Rick Jennett is former Finance Committee chairman and is running for a seat on the Board of Selectmen against incumbent Joshua Ostroff. For more information on Rick Jennett, visit RickJennett.com. The town election is March 27.
What motivates you to want to serve on the Natick Board of Selectmen?
I have committed 22 years to the Town of Natick as a volunteer for many different committees and boards and I consider the Board of Selectmen a natural step forward. I have spoken of Natick being within my soul and I truly believe that.
There are so many ways to contribute our time to make Natick a better place. My motivation to contribute my time comes from a PASSION that has grown within me during my many years of volunteering. I want to continue to work hard to keep Natick not only the wonderful place it is to live, work and grow up as a child, but more importantly to make sure that we continue to be the COMMUNITY that I love to call home.
This has been and will continue to be motivation enough for me…
What qualities do you possess that will help you to be a positive leader for Natick?
I know that I will make a difference by bringing my business management skills, extensive municipal finance and local government experience, as well as a fresh change of perspective, to help the Board of Selectmen.
Natick needs to successfully manage the issues that we will face in the years ahead.
I believe that I can accomplish that by continuing to do the following:
- Ask the tough questions and make the tough decisions
- Work to develop more open working relationships between the Board of Selectmen and all of our Administrators, Boards and Committees, as well as listen to and work with our many community groups and businesses.
- Listen to all sides and balance my decisions on knowledge. I have not been afraid to change my mind when presented new information.
- Be proactive with fresh ideas… using my experience to think of new solutions.
- Have the courage and experience to be a Selectman.
I have demonstrated these qualities during my 22 years of volunteer service to the community in many capacities, whether it was my ten years on the Finance Committee or being a member of the Community Senior Center Study and Building Committees, or something as fun as being a Recreation Department volunteer coach for all three of my daughters, that later helped me to reorganize their Revolving Fund while on FinCom.
During my four years as the Chairman of the Finance Committee I worked tirelessly to provide more information to town residents and to introduce a greater level of transparency to the budgeting process and the seemingly endless list of Town Meeting Warrant Articles.
I also maintained that everyone deserves respect, and I worked effectively to bring many different opinions together to help form our recommendations to Town Meeting.
I have always strived to bring everyone together as “One Town – One Team” and I will continue to do that as your Selectman.
What local issues do you consider to be most important to you today?
We must maintain a balance for the demand of our services and their associated costs, with the real and potential revenues. All services are important to someone within our community and we must maintain that balance for ALL of the services that we have come to enjoy in Natick.
I also believe that the Town and School Administrations working together to maintain a balance of their competing service priorities, as well as developing policies that will work towards potential cost controls through better management practices is a critical to our future level of services.
Other issues such as the lack of adequate downtown parking and the current department consolidations and reorganizations are definitely the easiest to identify, but are no less important.
Of course in my mind the most crucial element in all of this is the amount of information that is presented to the citizens of Natick when the Board of Selectmen is reviewing anything during a public hearing. I will always ask the questions that should be asked.
We will also need to continue our efforts to develop our revenues. There has been much discussion about BJ’s moving out of Natick and the impact to not only our tax base, but also to our local economy, which is the fuel for the other surrounding businesses.
I believe that we could help to create a better climate for business development by looking closely at the many levels of challenges that businesses encounter when attempting to move into Natick. A stable or growing business economy within our community definitely helps to stabilize the impact on a homeowner’s tax rate.
The efforts that have been initiated in Natick, to enhance economic development, need to be paid close attention to by ALL members of ALL boards and committees, not just the Board of Selectmen. A collaborative effort by everyone will make the efforts far more effective.
This again is a cooperative effort that will require everyone to work together as “One Town – One Team”.
What are the greatest challenges that you see the town facing over the next few years?
I went and looked for a crystal ball and I was unable to find one…
Natick is very fortunate to have a strong financial foundation, but we will be facing many of the same challenges that other towns will have to address as well. These include an increased demand on our town services from ALL segments of the population, including the growing school population, as well as the baby boomers looking for more community support services. I also see traffic and parking issues as more people want to make Natick their home and place of business. I see a strain on families as society tightens healthcare services and they look more towards the community for help with health services.
I think we all get the idea that it is not easy to look forward and that’s why we don’t budget forward much further than 2-3 years effectively.
Times change, technology is moving at the speed of light… How do we as a community prepare for the future? I think we need to keep asking the tough questions and paying attention to make sure that OUR Town Government is working effectively.
I bring the diverse experience, as I noted above, to help the Town of Natick work towards the goal of not just maintaining our current services, but also adjusting our services to balance the changing demands of the future.
I want to be one of the Selectmen that will keep an eye on the ball – LOCALLY – within our community. Yes, we will always be focusing on our own issues but we will also need to work cooperatively with our surrounding towns to possibly develop a collaboration of public services, such as police, fire, public works and health services.
All of Natick will need to work together as “One Town – One Team”.
What makes Natick special to you?
The most special thing to me is the community spirit of Natick.
I fell in love with Natick when I was just a kid and I have so many wonderful memories of this town. Does the smell of baking Wonder Bread wafting by, while floating in the circle of rowboats at the Natick Drive-In bring back any memories?
It wasn’t until 1988 that my wife and I were finally able to move into Natick and begin raising our three lovely daughters, Kim, Pam and Allie. Over the last 24 years that we have lived in the community of Natick, it has truly become part of my soul.
I have learned that we are not all alike, nor do we all agree about the many different issues, but we all love the town we live in and it seems that we all get involved in one way or another.
While we do embrace the many changes of today, we also continue to remember our deep traditions. Whether it’s our sports teams or the 4th of July parade with its Senior Citizens of the Year sitting in the open convertible (love that…) or our Veteran’s Day ceremonies at our many memorials, the Town of Natick is a very special place.
You have to live here to know what I mean and if you live here long enough, Natick will never leave you. It’s in your soul…
I will always be on Natick’s Team and I hope that you will join me to make sure that Natick will always be as special to the our future generations as it is to us today.
“One Town – One Team” always…
I want to thank all of you that have offered such great support for our team. I am humbled by all of the good wishes and I promise to always do my best for you if I am elected to be your next Selectman.