Fulginiti Hopes to Continue Community Activism as Selectman
Dottie Fulginiti is one of four candidates for the board of selectmen this spring.
Easton resident Dottie Fulginiti has been actively involved in local organizations and causes since her move to the Shovel Town from Stoughton nearly two decades ago.
It was a controversial 40B project just down the road from her house, however, that propelled her into the role of one of Easton's most active citizens.
"I was involved in a lot of things that the kids were involved in when they were little," she said. "What probably catapulted me into more of an interest in the town was when they started to talk about the Shovel Shop projects. I live on Elm Street so that was right in my neighborhood."
Fulginiti's interest in the Shovel Shop in the late 2000's led to the development of her community website responsiblegrowthforeaston.com and a new found interest in responsible growth, not just for the Shovel Shops, but also for all 40B and affordable housing projects. She has since testified in front of the State Legislature on the issue and has been actively involved in multiple ways.
Now, she is running for Easton's board of selectmen.
She joins Finance Committee Chair Carol Nestler, Planning Board member Dan Smith and local lawyer Michael Maloney in her quest for one of two 3-year seats that will be left vacant by Ellen Barlow and Sean Noonan.
"I think it’s nice to see new faces," she said. "All four candidates – they’re putting themselves out there and being a selectman takes up a lot of time. It’s a big commitment. I think it’s great that there’s four people that are willing to get into the race to do that."
Fulginiti said residents got something that was "more palatable to the whole town" when it struck a deal with Beacon Communities for a public-private partnership to build 113 units in the historic Ames Shovel Shops. Originally, Turner Brothers LLC intended to build 182 units in the buildings.
The 40B law itself, she said, needs to be changed.
"I was really trying to lobby on a state level for 40B reform to make changes in the 40B law to make it more friendly to local towns and cities," she said. "I recognize that there’s a need for affordable housing and I do support affordable housing but not necessarily in the way that 40B promotes it."
Her experience in developing her website is one way she hopes to help as a selectman.
Responsiblegrowthforeaston.com was chock-full of information, she said.
"It really generated a lot of interest and people thought it was great because they could really find out a lot of information about the project," she said. "It wasn’t an opinionated website. It was just fact. It was links to documents and things like that."
An independent technical sales rep, Fulginiti hopes to bring more transparency to town government through technology similar to her website.
"I’d like to just continue the outreach," she said. "I know that the [town] website is under development right now, but I’d like to make sure that that’s updated regularly and the information is easier to find."
In addition to discussing 40B with state officials, Fulginiti said she also spoke with the Army Corps of Engineers to discuss the South Coast Rail.
While she said she disagrees with a train connecting Boston to Fall River, she agrees with the town's position to mitigate it's impacts.
"If it’s going to come through and they’re forcing it to come through, I really think we have to stand firm against it, but I don’t think throwing money at it is going to fix it," she said.
Fulginiti is also mostly pleased with how the town has worked to dig its way out of the recent recession.
In Town Administrator David Colton's most recent FY14 budget memo, he highlighted public safety as a priority. The next operating budget will fund two new police officers and two new firefighters for half of the year to allow for flexibility.
"One of the things that I would say I bring to the table is balance," she said. "I think everything has to be balanced. I’m very fiscally responsible and concerned about having strategic planning for finances but I do think we need to have a vision to move ahead and do it strategically so we’re not moving in an undefined plan.
"The stabilization fund has taken a little bit of a hit," she added. "I think it’s important that that is built back up again. Overall, the town has had to make tough decisions but I am pleased to see that public safety is a top priority and they are ramping that back up again. I do like the way that they’re doing it with a graduated increase – there is a long term plan."
A "long term plan" will be present in creating a Master Plan for Easton - a process Fulginiti said is important.
A Master Plan Steering Committee was recently appointed by the board of selectmen.
"I think that the master plan for the town is very important," she said. "I think in some towns, different departments are heading in different directions and they don’t take advantage of the resources and work collectively on things. I’m really very focused on moving ahead and seeing what the master plan has for the town."
Should she be elected to the board, Fulginiti said she is interested in hearing all sides of any argument.
"Any time I’ve heard something that’s gone on in the town where I’ve thought ‘why would they do that, that doesn’t make any sense’, I usually will pick up the phone and call the person to ask them directly," she said. "It’s usually much more of a complex situation than people think."
This is the first in a 4-part series profiling all of the candidates for the board of selectmen. Check back with Patch to read about the rest of the candidates.