James (Jimmy) A. Full - Candidate for Select Board
Marblehead Beacon is presenting these candidate profiles in advance of our June 21 town elections with the goal of helping the community learn more about all of the individuals volunteering their time to run for public office. Please note that the answers included here are printed exactly as provided by each candidate, with only minor typographical edits. Marblehead Beacon does not endorse any candidate or validate any responses. All candidates for the Select Board, Town Moderator, Board of Health, Light Department, and School Committee who had available contact information were given the opportunity to respond to a set of questions specific to the office for which they are running.
What is your professional experience, including handling budgets, and how has your background prepared you to serve on the Select Board?
Having served a total of 26 years in both the US Army and US Navy I have had a broad range of jobs. As a Senior Enlisted Leader I worked in Operations and planning for the last 10 years of my career. I was responsible for management and training of a 425 personnel Combatant Command in maintenance and operations of Civil Engineer Support Equipment. During my last Deployment I was the equipment manager over 325 pieces of equipment spread across 2 theaters with a value of almost 1 Billion Dollars. I believe having the variety of training and responsibilities I have had in my service qualify me to serve as a member of the Select Board and could bring a different perspective to the table.
If you are currently serving on the Select Board, what do you believe are your most significant accomplishments thus far?
Not currently serving.
What are your top priorities to accomplish this year if elected or re-elected to the Select Board?
My first priority would be to introduce an Article on town warrant regarding placement of Articles in order of funding/override(s). I believe this would benefit the taxpayer in that they could attend Town Meeting on day one and vote on the articles that affect them financially. This would also allow our Senior citizens to attend and have their vote counted instead of pushing Articles into day two at the 11th hour. Other priorities I would like to take action on would be real tax abatement for qualified homeowners under the State “circuit Breaker” plan as a local option under MGL Title 9, Section 5C1/2 via the Assessor’s office and have the Town match the abatement 100%. I would like to see the town adopt the same plan that a majority of Essex County Towns and Cities already have. Additionally, I would like to see the Town to match up to $1000.00 of the tax abatement for qualified Disabled Veterans and have both the “circuit breaker” and Disabled Veterans abatements voted on the Town Ballot. Roads and Infrastructure are ALWAYS a priority for me as well.
Has the Select Board done a good job communicating with and inviting feedback from the community? What needs improvement in this arena?
I think the Select Board has done pretty well in being out front on many issues as well as being approachable. Given the hurdles the Pandemic brought, the use of Zoom meetings was beneficial and I almost feel that it got more people involved or at least aware of what was happening around Town. Public forums are always a good platform especially where community input is needed to help make good decisions.
Has the Select Board done a good job with hiring and appointing members to serve our community?
To me, I think we have had our share of issues with attracting and retaining qualified candidates to serve. It almost feels like there has been a revolving door within the Town. I understand the situation with our latest hiring of Town Manager position and I share the concerns of many regarding how it ended up being just one candidate for the hire and that we as a Town didn’t hold back and run the opening again to see if any more candidates applied. In the end I’m afraid the decision was made because we needed to fill the vacancy. I understand how the other potential candidates dropped out in the end. Not an easy decision for the Select Board to make and hopefully Mr. Kezer will be the right fit for our Community and stick around.
Do you believe that override questions should be presented to the community as a menu of spending choices with the option to prioritize, or should all items be combined to pass or fail together?
I think any Debt Exclusion or Override should be First; explained in plain English with dollar amounts for every single item attached as required by Prop 2 ½ guidelines. I believe that “lumping” Debt exclusions into one Article forces the voter to say “if I want good streets I have to pass this”. I strongly believe that the FY23 infrastructure “package” should be broken into multiple ballot questions. I also believe that the $3M override the schools want should have been required to show exactly what and where the money is going before they ever presented Article 46 at Town Meeting.
Do you believe the members of the Select Board should serve for one-year terms or should the terms be longer? Should there be term limits for this role?
Currently I think our system of yearly elections for Select Board isn’t a bad thing. As for term limits, I could support that possibility. I really think both of these questions would be much better answered by the good people of Marblehead.