Letter: City needs leaders who budget for community needs

Below is a Letter to the Editor from this week's Shelton Herald. If you'd like to have a letter to the editor run next week, email letters to brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com

Below is a Letter to the Editor from this week's Shelton Herald. If you'd like to have a letter to the editor run next week, email letters to brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com

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To the Editor:

Moving to Shelton 30 years ago, I expected a city that would invest in education, provide quality services, and develop a vibrant, appealing, walkable downtown with parking. Instead, I saw a great community and missed opportunities, and I wanted to make a difference.

In 2011, I was elected to the Board of Apportionment and Taxation, experiencing firsthand a flawed budget process that didn’t optimize opportunities or provide funds necessary to move forward. Utilizing 30 years of business background, I saw solutions and proposed ways to fix problems, and balance the budget and surplus.

The issue - the Board of Aldermen (BOA) were locked in the status quo and have systematically de-funded education, and never questioned the impact of cutbacks on student achievement. We all deserve better.

What is the real problem? The BOA treats the budget like a football game: I win you lose. In business, the budget is the culmination of months of discussion, review, and revision to assess a company’s needs and objectives to achieve the strategy. Strategy first, then numbers.

The current budget process in Shelton is backwards, as the BOA debates the cost without a direction. My solution requires a collaborative budget process that first plans the needs and goals of the city, such as education achievement levels, police staffing, and external factors such as changes in economic growth. Then A&T, working with the BOA and city departments, would estimate and prioritize the money and resources needed to meet the goals.

Isn’t it time Shelton’s budget supports the city’s needs and replaces an arcane, unrealistic practice of holding budgets flat?

I know how to fix this problem without affecting taxes. With 20 years at Sikorsky as controller, I directed the budget, financial and capital plans. For the last 10 years, I taught these best practices in UConn’s MBA programs. These methods work with leadership, vision and a willingness to change.

I decided to run for alderman in the 1st Ward and seek your support. It is time for new thinking to benefit our schools and all Shelton’s departments. Why settle for someone who offers only a political promise? Instead, choose a neighbor with decades of finance and accounting experience and proven business solutions.

Wayne Bragg (D)

Candidate for 1st Ward Alderman