Questions for Representative Town Meeting (RTM) Candidates
1. By what standards do you think that a town like Fairfield should measure its performance?
Perugini's Answer: While many popular media sources such as Money Magazine and Connecticut Magazine use an array of objective metrics to measure towns on Economy, Education, Cost of Living, Crime, and Cultural Activities, I would also submit that there are other less objective but equally relevant standards by which Fairfield’s performance can be best measured. Granted, these standards are qualitative rather than quantitative, but I feel they are equally critical and include the overall level of its citizen’s satisfaction with government, confidence in the town’s future, and its “feel” as a desirable community for families to raise their children.
2. Based on the standards you think are most appropriate, what is your assessment of the Town’s performance, beginning with a letter grade from A+ to F?
Perugini's Answer: Although relative to the benchmark one chooses to use in making an assessment, I feel the following standards are most appropriate to measure Fairfield’s performance and would issue the corresponding letter grades:
Cost of Living: D
Public Safety/Crime: A-
Cultural/Leisure Activities: A-
Satisfaction with Government: C
Confidence in Fairfield’s Future: C
Desirability as Community for Families: A
3. In what ways, if any, do you think the Town’s performance could be improved?
Perugini's Answer: Based upon my assessment of Fairfield’s performance, I feel the town has the greatest opportunities for improving the Cost of Living, restoring Satisfaction with Government, and instilling Confidence in Fairfield’s Future. There is no question we need to be more fiscally responsible in many areas of local government. In addition, I feel Fairfield should strive to contain Board of Education spending while measuring its performance on the correlation between the investments made and student scores in math and reading.
4. By what standards do you think the performance of the RTM should be measured?
Perugini's Answer: I feel the Fairfield RTM should ultimately be measured by its ability to address the most critical concerns of its respective constituents. In serving the town in this vital capacity, those concerns should be paramount with the fundamental expectation that all Representatives be held accountable for their routine attendance, active engagement, and sense of urgency in managing the balance between the concerns of its citizens and the needs of the town. Finally, its endeavors relative to the Operating Budget are arguably its most critical function and the extent to which the Budget is balanced is perhaps the most important outcome to objectively assess its performance.
5. Based on the standards you think are most appropriate, what is your assessment of the performance of the RTM, beginning with a letter grade from A+ to F?
Perugini's Answer: Based upon the standards noted above, I would assess the performance of the RTM by issuing a grade of B-.
6. In what ways, if any, do you think that the performance of the RTM could be improved?
Perugini's Answer: I feel the performance of the RTM could be improved by stronger collaboration between parties, enhanced communication with District constituents, elected officials, and community leaders prior to the Budget proposal process. I also feel performance would be improved by a more concerted effort to actively engage all stakeholders on each respective Board, Commission, and Department Head employed by the town.
7. If elected or reelected to the RTM, what will be your top three priorities on the first day of your new term and why?
Perugini's Answer: If privileged with the opportunity to serve the residents of Fairfield in District 10, my top three most urgent priorities will be the following:
1. Immediately address the issue of dramatic escalations in the Cost of Living due to unfair and poorly substantiated Property Valuations. I feel this concern is central to District 10 and the Town of Fairfield as a whole. I am confident my experience as a Former Chairman of The Board of Assessment Appeals in one of the largest cities in CT will serve me well in navigating the channels necessary to restore fairness and transparency to the Property Valuation and Taxation process.
2. Further immerse myself in the ever changing dynamics of Super Storm Sandy Rehabilitation and Mitigation including the rebuilding of the Penfield Pavilion. I feel it is critical for RTM leaders to better understand many of the esoteric challenges presented while formulating a plan to more effectively communicate to all of the affected masses. I feel it is essential to understand before being understood and, as such, intend to work with the community leaders in each of the respective areas to better educate them on the process required to best address the bureaucracy that often impedes progress.
3. Focus on enhancing Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness in the beach area. Many challenges remain in this area relative to the late night/early morning activities of Fairfield University students distracting the families that are full time residents. There is tremendous opportunity for improving relations as these challenges impact far more than just beach area residents given that precious Police resources are often diverted to this community at the expense of other parts of town. In addition to the student challenges, I feel a strong need exists for residents to remain vigilant and better prepared for the likes of storms such as Irene and Sandy. I will work to continue educating the public on the precautionary measures and emergency preparedness plans advocated by the CT Department of Emergency Management as well as the American Red Cross. As such, I intend to continue building the already strong rapport I have with the leaders of the Police and Fire Department to achieve these important ends. I will also liaise with each of the stakeholders in this community while strengthening my relationship with the leadership of Fairfield University to foster more open communication, mutual respect, and accountability for the outcomes of peace, security, and safety for all residents of the beach area.
Thank you for your interest in each of the issues raised by Fairfield Taxpayer and the time you invested to review my replies. I appreciate your engagement and would be happy to address any questions, comments, or concerns that you may have. Please feel free to contact me at WJP@snet.net to do so.
I look forward to your feedback and the honor of representing you when elected on November 5th.