easy? Do they enable residents and taxpayers to view with simplicity and transparency actions of the Board and Town operations it oversees? If that’s not the case – which I would suggest is the true – we need to first improve our infrastructure on how we accomplish governing before we see step-change progress.

      • Delegation of Authority - The Sudbury Town Charter established a Town Manager role that reports to the Select Board. That position is “responsible for overseeing all budgetary, financial and personnel administration activities of the Town.” The SB forms policy and should also issue specific guidance informed by those policies on what priorities need to be targeted and the timeline for completion. If the SB does not stay focused on its own mandate, they risk stepping in other groups’ lanes – be it the Finance Committee, the School Committees or Town Staff.
    • Financial Strength and Discipline
      • Sudbury's Capital Planning Crisis - We finally have a Space Use and Facility Condition Study being undertaken after I’ve advocated for more than five years! With multiple building and renovation projects active and proposed we must get smarter in addressing future space needs and more efficiently using our capital funding. Without a starting inventory of available space, AND projections for facilities capacity and condition, we have no choice but to continue the haphazard approach to maintaining and creating facilities. Get Stuff Done!
      • Financial and Operational Forecasting - We have a budget process that needs some improvement, but the forward-looking aspects of our town finances are anemic. Working with the Town Manager and Financial Staff, I'd like to see us devise a process that better aligns our budget and forecasts with future needs and key initiatives the Town wants to pursue. The unmet need is to attract and retain the best candidates to fill key personnel roles in the Town administration as well as the schools. Only then can we fully respond, well to critical expense demands across the three cost centers to ensure we deliver on key Town Meeting approved Articles and municipal requirements.
    • Key Town Projects
      • Unmet Needs - Key Staff and the SB need to work across ours and other communities - even other states- to share experiences, gain insight and increase opportunities for success. Master Plan implementation and updates to our Open Space, Fields, Walkways and Recreation Plans need to be reexamined and action taken to move us into the next phase of community growth. Get Stuff Done!
      • Fairbanks Completion - Services, programs and amenities agreed at TM must be met. The budget has already been surpassed by $5M with another $2.5M proposed for the pool.  We need guidance to the PBC to ensure no more interruptions and increased spending. Lastly, we need to consider sources of expense offset and delivering joy – again, where are the café and Biergarten?
      • Connectivity, Pedestrian/Bicycle Access - Sudbury soon will have two major rail trails opened that will transform North-South and East-West accessibility on protected corridors. I’m extremely happy with my advocacy for these projects through the Rail Ttrail Cmte. and MassBike.  Working within the Master Plan implementation and collaboration with the Planning Board, the SB needs to incorporate the BRFT and MCRT into its pedestrian access plans, develop new hubs and rethink how we travel locally. In addition, the benefit to local businesses and opportunities to offer limited expansion of commercial and mixed-residential development around these new hubs will be gateways to prosperous growth both economically and to our social network. We must use the rail trails and walkways plans to create corridors and develop and maintain linkages connecting our residential, recreation and commercial sectors.
    • Public Safety
      • The Sudbury Fire Department - for years now has seen significant incremental growth in calls for ambulance and EMT response. Capacity expansion demand to meet community expectations will continue to grow as will the need for new stations and programs that will require funding. Overburdening our chief and staff because of position backfilling or reallocation of required activities across fewer staff puts residents’ safety at risk.
      • Our Sudbury Police Department - faces the same, if not more constraints due to staffing shortages or backfilling from injury or specific skill requirements such that new programs and requirements are not easily met. We must ensure that safety is a top priority and its fiscal investment to ensure we have a full view and respond to those needs to maintain a well-supported community. Get Stuff Done!
      • Health has been a key aspect of all our lives these past few years navigating the COVID pandemic. Not only physical, but mental and other health implications have troubled many towns, but we have managed well. We need to ensure that we’re even better prepared and able to maneuver comfortably through the residual COVID recovery and any other situations that threaten our community health holistically.
    • Town Services
      • Infrastructure and Technical Review/Evaluation - empowering our Town workforce with technical efficiencies is a competitive advantage. The collection, organization, review, and analysis of data to put critical information into the hands of key decision makers must be improved to secure further prosperity for our community. Reporting, version control and audit trail across Staff, Boards and the groups sharing data to make our overall process more efficient need to be made top priority. Then Town operations will see more efficiency, with reduced stress and bandwidth constraints on staff.
      • Throughput and Bandwidth - the more complex the process, the inputs and data that make it run, the more difficult it is to successfully administer and make good decisions in a timely manner. If we fail to invest in the people and processes that support a strong community, we will all fail to meet goals and realize the prosperities in our collective future. Get Stuff Done!
      • Transparency – we must address updates to the Town Website to highlight important updates and progress across the neighborhood. Key Project updates, the Budget and self-monitored Progress against goals and objectives should be available for the entire public to view at their leisure.
      • Trash and Recycling Program – we need to remove the hidden tax on our town where 85%+ of the town pay for private haul, which antithetically would support a town wide rubbish removal program. We can reduce the entire Town’s carbon footprint through the reduction in daily trash truck trips and community congestion and improve service to address real recycling and composting programs currently missing.
      • Facilities - more than five years ago I started calling for a town wide Facilities Space Needs Assessment. This must be delivered before we keep continuing to build projects piecemeal and not clearly understand where our overall priority needs exist. Case-in-point, the imminent end-around request for another $2.5M for the Fairbank pool. Before this decade is out, Fire Station 3 and one if not two elementary schools will begin planning for either rebuild or new construction evaluation. Office space needs and the introduction of hybrid work accommodations have significantly altered the paradigm of workspace expectations and Sudbury needs to be flexible and respond.
      • Regionalization – the Commonwealth has recently shown increasing favor toward a host of regionalization programs. In Sudbury we have several existing areas where we take advantage of shared operations, the High School and dispatch operations for public safety. With potential state funding dwindling for municipalities and increasing for regionality, we need to be ever vigilant evaluating areas where support for increased  regionalization makes sense to up our ability to improve and maintain Town services.
      • DPW – our director Nason has diligently planned and executed his strategy to deliver top notch services to Sudbury. However, he and other managers now face strong labor market difficulties and rising costs on equipment due to supply chain and demand constraints for critical equipment. His vision for dealing with the business-as-usual in addition to the emergent and unanticipated has proven to be adept and more than competent. We need to continue investing in the DPWs success.
      • Sudbury Water District – we are very fortunate to have and water district internal to our town and the Sudbury/Hop Brook watersheds. This means we remain clear of the bureaucracies, inefficiencies, and very high service fee rates of the MWRA system. This should be maintained at all costs, but there also is potential to expand this core competency into future wastewater plans that would improve not only the potential for responsible commercial expansion, but also to elevate our water quality protection and protect our business district from undue expense.
    • Education
      • The Sudbury Public School district - we are fortunate to have incredible professionals and volunteers administering our public school system. However, structural deficits are starting to show in both SPS and LSRHS. Areas where updates are necessary and need to be addressed include legislation or regulation related to education curriculum and state reimbursements. Continued focus on our community through purposeful planning can help us take advantage of new sources of funding to continue building on our programs of excellence. Areas needing immediate attention though include our participation in vocational education and facilities management to ensure we have the right physical resources to allow learning to thrive.
      • The LSRHS Municipal Agreement between Sudbury and Lincoln must be reviewed and revised. This will require communication and negotiations for both towns’ Select Boards, School Committees and Finance Committees. A contact that is 70 years old needs more than a quick look and update. Get Stuff Done!
    • Legislation and Outside Influencers
      • As always, we need to remain vigilant in the evaluation and pursuit of compliance with governmental and statutory requirements. Whether it be ADA Compliance, MBTA Communities Housing Program, 40B, 40R the or other development considerations we should always seek to take control of our own destiny. Sudbury should remain compliant, but always seek to improve our town situation through proactive response to and adoption of programs that improve the diversity of our community housing, economic and social programs while increasing our ability to secure favorable financing.


Eric's Service History to Sudbury

This is a complete list of roles Eric has held on various Sudbury Board & Committees Read More

Committee to Elect Eric Poch
Powered by - Political Websites
Close Menu