Patch Q&A: Colleen Corona
The Board of Selectmen Chair discusses the most difficult and most rewarding parts of the job.
In a recent interview, Patch sat down with Colleen Corona to talk about Easton's biggest issues and to get some insight into what it is like to be the chair of the Board of Selectmen.
What made you want to run for the Board of Selectmen?
This is my seventh year on the Board of Selectmen. Back in 2003, we were working on getting the school project passed, and I had worked on that project. I was the precinct captain.
One of the sitting selectmen in Oct. of 2003 resigned from the Board of Selectmen. There was an opening. And, the group of us that worked on that campaign to pass the schools decided that we wanted to put a candidate forward to run on the Board. I was the only one that didn't have a full-time job, so they said "would you be willing to run?"
Originally I thought I wasn't going to do it, and then I ran into someone who told me that they didn't think it was my time and I couldn't handle the job – so then I went and pulled papers.
Are there days you regret taking the job?
I have to say, compared to other communities, we have had such little turmoil and such little animosity. We have an unbelievable board. Everybody gets along. Nobody on this board would ever raise their voice – nobody would ever yell. You can look at surrounding communities and that's just not the case – and it's just been a great experience.
Are there days that I think I don't like the job? There is few, but that happens – because it's a big time commitment. I really for the most part have learned so much about things I never expected to learn.
What's the hardest part about the job?
The hardest part is we have to make choices.
We have stings in town, and if someone sells to an underage drinker, they have to come before the board and we have to decide whether to take their license away as punishment for a certain number of days. I always see people come before us that are businesspeople in town. They're working hard, trying to provide for their families. There's a balance – the rules and the laws versus the businesses in the community. So, I hate liquor hearings because I really don't want to take someone's livelihood away, but on the other hand, it's our job to protect the community and make sure that underage drinking isn't taking place.
Anytime you have to make a decision where you're hurting someone or excluding someone, those are the most difficult decisions for me. Other than that, it's just just gut votes on everything. You do what you think is best for the community.
What's the best part about the job?
I think the best part of the job is seeing the things that you wanted to happen for the community – your vision for the community – taking place.
I wanted the schools to be renovated. We had a real need for it, and that's done. I worked on the override campaign, which a lot of people might not be happy about – but we became financially stable to a certain extent after that.When you're moving forward, when you're preserving open space, or history, or doing things that you think improve the town – that's the best part of the job.
In your opinion, what is the biggest reoccurring issue in town?
Unfortunately, right now, our reoccurring issue is our financial issues. State aid has been cut over the last few years, so every community is struggling to maintain the services, and how do we provide for all of the services with the limited resources we have?
Your term ends in 2012. How long do you want to continue doing this?
I haven't thought about that. I don't have an answer for that question right now.