LIVE BLOG: Town Manager Interview Ronald San Angelo
The third finalist for Town Manager said his current community in Connecticut is like a miniature Framingham. Read what else he had to say.
Ronald San Angelo, a third candidate, for Town Manager will participate in a Q&A with the public at 6 p.m., followed by a formal interview with Selectmen at 7 in the Memorial Building.
Framingham Patch will be live blogging.
It is 6:03 p.m. We are awaiting the candidate.
6:05 p.m. The candidate has arrived
Framingham Patch videotaped his opening statement and will upload later (Thursday).
Certified as a professional project manager - being able to take a project from the beginning to the end in proper budget. That training will be tremendous value here in Framingham. To get what we need to accomplish down.
Project manager for heath insurance company in Ct.
Have a broad range of experience ..hands on active and open...
There is one town meeting member present in the Q&A. He is asking the first questions.
Customers are the town as a whole. Work with selectmen, who will set the tone for what will happen in Framingham. Citizens as a whole is who I will be working with.
Try to get everybody working together on the same page.
I like to get everyone involved. All about bringing people together to form a team.
Wanted a challenge - this is a wonderful community with a tremendous amount of assets. ...exciting that you ... have wonderful companies - bose staples, genzyme, TJ Maxx treasure chest of major companies -- get them more in play with the town..
how do we get them to expand operations in Framingham .. they are here .. how do we help them grow we want them happy here i town..
very much like my community ...demographics similar ..even the population and the ethnic populations..
downtown -- did the tree scaping, improved parking facility, had police officer walk downtown, strong believer in community policing ... same issues as you do in regards to parking ... looking to try to bring in different types of businesses .. I formed a downtown business association and meet quarterly...
worked with a lead developer ..downtown revitalization plan -- renaissance place ... get selectmen and business community on board ... create a special zone .. because-of the economy it has not gone where we wanted it to go ... but building foundation for the future...legislature support for it ...
I don't speak another language ... always someone to translate ..communication has never been a problem ... open and honest and talk around food ...
6:20 p.m. Town Meeting member Kathy McCarthy asking a question --
Management style? leadership? how to deal with people and day-to-day?
Candidate: Democratic style. Like to form department heads into groups Segment out different group of managers. Form teams ie police-fire/public safety.
Board of selectmen set the policy for the town. I have a schedule for the first 90 days I would do ... Let's white board out what you would like to - where do you see the town - where is the future in your mind?
Set up a visionary scale ...then learn how selectmen would like me to report to them.
If I have to make a quick decision, it becomes more autocratic ...
very team oriented - what is the project - goalsof the project - timeframe and then budget and then complete within timeframe and budget and get to a result.
Meet with department heads on a weekly basis all in various teams - to talk about policies and direction. want they to get use to talk to each other. want them to share and be a part of the team.
McCarthy followup question -- as an elected Town Meeting member - represent neighborhoods - try to communicate that everyoneis one the same page. - what would you see in regards to communication - biggest challenge?
Candidate - Town Meeting membership - bring them involved and get them active. First start and meet with chairs of the standing committees - can't meet with all 200+ ... like to get town government and Town meeting to work together .. I know how to bring different, diverse groups together.
You are my sales people to the community (re Town Meeting members) - you are the voices both ways with the community ... Inned you as much as you need me in that ..
I would bring in the experts -- bring in the public safety standing committee with the police chief and the fire chief ...
Work towards a compromise ... to me the Town Meeting is my legislature...
I have read your Town Meeting handbook number of times - 18 precincts - 12 members etc .. one of thing that attracted me - Town meeting is like 200 volunteers ...
Challenges for Framingham?
Bringing people together ... providing best quality services that taxpayers can afford ... in difficult times .. wanted to work with legislature group - to get as much money as we can -- ie infrastructure money ..chapter 70 money ... read article from school committee chair on how framingham has not gotten its share ... thus reduce staff and activities ..
If I was impressed by anything by Framingham it was the amount of students who go to college based on our demographics .. should be proud with the school committee with what they have... we don't want to cut teachers...
6:31 p.m. Q&A had ended ...
Framingham Patch will continue to live blog at the interview with selectmen
Ronald San Angelo has arrived and we are awaiting for all the selectmen to arrive
This interview will be broadcast live on the government channel tonight
7:01 p.m. We are waiting for Selectman Ginger Esty to arrive to start
7:05 p.m. Meeting called to order by the chair (Esty has yet to arrive)
Fourth candidate has withdrawn - chair
Ronald Can Angelo - thanking the search committee and making an opening statement. This is my 8th or 9th time in Framingham - got very positive feedback from people downtown, business people, ate in restaurants, visited library, toured Salvation army ...I'm here to convince you that I would be a good candidate for your town.
Got involved in government at age 18 ... volunteered for youth services advisory board committee - served 8 years trying to create positive experiences for children .. served 10 years in state legislature - 6 years on appropriations committee, worked on finance committee setting tax policy for state of Ct. .. was member of public safety committee - involved in gun laws and gang issues .. served on commerce committee too - even though in minority position I was able to accomplish a great deal by working with both sides... then came back as mayor of my community - we have a strong mayor form of government - did that for 4 years .. we are a miniature Framingham ... population 30,35,000 - we are half the population. Demographics are very close.
Member of school committee for four years and served on police and fire commission and served on the economic development corp in town. nd I still serve on eco dev corp today.
Talking about his work at the state level, appointed by the governor.
He is a certified project manager --completed it in 2 months, while most people take 6 month to a year he said.
I'm here to convince you why pick - me - had success across wide range including state level and business world.
Strong believer in working with existing businesses. Attracting new businesses and do everything you can to develop good relationship with existing businesses. very highly motivated person ... want to be a bridge between you and the community so I can help you achieve your goals ...
(7:14 p.m. Esty has arrived)
I am excited about Framingham .. talked to many people in town .. truly believe I can be an asset.
Selectman Jason Smith question - describe a project controversial. techniques gained and how achieved consensus.
San Angelo: most controversial thing was hiring a police chief ... not internal candidate to step up to the plate .. big power struggle .. especially hiring a police chief outside ... union issues ...
needed to go out and talk to the community and tell Lt. himself that he is not ready to be chief now ... talk to theunion guys, talk to police commissioner. We decided to interview both ... and made decision to hire the best candidate. In he end picked an external police chief ... chief recently recognized a few weeks ago as recognized as one of the best police chiefs in the state ... frankly thebest hire I have ever made ...
Smith: how did you find the external chief?
San Angelo -- there is a method to get it out to all the police departments across the state .. brought all the candidates to the HR director. Director limited it to 6 qualified candidates. Everyone got the same questions from the police commission and myself. Police commission is 5 members and me. We picked the most qualified candidate ...in this case we did it as a group.
Selectman Laurie Lee followup - what stood out to you about the police chief?
San Angelo -- Preparation for the interview, We were impressed. He stood out and had a good reputation in the department he came from. during the interview union members were protesting while we were interviewing..
Question Dennis Giombetti - commissions .. who appoints?
Mayor elected and mayor appoints the fire and police commission. Mayor runs as the same time as selectmen
Created an economic development corporation - business community kicks in 35% and town pays 65% .. all work together and members of largest businesses sit on it too.
Still an elected official - essentially a selectman...
Lee question - view of strategy .. process in setting goals, how communicate, etc?
San Angelo: first thing I would do - in first 90 days - meet rightaway with board of selectmen and white board what goals you would have - what you are trying to accomplish not just for a one year period but long term too.
Look at budgets - try to do a year at a time - then look at a 3-year budget - establish the gaols .. fr department heads I want a detailed first year budget and a generalized second and third year budget .. I want to get someplace ... I want to know what they are thinking going down the road .. that is critical ..thinking about the future.
Then benchmark - did we achieve what we wanted to in that goal and then talked to that department head about it ... how did you make out in that and if they didn't why? and is the program effective?
Second part of that - wonderful to budget off the current year - but what dept heads to think about their goals for the department that don't already reflect what they have done .. zero-based budgeting - think outside the box ...
Explain your community...
San Angelo - think of it as a smaller Framingham. central Ct, near Waterbury. 30,000 to 35,000 pop - strong mayor form of government - mayor has a huge amount of power .. old historical ...have board of alderman and board of selectmen... we have no Town Meeting but we do referendums for budget issues.
Started off as farmland and then became industrial down ... parents worked in factories ... a river splits our town. ... in old days had a vibrant downtown and then as businesses moved out -- we struggled with our downtown .. we focused on mid-size companies. .. lot of midsize manufacturers - built three extremely successful industrial parks, including Coca-cola .. and that has been our taxbase .. create a ton of jobs -- located right off a highway -- really solid for our taxbase ...
downtown is just like your downtown - it is struggling - large Portuguese and Brazilian population -cultural changes like your downtown . Brazilian and Portuguese work hard and create business.
Love your education stats - # of students who graduate to college based on demographics is impressive ...
San Angelo: Had an HR director who just retired and so we are going to give the school side a fee and will share an HR director. We try to work together to share services and save money. very cooperative relationship that didn't exist in past but that exists now..
Commercial source of revenue in town?
San Angelo -industrial parks, an aircraft components company, Wal-Mart and retail stores ...
we are not a heavy wealthy town .. we are not Greenwich ...
60% of our budget or 65% is education - very labor driven on the education side. we give them a lump side and they can spend it how they want. Mayor serves on School Committee.
Giombetti followup - is there a school and municipal tax?
San Angelo: just one tax.
Board of education now is using our attorney
No county government
San Angelo: As a town manager met with each department head one-on-one and then budget went to controller or CFO. He then would go through the non-department budgets and then put together a final budget and that went to the finance committee who also would meet with the departmentheads one-on-one and then joint boards and come to a final decision on the budget and then set the tax rate ... if public thought it was great . done. If public not through it was great it went to a ballot.
Chair followup question - zoning or bylaw changes?
San Angelo: Bylaw ordinance change - public hearing and then "selectmen" equivalent would vote.
Giombetti follow - permitting of businesses and licenses done by whom?
San Angelo: Planning and zoning both elected - they review all plans ... state law sets it up . I don't get involved in those issues ...
7:38 p.m. Esty question -- experience and maintaining community infrastructure ... and how communicate the plan?
San Angelo: - lot of experience dealing with infrastructure ... set up a 5-year plan for road work try to target by neighborhood when we could ...most bang for the buck in the neighborhood ...
we had the same problem you do - state gives some resources - don't get nearly enough $$$ - main roads are good but about every 20 years the roads would get down .. infrastructure pretty good .. state in processof rebuilding some bridges for us .. downtown infrastructure we put quite a deal of $$$ in the street scapes, curbing, trees, street lighting, made parking areas nicer and it has helped to bring more people downtown but it is not the solution ...
We own the sewer treatment - we don't pay for any sewers in town - bring new lines in town - we have extra capacity and charge for usage ...
Esty followup - any controversy with the plants, infrastructure?
San Angelo: everyone wants their roads paved first ...always going to get somebody to grumble .. but we explained why we were doing some neighborhoods first..
7:43 p.m. You have town sewer and you have an incinerator. Where does trash go?
San Angelo: goes to a resource recovery - but we do our own trash pickup including the recyclables. and then we haul it to a transfer station 20-25 minutes away.
We have town water ... private company that does it. It is run privately.
Very impressed by your street supt today ...who owns the roads, and he has a good plan going forward and the companies understand the plan.. wanted to know that the businesses understood the plan ..
pick and choose our priorities.
Giombetti question - 4 year tenure as mayor - if I drove to the community - what would be the one point that you would show me symbolic of your tenure
San Angelo: I think I would show you our plan for the future - worked with a developer who worked onProvidence Place - worked with him to develop 60 acres along the river - spent 4 years - had t change the land use zone, had to negotiate - he developed conceptual plans - lower level retail, condos .. in order to make downtown work have to have a residential component ...
got through all the design plans ..needed to get state approval for certain things - infrastructure improvements -- went through the planning - look at road stats and how this project would work .. this is where the downtown factories were .. had to cleanup a site -- had to have a phase 1 and phase 2 environmental properties near a railroad. get congressional support ...meet public ...
still moving through the process .. then the economy downturn hit .. but we are still positioning ourself for the future so when the economy turns we are ready to call renaissanceplace.com
I think we will likely be looking fo a new developer - his contract expires in may this year ... major revitalized fo the downtown - mix use - architecture to look alike ... biggest plan ..
My intention is to move my home of 49 years to move to Framingham .. I love a challenge ... work with your board but develop positive relations with TM standing chairs ..
San Angelo: we created an economic development corp - that is a non profit that can raise money - town kicks in 60-65% - business community supports it 35-40% - work out of a town facility - economic development corp - myself, selectmen, top business leaders and state rep and we deal with any economic development issues.
The corp does everything - they host meetings, offers programs, payments in lieu of taxes, etc... work as a team - private-public partnership works very well ad moves tons of projects along ...
It vests the business community to the town .. they work hard to get a return on its investment.
Smith question - boss grade you what say...
San Angelo: - between 8-10. Appointment by a governor, kept me 5 months longer .. be happy with relationship between be and the other agencies ... started running technology projects on my own .. want to learn and keep growing and put me in charge of technology and infrastructure projects for the state ... moved many things online and saved $$$ - tremendous cost savings in terms of staff and document storage...
Smith - importance of technology and human services in town?
San Angelo: - huge ... business manager was trying to be a HR director on a part time basis .. brought in a HR person ... then started to establish discrimination policies. more professional negotiations of labor contracts .. saved $$$$, when first became town manager there was no co-pay town manager got free health - now town manager pays a share ...
HR director - hired a full time, then hired a part-time secretary. and then full-time generalist. ... HR establish ground rules in thebeginning and then bring in attorney for the hard negotiations ...
Smith? - responsibility process payroll?
San Angelo: Business manager and reports to town manger/mayor
pretty much everyone but schools report to the mayor.
Lee followup - your role in negotiations.
San Angelo: I would set strategy in where we would want to be. I explain that to HR persona nd labor attorney. .. I was not in the negotiations .. gave them leverage in negotiations that they had to sell themayor on a contract ...
Technology - walked in as mayor a computer - no printer and no Internet access - machines were outdated ...
hired a technology director -- brought in a new one - rebuilt system - provided training for software .. updated the website ...make major changes in technology - document storage .. bring a town from almost 0 in technology and do the whole system and now have a good IT system in place and it is miles and miles from where we started.
Storage costs cheaper, labor costs cheaper and everyone expects technology - residents don't want to comein they want to do things frm home ...
Chair question - resolving financial issues including a pension issue, experience with that and what you are doing?
San Angelo: when I came in $45 million underfunded for pension ... had to define benefit pension plan .. mayor just kept kicking the ball down the road and put it off - it was poor financial management .. had to work with the state treasurer .. had to demonstrate to them that the new pension plan would be 100% funded going forward and then had to sell to the bond houses in NYC ..myself and controller (CFO) had to sell it ..were able to get financing for $45 million - able to low cost bond it ...
truth after market started to crash we are at 85% .. and we are paying off that long-term bonding debt ... using sound financial policies to get rid fo a 30-year debt ...
health care issue is a state issue - every town is in the same situation as mine ... fundingit every year ...
8:11 p.m. Giombetti question - resume?
left state legislature (5 terms) ran for state wide office and lost and then ran for mayor, for four years. Governor offered me a position and decided not to run for office. State depart of revenue technology .. and again ran as "selectmen-equivalent" which won - it is a part-time position.
San Angelo: can ask questions and make a statement now - 8:15 p.m.
Toured town today - visited Bowditch, Framingham Library, downtown
I'm moving here and I'm dedicating myself. Be involved in a civic organization.
as a mayor - once a month visited the schools - want children to know what town manager does and let them know they are part of the community ...
School system is a part of town -- would like to develop a strong relationship with the superintendent .. want he school to be great if I live here ... we are part of team Framingham.
Kids are not conditioned to bad things .. kids remind you how wonderful your community is ... kids brighten up my day ... want to touch the community ...
I would walk my downtown - talk to business leaders - waht do you think?
people will tell you - they are open and honest - I love the community involvement.
If you pick me - I already looked at some places in town .. exploring places .. talking to a realtor ..talked to a brazilian realtor who would love me to introduce me to the brazilian community - he didn't know much about the education system.
have a manager who will works with you .. your management team leaders are great - work with the legislator to get both sides of the government to work together ...
In terms of asking questions of you - I am going to ask a lot ... like to have your opinion on what to do ... I want to tap into you .. how to build relationship between departments and the community ...
lot of questions but more what do you expect out of me .. do you want a monthly report? how much details? power point?
I analyze my department on a daily basis ... and give feedback to employees righta way .. if I have an employee that has a problem I'm not going to wait four months for an annual review ... very proactive ...
worked way through college ...
reason I want to be town manager - love local government - can have a direct impact on the lives of people on a daily basis and you can see.
as mayor built an ice skating rink - built an outdoor ice skating rink .. turned out to be grandparents with 5-6 years old and not what I expected teens ...
you can't get that experience working in state govt or It projects but local government you can see the direct impact .. I like to make a difference ..
how can I make Framingham a better place to work, to live and to play.
I appreciated your staff - they are good - they want leadership and they want direction but they want a team -- they're ready to go - just have to point them in the right direction.
8:25 p.m. Meeting has ended.