In preparation for the upcoming town elections, Arlington Patch sat down to talk with all of the candidates running for major office. In the upcoming weeks we will bring you profiles on all of the different candidates, giving you an inside look at their backgrounds, their experiences and their views on the issues.
Dan Dunn is one of three candidates running for a two-year seat on the Board of Selectmen. Dunn faces current Board of Selectmen Chairman Diane Mahon and East Arlington Concerned Citizens Committee member Maria Romano in the race for selectmen. Voters will chose two candidates to each serve a three year term on the board. Attempts to reach Diane Mahon as part of these Q&As were unsuccessful.
Background and Experience
A 12-year Arlington resident, Dunn works as the product manager for Hubspot in Cambridge, a start-up focused on promoting small businesses through software and social media. Dunn has served as a Town Meeting member for nine years and as a Finance Committee member for five years. He helped co-found the Information Technology Advisory Committee in Arlington and provides commentary and analysis of each Town Meeting on his blog.
On the Issues
Patch: The town is currently facing staff cuts for municipal employees. What is your position on these cuts and if these cuts are made what should the board do to ensure town services do not suffer?
Dan Dunn: “If there is no additional revenue, I do not see a way to avoid service cuts. I think one of the things that’s really important into getting a plan that can work is the cost controls. One of those is health insurance — that’s the biggest ticket savings item that I can see out there. The obvious answer is to go with the GIC, but I’m open to any solution. The town employees have a lot of concerns about the GIC. I know they are coming forward with an alternative plan, and I look forward to reading it. I think we should come back to another five-year plan that includes some cost controls."
Patch: A new liquor licensing law just went into effect, enabling Arlington’s three beer and wine vendors to begin selling liquor. A warrant article submitted for spring town meeting calls for additional liquor licenses in town. What is your position on adding additional liquor licenses, and if elected how will you approach liquor licensing on the Board of Selectmen?
Dan Dunn: “I think that we should have extra licenses. They help with business and with the life and energy in the town. I think that the previous boards have done a good job implementing these licenses and I don’t have any tremendous changes I would make to how they’re doing things. Some of the restaurant liquor licenses went for years before the selectmen handed them out because the board showed restraint. Just because we have a license doesn’t mean we should hand it out. We should be smart about them and chose good opportunities.”
Patch: A major role of the Board of Selectmen is corresponding with concerned and sometimes upset residents. If elected to the board, what specifically will you do to ensure that citizens’ voices are heard? As selectman what will you do to strengthen the relationship between the board and the residents it serves?
Dan Dunn: “First off you have to be available and accessible. They (the residents) have to be able to reach you via phone or e-mail or whatever. I do; however, think there is real room to expand the options of how people can reach selectmen. I think that we should use technology to make the town more accessible and more efficient. One of the challenges that we’ve got with our budget — with increasing expenditures and limited revenue — we’ve got to find ways to do more with less. I think we should use technology to do just that. I’m not saying we should replace town employees with computers; I’m saying we should use technology to help town employees do even more.”
Patch: How do you think the board can improve communication with the rest of the town and if elected to the board, what specifically will you to ensure that this happens?
Dan Dunn: “Residents can have more access to town and vice-versa, and I think technology is a great way to do that. We have several good methods in place already and I think there are a lot of cheap wins in technology that will make the town even more accessible for people. I think that we can make the town website more effective — use it to renew licenses, pay bills with credit cards online and more. I’m not talking about replacing the tried and true ways of reaching out to communicate; I’m talking about expanding the ways in which people can talk to each other. One of the truisms of customer service is being where your customers are. That means being in more places, not fewer.”
Patch: What about your experience and background makes you the best person for this job?
Dan Dunn: “I ask good questions, I listen carefully to the answers, I bounce ideas off people to find out what’s valuable to them and I put it together in a package that everyone can like and understand. I bring a lot of skills that will help people come to a common understanding. I’ve served on the Finance Committee for five years so I know the budget inside and out. I can break down the budget for people line by line to let them know what the cuts will mean. I can also make credible statements about the inefficiencies still within the system. I can find solutions for people."
Check back with Arlington Patch for more candidate profiles before heading to the polls on April 2.