Patrick Goodman Looks to Bring New Perspective to Board of Selectmen
The longtime Easton resident says he disagrees with many of the decisions Selectmen have made.
Patrick Goodman is hoping to be the newest member to Easton's Board of Selectmen.
But, at 73 years old, the 53-year Eastonite certainly isn't a newcomer to town, government or Easton community organizations.
"I’ve served – I couldn’t tell you all the boards I’ve been on," Goodman said. "I’m on the Finance Committee right now. I was chairman of the Rec Department for 10 years. I was chairman of the Playground for five years. I was on the Landfill and on the Recycling. I was chairman of the boy scout troop over the years."
Now he says he is running for the Board of Selectmen because he is unhappy with the way the town is being run.
Last year, Goodman pulled papers but realized he didn't have the time commitment needed to be a Selectman.
"I pulled papers last year and then I kind of looked at my schedule and decided I couldn’t devote the time I wanted to it, so this year I only planned a few trips," he said.
"I’m not happy at all with the way the town is being run, basically," he said. "The town is supposed to be run by the selectmen and the selectmen aren’t doing the job. They’re letting the Town Administrator do everything, so that’s my complaint."
Goodman said he disagrees with the way the town has handled the Shovelshop deal, the four-town Veteran's District, and the entire implementation of a Planning Department.
He said he would like the town to do away with the Department of Planning and Community Development, which consists of a Town Planner, Land Use Agent, Community Planner, and two clerks (one full-time and one part-time).
According to a preliminary budget memorandum for FY13 released by Town Administrator David Colton last month, the Planning Department will likely account for $240,357, or 0.35 percent of the town's expenditures in the coming year.
Goodman said there should be a volunteer planning committee, instead.
"What’s priority? Get rid of the Planning Department," Goodman said. "That’s number one. Take that money and use it to put on some safety personnel."
Last year, the town eliminated two positions in the Fire Department, two positions in the Police Department, two positions in the Department of Public Works, two clerks in Town Hall and 18 positions in the School Department.
This year, however, Colton's preliminary budget would restore at least one position in the Police Department and two positions in the Fire Department. Colton said in the budget memo that he hopes FY2013 will be looked at "as the beginning of a sustained economic recovery for the Town of Easton," adding that the town should not "overreach" in restoring positions lost. (Colton's memo can be seen here)
"When it comes I’ll believe it," Goodman said, referring to the restored public safety positions.
Goodman cited his own business, PNL Paintball in Bridgewater, as proof that the economy is not getting better. He said that in 25 years of business, last year was the first time he ever had to lay anyone off.
"I just came back from a huge convention and paintball people from all over the United States and Canada there and not one person said business was improving," he said.
"There’s no work out there. There’s no building going on. I don’t believe the economy is going up at all."
He said the Selectmen and Colton haven't listened to the Finance Committee during the recession and when dealing with the budget.
"The Finance Committee- nobody listens to them, including the Town Administrator," Goodman said. "I think that’s a shame because they’re probably some of the most intelligent money people in the town. They know more about what’s happening with money than anyone else. It’s a shame that the town doesn’t listen to them. The Town Administrator doesn’t listen to them."
Goodman said the town's resources have not been used wisely when it comes to the Beacon Communities Development Shovel Shop Project, which is set to break ground by April 1, Developer Howard Cohen said at a recent Board of Selectmen meeting.
The town voted in 2010 to commit $3 million in a conservation restriction and distribute a $4.5 million loan (to be paid back by Beacon) for the 113-unit apartment complex. The money would come from the town's Community Preservation fund.
Goodman said the project, which was originally supposed to break ground last year, is taking too long.
"It’s taking so long to go anywhere," he said. "I heard a year ago that April was going to be the final thing and they’d sign the papers and everything was going to get done. Then it got moved to May; then it got moved to June; then it got moved to September; then it got to moved to October. Then it was going to be closed by the end of the year. Then I saw they were going to close it by January. January went by and March is here and I don’t see anything happening and I don’t see anything happening before the elections."
Goodman said that rather than focusing on Beacon's Shovel Shop project, the town should be more focused on local developer Doug King's Queset on the Pond project - a mix of affordable housing and condos, retail space and assisted living units.
"That’s the guy we should be helping – the guy that’s going to bring money into the town – not someone that’s taking it out and that’s what Beacon’s doing," Goodman said. "I haven’t read anything in any of the papers that Beacon Construction donated to the library, or donated to the Children’s Museum or donated to the schools or the different groups – wrestling or track. I haven’t seen anywhere in the paper that Beacon donated to those yet over the years Doug King has donated to everything that has gone on."
Over this past year, Goodman said that Selectmen mishandled the creation of a four-town veterans district, which paired Easton's current district with Norton with the towns of Foxborough and Mansfield after Easton's Veterans Agent Steve Nolan retired.
The new Crossroads Veterans District includes four towns and two agents - one from Foxborough and one from Mansfield. The four towns together would serve about 120 veterans: 42 in Norton, 43 in Easton, 17 in Mansfield and 18 in Foxborough.
With the most veterans, Goodman said the town should have its own Veterans Agent.
"We got involved with three other towns with Veterans Agents," he said. "We lost our agent and didn’t replace him. We have the most cases out of all the towns but we don’t have an agent – another stupidity. The Veterans fought so we could have freedom and then we took what they needed away."
Goodman said that despite his disagreements with the board, he thinks he can work with current members if he is elected.
"I know I can," he said. "I don’t have a problem with working with anybody."
"It’s got nothing to do with that," he continued. "It’s got to do with the configuration of the board. There’s people sitting on the board that don’t want to speak up and don’t want to make changes and don’t want to rock the boat and don’t want to make waves. I really don’t care if I make waves. I don’t care if I rock the boat and turn the people to the other side."
Patch will co-sponsor a debate on April 2 along with ECAT and the Easton Journal. If you have questions you would like to ask Mr. Goodman or any of the candidates, email Patrick.Maguire@Patch.com