Shelton Board of Aldermen Ward 1 candidate: David Gidwani

David Gidwani

David Gidwani

Contributed photo

Party: Envision Shelton, registered Republican

Incumbent: Yes

What prompted you to run for office? The reason I ran for office was because I wanted to give back to my community.

What are the major issues/changes you are focused on if elected? There is so much going on in the city right now that we could be doing better. I will keep taxes low and I do have to say that I like what Mr. Eldridge has been saying about going after grant money. That costs us nothing but effort. I think that the biggest issue in Shelton is that the citizens have lost their voices with my colleagues currently on the BOA. My constituents are very concerned about the direction of our city. They feel like developers' wants are more important than their own needs, needs we should be addressing like quality of life, growing our grand list in a way that preserves the character of our town, and economic development. We all have a chance to change that in this election.

How can you make any proposed improvements yet keep taxes at the stable level they are at present? With better transparency and better, modern management we are going to find that we have been nowhere near as efficient as we could be. There is so much wasteful stuff going on. Think about it this way, we had a scandal where nearly a million dollars was embezzled and no one noticed until a fishy check just happened to be spotted on an office desk. How does that get missed?

Further, in the last few years the mayor made a comment that he could do the city budget in his sleep. He was trying to be witty and charming, but that was pretty concerning to me. It indicates that the budget process the city uses is essentially the same as it was 30 years ago. As a result, our financials are a haphazard combination of reports from city departments. There are these types of inefficiencies all over our city government and that costs a lot of money. There is no more prominent example of these deficiencies than the city run bus company. The city has very antiquated financial systems, controls, and reporting, so I will make sure we modernize.

The members of the current administration like to puff out their chests about the low tax rate, but the elephant in this room is that the way the city is run actually has cost us a huge amount of money over the years. They literally do things the same way they did back in the 20th century. The world has changed, but they have failed to notice.

Thoughts on BOE spending, city-run bus company? Do you agree with the spending levels set forth in the past for the BOE, and is running a bus company (and the costs associated) worth it to the city? The mayor and RTC BOA members have attempted to make the BOE a scapegoat in the past, but they are the ones responsible for losing almost 3 dozen teaching positions over the last several years, not the BOE. The city run bus company was just a bad idea. It was the hubris of the mayor to think we could do this as well as a professional company and that led to the lawsuit. I couldn't stop it. The other Aldermen fell in line behind the mayor and maybe that was on me, but as a business person, I knew this was not that simple. There were many barriers to entry into the busing industry and once we had it there was going to be a very long learning curve to become just competent at it. The results speak for themselves. My opponents are making many excuses as to why it hasn't gone well when in reality, the city shouldn't be doing this in the first place.