Murphy Looks to Continue 'Enjoyable Experience' on Board of Selectmen
Dan Murphy looking to get re-elected after one year on the board.
For Selectman Dan Murphy, one year is not enough.
The candidate, up for re-election at April 24's Town Election, is vying to keep his seat and stay on the board for another three years.
Murphy, a local accountant, who runs Murphy Accounting Services in Easton and H&R Block in Easton, West Bridgewater and Brockton, obtained his seat for one year last year after former Selectman John Haederle vacated to take a new job in Washington D.C.
Formerly on the Finance Committee, he easily won last April over Dave Nelson, 612-246.
This year, he faces fellow incumbent Colleen Corona, as well as challengers Patrick Goodman and Michael Maloney. Of the four candidates, two will obtain three-year seats.
Murphy said he has enjoyed his time on the board over the past year.
"I’ve enjoyed it very much," he said. "I think I’ve added something. I want to continue to do the work. When I won a year ago, I said I was going to be in it for the long-term, so that’s why I’m running again."
Murphy said his business and finance experience, combined with his knowlege of the town have been valuable assets.
Murphy is the father of three young children, and he and his wife Erica came to town because they thought it would be a great place to raise a family. They moved from Canton about six years ago, but Murphy also lived in Easton as a teenager, and he’s worked in town since graduating from Boston College.
"I think I bring a perspective with a business in town and long-term roots in town," he said. "That combination, I think, is valuable."
He said the board has worked well together in the year he has been on it, despite the difficult times.
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.
Now, he is looking to help guide the town out of the recession. Last month, Town Administrator David Colton released a preliminary budget that would restore two firefighter and one police officer position.
"This is the third year but being able to get through this and keep an eye on the other end [has been a major issue]," Murphy said. "For example, always talking about the restoration of police and fire, which we’re going to see now. It was important not to slash and burn during those times. I think that’s been the number one issue in the last two years that I’ve been involved. It has been a very difficult time. Jobs have been cut all over town: Police, Fire, DPW, and Town Hall. Getting through that in town and coming out the other end is important."
Murphy said moving towards a central dispatch will also be important moving forward. Along with the other selectmen, he supported an article in February's Special Town Meeting Warrant that hired two full-time dispatchers.
"By moving towards central dispatch, we actually in effect increase the fire presence," he said. "We get another firefighter back on the truck as opposed to answering phones, and that will directly play a role into how often that fire station stays open. Even though that may not be an added a body, it does play an impact with the staffing."
Dealing with the "moving parts" involved in finalizing the town's Shovel Shop project have also been important during his tenure, Murphy said.
He said his experience in dealing with numbers has been useful during the Shovel Shop project and other issues in town.
"The fact that I’m farmiliar with numbers, it makes a difference," he said. "I’ve never done a commercial project of this size. I’ve never closed a bank laon of this size and municipal budgets are a lot different. I think the fact that I can look at numbers and understand them or look at spread sheets and understand them, does make a difference. I don’t think that should exclude anyone, but I think it helps."
His first year didn't come without struggles, though.
One of the most difficult things the Selectman had to deal with, he said, was establishing a four-town Veterans District after Easton's Veteran's Agent Steve Nolan retired.
The merger of Easton's current district with Norton with the towns of Foxborough and Mansfield was unpopular among many of Easton's veterans, who came to Selectmen meetings to express their disapproval.
The board unanimously approved the creation of the district.
"I didn’t decide on that lightly and I made sure of it in the meeting – I didn’t just raise my hand - I made a point to say ‘this is why I am doing this,’ and it was not financially motivated," Murphy said. "The financial savings had already happened the year before [when Easton combined with Norton]. This was an attempt to improve services. We did not have a veterans agent – people forget that. Our veterans agent had retired, so we were looking for a way to get veterans services up and running in an efficient way. Regionalization was something that people were very interested in in a lot of different areas and this was one way that I think works."
Murphy said he confronted many of the Veterans after he voted.
"That wasn’t an easy thing to do," he said. "It would have been really easy to get out-voted 4-1 on that. But, actually, I agreed with it. I went outside and said ‘if you’ve got something to say, say it and I’ll listen. And, let me know how it’s working.' I don’t’ know how else to do it."
The Veterans District decision was one example of confronting people around town after a decision was made.
"There are several times where you have to make a decision that doesn’t benefit someone you know you’re going to see a few days later," he said." Having grown up a lot of my life here and lived here, with kids involved in the schools, there have been times that I’ve had to vote for committee assignments where I’ve known both people. In one way it’s a strength if you know a lot of people. You have roots and you understand issues better, but it does present challenges as well."
He said that if re-elected the three biggest challenges he, the board and the town will face in the coming three year swill be economic recovery, the Shovel Shop Project, and dealing with the South Coast Rail.
While he is against the South Coast Rail traveling through Easton, he agrees with a decision Selectmen made before his tenure to work with the state and mitigate the process rather than to fight it. He said the town should work to ensure traffic and sidewalk safety while assuring there is not a negative effect on residents' home values.
"I don’t want it," he said. "I don’t think we gain as much as we’re going to lose. It’s not for us. I also don’t think we have much to say about it. Before my time, the board made a decision not to get into a battle over it because it was probably not a winnable battle. But, instead work with them and try to get mitigation and I think that’s wise. I think with the number of crossings and the number of neighborhoods and homes its going to go through, I don’t think the positives outweigh the negatives to be honest."
While dealing with the issues, Murphy said he has been able to learn and stay informed. He hopes to continue what he has called "an enjoyable experience."
"I’ll be honest, I’ve really enjoyed it," he said. "I’ve really enjoyed getting to know everything. I’m doing it for my own enjoyment. I like knowing what’s going on. I really like learning about municipal government and playing a role in it. I think our board in particular has worked really well together in the last year."
In the coming days, Easton Patch will feature each of the four selectmen candidates. Patch will also co-sponsor a debate on April 2 along with ECAT and the Easton Journal. If you have questions you would like to ask Mr. Murphy or any of the candidates, email Patrick.Maguire@Patch.com