Thanks so much for taking the time to visit my web site.
I am running for re-election as Alderman at Large in Newton’s Ward 7. I ran for Newton’s Board of Aldermen for the first time in 2009 because I believed that the City of Newton needed to implement significant changes. We still have plenty of work to do. With an energized Board of Aldermen working with our Mayor, Setti Warren, Newton can continue to provide services that strengthen the community. However, this requires an economic plan for the City’s future consistent with both the values of its citizens and a sober analysis of available resources.
I believe Newton needs policies that will:
- Provide strong financial management
- Increase the productivity of our government
- Preserve our neighborhoods while increasing economic development
- Invest in our infrastructure
My goals as an Alderman are to:
- Increase the productivity of our municipal government, especially through the creative use of technology, and consolidation, outsourcing and regionalization;
- Restore our crumbling school and municipal buildings, roads, equipment and parks;
- Pursue “smart growth” development opportunities that ensure the economic vitality and diversity of our commercial centers while preserving our residential neighborhoods;
- Moderate the growth in all aspects of the City’s costs, reducing the scope of services where appropriate;
- Encourage and support the School Committee as it develops innovative teaching paradigms and deploys educational technology that provide our children with an excellent education in a cost effective manner;
- Act transparently and resolutely in making the need for difficult choices clear to all our citizens; and,
- Modernize management practices, financial planning, and the zoning process by working closely with city employees
My legislative and committee work in 2010 has focused on these priorities. Through my work on the Finance, Public Safety & Transportation, Community Preservation, and Long Range Planning Committees and the Audit Subcommittee, as well as my involvement in the regular business of the Board of Aldermen, I have:
- Helped draft and pass an ordinance creating a more robust Financial Audit Advisory Committee
- Worked to re-frame the Financial Management Guidelines (including helping design multiple vehicles for increased levels of Reserves and creating guidelines to maintain a triple A bond rating while having the appropriate level of debt)
- Lobbied for a comprehensive survey of capital infrastructure
- Encouraged the Mayor to set aside funds for long-term retiree health care benefits and helped draft and pass an ordinance establishing a fund for these monies
- Worked proactively with the management of Boston College regarding Stokes Hall and New England Development regarding Chestnut Hill Square
A Fresh Approach and Responsible Change: The Board of Aldermen needs to cultivate a culture of continuous improvement. Newton needs to be clear about its goals, put resources towards the highest priorities — schools, fire and police, roads and parks, and neighborhoods — and measure the results relentlessly.
Aspirations: Beyond fiscal responsibility and efficient public administration, I have greater aspirations for the City of Newton and its government:
Newton is currently facing significant financial and management challenges that require clear-eyed and energetic leadership. Costs are rising more rapidly than revenues. We are underfunding some critical needs, particularly our buildings and roads. Moreover, we have continued to commit to items such as employee benefits that are beyond the city’s ability to fund. Deterioration in services is inevitable unless the Board of Aldermen and Mayor Warren make prudent, thoughtful choices.
- We should build strong neighborhoods in which we know our neighbors and help look out for them,
- We should strengthen our village centers so that they are vibrant, providing gathering places and stores and shops that satisfy our everyday needs.
- We should encourage the building of a variety of housing types to meet the different needs of our residents.
- We should provide high quality yet cost efficient city services, including schools, parks, police and fire, and libraries.
- We should help take care of our children, our seniors, and those with special needs or family circumstances.
Click here to send me an email or to join my mailing list. You can also be in touch with me by telephone at 617-738-5311 if you have a question or to let me know about an issue that concerns you.
I am also experimenting with a blog (www.ruthannefuller.blogspot.com). I will occasionally post some thoughts on the issues Newton is facing, information about topical meetings and events, and my perspective as a freshman on the job of an Alderman at Large. Feel free to stop by the blog for a visit — to read and perhaps to comment on what I’m noticing and what you’re finding — Newton needs residents to voice their opinions as we make difficult choices.