The Selectmen’s – Rt 20 Corridor mess

Wayland has a dead mall.  It didn’t happen overnight. Town Center is hurting.  Rt 20 looks like a bombed-out middle-east war zone.   Our neighboring towns have done far better.

The old landfill land South of Rt 20 could have been improved for school bus parking and Selectmen-promised DPW materials storage  – but neither received serious Selectmen’s attention.  Now again, we are scrambling for school bus parking.

Despite the 3-story River’s Edge promise to Town Meeting, the developer plans a 4-story version.

Town Center developers sued the town for wastewater capacity it didn’t provide.  Selectmen gave back $640,000 Town Center developers owed us after tying us up in litigation. 

We abandoned fanciful designs for a promised ‘Town Common’ after we learned that Wayland wouldn’t own it, and Town Center developers could use it as a reserve septic field.    

Town Center developers were never held to stormwater control measures required by Conservation in their Order of Conditions.

After years of wrangling with the Town Center developer,  the Selectmen have failed to get the land promised to us for a Senior Center.  Even more outrageous, the Selectmen released an RFP for land to build a Senior Center.  The RFP specified it could only be in a retail or mixed-use area – guess who was the only bidder? – Town Center owners!   The Selectmen have put us on a track to buy what we should have received in the first place!   Couldn’t Wayland build a Senior Center on the land the town already owns at 195 Main Street – close to a large senior population?  Of course, we could — and still have space for a full-sized field too.   This sensible money-saving option was never considered.   Selectmen knew what they wanted.

The pattern:  a decade of poor planning, poor deal-making, bad negotiating, litigation failure, financial waste and leadership failures.

What have the Selectmen focused on instead of preventing solving these problems?   How to bring more town committees under their control through a controversial proposed Town Manager Act.  

This Rt 20 problems must be addressed.    We need Dave Watkins – who understands and invests in Wayland’s Rt 20 corridor.  Watkins is a skilled negotiator who, as FinCom chair, showed he understands long term town financial planning.   

It can’t be all fixed overnight – but we can do better, and we will – when we elect Dave Watkins.

-Mike Lowery 120 Lakeshore Drive Note: Mike Lowery is the current chair of the Board of Public Works

I’m Voting For Watkins

At the Town Election, my vote for Selectman goes to David Watkins.  He is intelligent, open, engaged, collaborative, and goal-oriented.  He has a proven ability to lead a group of people with diverse interests and ideas.  And, he is a genuinely caring individual with the best interests of the entire community at heart. 

As our representative, overseeing preparation of the Finance Committee’s budget, Dave has supported educational initiatives for our children but he asks the hard questions and carefully assesses the merits of each item.

I worked closely with Dave during the 22-month effort of the Wayland Real Asset Planning (WRAP) Committee.  That Committee was created by the Selectmen in 2015 to develop a process for long-range planning including a sustainable plan for funding of large capital projects and recommendations on best uses of town land and buildings.  It was an enormous effort.  Here is a link to the final report: https://www.wayland.ma.us/sites/waylandma/files/uploads/wrapfinaljune2017.pdf

When Bill Steinberg, the Finance Committee representative, resigned from the WRAP Committee after 3 months, Finance Committee Chair Watkins jumped into the breach.  Dave helped us work through how to structure a capital funding plan in order to maintain current assets, establish future needs, and adhere to a set of financial parameters.  As Chair of the Finance Committee, he started putting those ideas into practice and to positive effect especially with adherence to a full set of financial parameters that enabled the Town to remain Moody’s Aaa.

For more than 16 years, recommendations by numerous town committees and outside consultants have stressed the need for Wayland to begin long-term planning in earnest.  Unfortunately, unlike Dave, our Selectmen do not seem interested in planning.  They have relegated the June 2017 WRAP Report to a dusty shelf.

I was a long-time member of the Planning Board when new member Bill Steinberg joined us as presumptive chair and dramatically put a damper on the open deliberative process.  He impeded free discussion, refused to consider a diversity of ideas, and during the permitting process for the now failing Town Center Project, he pandered to the developers.  One has to wonder if things could have turned out differently for the Town . . . .

Dave Watkins understands that the best results are obtained by both presenting and listening to diverse ideas and opinions.  He gathers and considers all relevant facts before venturing to espouse a position.  But, when a decision was needed on whether to postpone the Town Elections and Town Meeting, Dave would not have hesitated to put public welfare first.

The Board of Selectmen needs a self-starter who can bring new ideas to the table, who listens to and is accepting of the ideas of others, who is willing to take a laboring oar, and who can set us on a defined, long-term sustainable plan for Wayland’s future.  Dave Watkins is our man!

Please check out Dave’s web site www.Watkins4Wayland.com and join me and numerous other supporters in voting for David Watkins as our next Selectman on or before June 9.

-Anette Lewis, Claypit Hill Road. Note:  Anette Lewis is a former Road Commissioner and is currently Associate Member of the Planning Board.

THE REAL DAVE WATKINS

Letter to the Editor, Wayland Town Crier

David Watkins is running for a seat on the Select Committee.  Many of you may know Dave as a business owner and CEO of a technology company based in Wayland at 526 Boston Post Road. Or, you may recognize him as owner of the Boston Post Road office building.  Maybe you heard him speak at Town Meeting on behalf of the Economic Development Committee or watched him decide and preside over Finance Committee meetings.  You even may be working with him now on the one of the projects he started or on which he contributes time to help the community during the COVID-19 pandemic.  If you know Dave, you have seen, first-hand, his talents, abilities, and drive to get good results.  If you have not met him, yet, I am writing this letter to offer insight into this man’s true nature from the perspective of someone who has known him all fifty-four years his life. 

Dave is congenial, friendly and genuinely likes the people he meets.  He has a ready sense of humor and never takes himself too seriously.  He is slow to anger and quick to forgive.  He is a natural leader—decisive, inclusive and willing to share recognition for achievement.   Dave doesn’t ask for help very often and appreciates efforts on his behalf from others.  He has a deep respect for traditions and a reverence for observing them with friends, family and colleagues.  He is fun to be with and frequently inspirational. Brainstorming with Dave is energizing because he is skilled at explaining his vision for the desired results and potential solutions.  One of his most outstanding skills is his ability to use information and known processes to develop innovative and viable solutions that greatly improve the original.     

Dave is, famously, a workaholic.  When he has a fire in his belly, he devotes his waking hours (often twenty out of twenty-four) to get to his goal.  He sets high standards for work deliverables from team members, but has even higher expectations for himself.  He is patient and willing to work with others who need help getting there, but will not compromise on quality. 

Dave is reliable and accepts responsibility.  He makes it a point to have a clear understanding of what is required of him and always has ideas for exceeding expectations.  He does not see the cup as half empty or half-full, he sees it as his job to fill it.

Dave respects people and is sensitive to their needs and plights.  He grasps situations quickly and is willing to roll up his sleeves and help intellectually, physically and emotionally.  Dave doesn’t give up on relationships and he doesn’t give up on commitments.  He is a solid, down-to-earth man who gets great pleasure from sharing his talents for the benefit of others.  He will make superb contributions to Wayland as Selectman.

Please vote for Dave Watkins as Selectman.  You will make his mom happy.

Jacqueline Watkins, Forty Acres Drive

Vote Watkins for Selectman

TO THE EDITOR:

Recently the Board of Selectmen issued a Request for Proposals to buy land for a long-needed Community Center. Why? The agreement with Twenty Wayland for the “municipal pad” never got us the land we were promised.

Instead of taking the municipal pad by eminent domain, or using the land we own at 195 Main St., or following recommendations of the Wayland Real Asset Planning (WRAP) Committee, the selectmen voted a solution that will add more debt burden. It’s not in this year’s capital budget though – the “ask” comes in a fall Town Meeting according to the RFP. We don’t customarily vote to change the budget mid-year.

Dave Watkins would understand this is the wrong solution. Dave Watkins would understand how unlikely it is that a two-thirds majority will vote to buy land when we have suitable land. Dave Watkins understands that voting money at a fall town meeting disrupts the annual town meeting budget – and doesn’t allow the voters to decide among competing needs. Dave Watkins would have done a better job making the deal for the municipal pad.

Dave Watkins is a long-term planner – he would have seen this coming, and prevented us from getting into a last-minute deal under pressure that wastes our money. We can do better.

Please join me and make Dave Watkins your choice for selectman on June 9.

Mike Lowery, Lakeshore Drive

Need Watkins for Board of Selectmen

TO THE EDITOR:

I first met Dave Watkins in 2015, when working as a member of the Wayland Public Schools’ Technology Task Force.

I was immediately impressed by his straightforward manner, his logical approach to problem solving, his solid understanding of both Information Technology (IT) and Finance, and his interest in applying that knowledge to providing effective new tools for Wayland’s students and teachers.

Since Dave joined the Finance Committee, we have worked together on improving the effectiveness of proposed IT equipment acquisitions and on presenting the town’s financial status and annual plans in a comprehensive, yet easy-to-grasp format. His mastery of financial modeling yielded significant improvements, both in the quality of the proposed annual plans and in the ability of Waylanders to understand those plans.

During Dave’s tenure on the Finance Committee, the time required to approve the omnibus budget at annual Town Meeting has steadily decreased from nearly five hours in April 2014 to one hour in April 2019.

Wayland badly needs a multi-year, forward-looking financial plan that satisfies our needs for education and services in a sustainable manner. I know from direct personal experience that Dave has the knowledge, skills and temperament to accomplish this.

We need Dave Watkins on the Board of Selectmen now. I urge you to give him your vote on Tuesday, June 9.

Dave Bernstein, Glezen Lane

Watkins Needed on Board of Selectmen

TO THE EDITOR:

How fortunate for the residents of Wayland that Dave Watkins has announced his candidacy for the Board of Selectmen.

With the selectmen taking on more responsibility for financial planning, Dave’s skills can be a critical reality check. He researches every issue and comes prepared to meetings, often armed with thought-provoking charts and spreadsheets that show impacts years in the future.

Dave takes his commitments seriously. Very few folks, including my fellow Finance Committee members, are aware that shortly after Dave became FinCom chair, his obligations shifted, taking him away from Wayland for weeks at a time. On meeting days, he would fly into Wayland, chair the Finance Committee meeting, and then grab an Uber back to Logan to catch a midnight flight.

More than ever, Wayland needs an experienced businessman with financial control skills on the Board of Selectmen. Dave knows how to shape a long-term plan and level out peaks when many “needs” are presented at the same time.

Please join me and make Dave Watkins your choice for selectman on Tuesday, June 9.

Carol Martin, Lake Road

Note: Ms. Martin is chair of the Finance Committee but wrote this letter as a private resident.

Transition for Wayland

Letter to the Editor: 

You may have noticed that we are in a gripping economic period driven by the coronavirus.  The robust economy and our relished social engagement opportunities ended abruptly last winter.  We are now emerging into a different environment – one more dependent on technology and remote interaction and one requiring an understanding of that new environment. 

Wayland too is emerging into this new environment.  Perhaps we did not mind that over the last 10 years, taxes here increased 30%.  Perhaps our High School Class of 2010 believes our Class of 2020 is 30% smarter and knows 30% more.  Perhaps those who watched the Town Center project still believe its tagline -“Fits Our Town, Funds Our Future”.  Perhaps there are people who believe more commercial development raises tax revenue without increasing the Town’s costs.  But Wayland is not going to emerge like that. 

Even in the best of times, Wayland has not addressed the very difficult issues that we face such as:  Fully utilizing town-owned properties into a coordinated vision of assets;  Negotiating labor contracts that align employee benefits with those available in the private sector;  Engendering a cooperative spirit between Town Boards and volunteer groups that drives achievement;  Instituting local government efficiencies with more being done at lower costs – as happens continuously in the private sector.

The notion that more commercial development funds our future is a pipe dream, particularly with far fewer in-person events going forward.  The notion that picking capital projects to schedule only a few million dollars worth every year is myopic thinking.  It is not planning.  The notion that more powerful local government promotes efficiencies is belied by the enormous budget increase for the “Town Office” next year (up 69% since 2019, see Town Warrant page 31).

What we need on the Board of Selectmen is a new face who will thoughtfully and independently address the issues.  We need a person who represents a diversity of thought.  We need a voice that speaks to resolve the pressing items mentioned above that have not been addressed in years.  We need the experience of a leader who has a demonstrated ability to recognize real opportunities and to turn those into viable economics.  We need an individual who recognizes the positive strengths of Wayland and can fully capitalize on capabilities offered by new technologies.  

That person is Dave Watkins.  Look at the accomplishments on his website www.Watkins4Wayland.com.  Compare those accomplishments to those listed on the websites of the other candidates.   Focus on the real accomplishments – not the list of committees  “Served on…”.   Showing up is not an accomplishment.  Look at what the candidates have done to coordinate efforts in Town during the COVID-19 crisis. 

Put the government in the place of serving the public, not the other way around. 

Vote for Dave Watkins for Selectman for Wayland.  Put thoughtful diversity of opinion on the Board of Selectmen and be thankful that people of his caliber are willing to serve and address the substantial issues we have going forward. 

– Clifford Lewis, Claypit Hill Road.  Note, Clifford Lewis was Chair of the Wayland OPEB Advisory Committee is currently the Vice-Chair of the Wayland Board of Public Works. 

Watkins Is An Outstanding Choice

TO THE EDITOR:

          ‘Tis the season for letters to the editor promoting candidates for town offices. I would like to support Dave Watkins, a truly outstanding choice for Selectman. Dave is presently a member (and past chairman) of the Finance Committee and he has served the town very ably in a variety of other ways previously.  He also runs a very successful international software firm.

          The hallmark of his already extensive service to the town is his insistence on sound financial planning, and especially long-term financial planning, a trait he regularly exhibits in his extensive and fruitful preparation for public meetings. He obviously believes, to put it in the vernacular, that you should really know what you’re talking about.  It’s a characteristic to be encouraged, and Dave will bring it to the Board of Selectmen. He clearly spends considerable time and brings considerable intelligence to the analysis of both short term and long-term financial issues and alternatives before the town including the tax impacts of various proposals. This is manifest in the information he routinely gathers and presents in extensive charts and spreadsheets that allow the meaningful comparison of all alternative ways of proceeding, not just incidental commentary on some individual’s pet approach.

          The town will benefit from his fairly unique skills at weighing competing alternatives rationally over projected longer terms. As a Selectman, Dave will work to improve and control the town’s long-term capital budget and its five-year operating budget. He will also push to reestablish an information technology budget.  He uniquely has the demonstrated business acumen to do these things successfully (which is to say, for the real benefit of Wayland’s citizens).

          I encourage your readers to vote for data driven and well-reasoned experienced financial discipline on June 9; please vote for Dave Watkins as Selectman.

Ed Collins, Plain Road

Note: Mr. Collins is a former member of the Wayland Planning Board and the Wayland Board of Selectmen.

Watkins is most qualified for selectman

TO THE EDITOR:

When you vote in our Town Election on June 9, I strongly urge you to select Dave Watkins for the Wayland Board of Selectmen.

Dave earns my vote by the way in which he has conducted business and himself as a member and former chair of the Finance Committee. Dave is a most qualified candidate for the position of selectman.

Key issues are long-range planning and gaining control of rising taxes. These go together and Dave has been instrumental in working with his colleagues on the Finance Committee to plan for town operating and capital expenses in a logical and workable manner.

Dave thinks about issues and asks probing questions to get all the information on the table. This allows him to make informed, logical and consistent decisions about town matters.

I believe that Dave is the best candidate for our Select Board and that he can hit the ground running because he knows the ropes. Please join me by voting for Dave Watkins on June 9 and if you would like to know him better, visit his website (Watkins4Wayland.com).

Gretchen G. Schuler, Old Connecticut Path

Strongly Urge Vote for Watkins

TO THE EDITOR:

I endorse David Watkins for selectman.

I have known David for over a decade and have had the privilege to work with him in various capacities within our town government.

David is analytical and data driven in that I know that his decisions will always be made in the best interest of the citizens of our town.

He respects all of our citizens.

David is also an advocate for your voting privacy at town meeting by supporting electronic voting.

I was pleasantly surprised to see his decision to run for selectman this year. I strongly urge you to vote for David Watkins for selectman.

Alan Reiss, Old Connecticut Path

Note: Mr. Reiss is a former member of the Wayland Board of Selectmen and current member of the Electronic Voting Implementation Subcommittee.

Watkins is Excellent Candidate for Selectman

TO THE EDITOR:

Wayland residents have an exceptional candidate running to be on our Board of Selectmen – David Watkins.

David Watkins has ample experience with Wayland’s town government, having served six years on the Finance Committee (two years as chair) and three years on the Economic Development Committee.

Wayland voters are often asked to approve expensive capital improvement projects at town meetings. However, these projects are presented in the absence of a 10- or 20-year planning guide. In other words, voters are asked to make decisions without the context of upcoming costs for roof replacements or other needed repairs.

Perhaps it is not surprising that Wayland’s municipal taxes have increased by 30% in the past 10 years when inflation has increased by 19%. Approving projects in the absence of a long-term and coordinated plan has been expensive.

David Watkins has the experience and knowledge to help Wayland produce and adhere to a long-term plan, and he recognizes the dangers to our town’s Aaa bond rating if we do not take on this task.

Please join me in voting for David Watkins on Tuesday, June 9 for Board of Selectmen.

Judy Ling, Concord Road

Wayland Deserves Better…

TO THE EDITOR:

Better planning. Better control over taxes. Better transparency. Better technology. And now we have the opportunity to elect a better Selectman: Dave Watkins.

The other two candidates (Cherry Karlson and Bill Steinberg) have served on Wayland boards and committees during a 15+-year period of unbridled tax increases (we’re facing a nearly 5% tax increase in 2020); costly, avoidable lawsuits (including a million dollar settlement paid to the developer of the failing Wayland Town Center); and a revolving door of Town Administrators.

And in 2019, both actively sought to undermine our Conservation Commission’s mission and enforcement of Town and State wetlands protection laws/regulations by insisting that its longtime (now former) Chair “compromise” with real estate developers.

This year, we can help right Wayland’s course by electing Dave Watkins to the Board of Selectmen (BoS). A successful business leader/entrepreneur who built a $30 million software company headquartered in Wayland, Dave has worked collaboratively and tirelessly on our Finance Committee over the past six years to successfully maintain the Town’s Aaa Moody rating.

That experience has given him critical insights on ways to dramatically improve how Wayland is managed while at the same time supporting/strengthening what is best about our town: our outstanding schools and beautiful open spaces.

“Wayland does not have a process to anticipate needs and timing for expensive capital projects; systematize their priority; plan for how and when to fund those projects; and optimize funding alternatives,” says Dave (Watkins4Wayland.com).

“The absence of an organized approach,” Dave continues, “means that over the past 10 years our municipal taxes increased on average by 30% (and continue on that upward trajectory) while over the same period, total inflation in the US was only 19%.”

I am very excited about Dave’s candidacy. We have an opportunity to elect a leader with the vision, collaborative style, and proven business savvy to professionalize our Town’s leadership board. That’s why I will be voting for one BoS candidate on June 9: Dave Watkins.

– Susan Reed, Glezen Lane

Who’s Accountable? 

TO THE EDITOR:

Residents who lived in town 15 years ago will likely remember the “Don’t Mall Wayland” signs that sprung up when the “Town Center” project was proposed.             

The project, which was promoted with the tagline “Fits Our Town, Funds Our Future,” was approved by voters the second time it was brought to Town Meeting after intense lobbying by the developer, Selectmen, and other town proponents.

Residents looked forward to the promised “Mom and Pop” stores, gazebo on a public town green, municipal parcel for future use, restricted conservation land, and, of course, substantial tax relief derived from a new commercial tax base.

Fast forward 15 years to the current failing mall. Do the empty storefronts “Fit Our Town?” Does the tax revenue, particularly when additional taxpayer-funded town services are factored in, “Fund Our Future?”

Who’s accountable for the underperforming, oversized mall when its obsolescence was predictable?

Bill Steinberg chaired the Planning Board when the permit was approved. He was featured in a Boston Globe article when he refused to allow the Planning Board Associate member to sit at the table during Board deliberations to voice her opinions about the project.

And Cherry Karlson, a Selectman for the past 6 years, has been unsuccessful in delivering on the developer’s multiple, unmet promises, including the so-called “municipal parcel” still in private hands, and the “Town Green,” which never did belong to the town and sits atop a reserve septic field. It is critical moving forward that no additional tax dollars be used to prop up this privately owned “Town Center.”

We need a Selectman who will respect town volunteers and listen to diverse opinions. We need a Selectman with fresh ideas. And we need a Selectman with stellar, proven business acumen.

Please join me in voting for one candidate only: Dave Watkins for Selectman. (watkins4wayland.com)

– Stephen Greenbaum, Plain Road

Why I Support Dave Watkins

TO THE EDITOR:

I am writing this letter to explain why I am in full support of Dave Watkins, who is running for a seat on the Board of Selectman. He deserves your vote as well.

Dave’s quantitative skills and thoughtful, dispassionate manner will assure all sides that their concerns are considered. This is especially important to Wayland’s elderly residents, many of whom settled here, raised families here, served on town committees and boards here, and anticipated remaining forever in their community. Some now feel abandoned given tax increases voted to support school, recreation and “wish list” programs. These are frightening to folks on limited incomes.

With Dave on the Board of Selectmen, the concerns of these valued citizens will be honored with more than lip service. At the same time, he will push the selectmen toward a genuine, long-term plan, by which initiatives can be evaluated so as to understand the impact on town finances.

We need all citizens to be heard in this endeavor. Dave knows that and is eager to hear from you so that your concerns are considered at the selectmen’s table.

Rosamond Geller, Bayberry Lane

Why Wayland Needs Dave Watkins

TO THE EDITOR:

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Dave Watkins on both the Economic Development Committee and the Finance Committee (where he served as chairman for two years). He comes prepared to meetings, is an individual who listens to all views before making a decision and does his homework.

In addition to his civic work, Dave is a successful and pragmatic entrepreneur, who started and grew several businesses in Wayland.

Dave understands the need to balance the goals, desires and financial limitations of the Wayland taxpayers. He firmly believes that improved planning and the balancing of town resources with requested projects and priorities will improve the efficiency and cost effectiveness of town government.

He is keenly aware that without a strategic operating plan, it will not be possible to keep the growth of real estate taxes under control and avoid pitting interest groups against each other at town meeting.

Dave’s business and municipal finance background provide a unique mix of experience that would be valuable on the Board of Selectmen. The town faces a growing list of infrastructure needs which, when combined with new projects, require a sound financial plan to make them financially affordable. Allocating tax dollars years before the resources are available to perform the projects is not beneficial to the taxpayer.

In addition, someone with Dave’s background can ask the tough questions about town operations and potential additional non-taxpayer revenue to reduce taxation. Dave will listen respectfully as his analytical wheels churn through the effects and pitfalls of a proposal. He will ask why and think about less expensive alternatives.

Please join me on June 9 and vote Dave Watkins for selectman.

George Uveges, Willow Brook

Voting Only for Watkins for Selectman

TO THE EDITOR:

In the coming Wayland Board of Selectmen’s race, only David Watkins, a current member and former chair of the Finance Committee, can accomplish the following to help our town solve its serious financial problems:

1. Only Dave will work to slow the currently unsustainable rate of tax increases by using long-term strategic planning processes.

2. Only Dave will commit to maintain a 20-year Capital and a 5-year Operating Plan.

3. Only Dave will publish the results of an annual town-wide survey that will be used to identify and maintain needs from Wayland’s diverse residents.

4. Only Dave will identify and work to adopt standard evaluation criteria for determining needs across all departments and town functions.

5. Only Dave will make decisions using data analytics to support better governance, improve day-to-day operations and manage costs.

6. Only Dave will ensure the town will use professional negotiators when entering into multi-year contracts.

7. Only Dave will commit to having a 5-year Information Technology Plan.

Dave is one of those rare individuals who have actual hands-on business experience, deep knowledge of the financial underpinnings of the town, and a capability to employ data analytics to identify, quantify and solve complex municipal finance issues that beset the town.

I will be voting only for David Watkins for selectman at the Town Election on Tuesday, June 9.

George H. Harris, Holiday Road

Note: Mr. Harris is a former member of the Wayland Board of Selectmen.

Watkins Will Push to Get Wayland an Updated IT Plan

TO THE EDITOR:

Wayland’s Information Technology (IT) Department is currently spending money without an up-to-date three-year plan – this is dangerous. It makes it almost impossible to assure the IT Department spends its budget efficiently and wisely. It also leaves the town vulnerable to increasingly capable hackers who populate the internet.

Dave Watkins realized the lack of an IT plan was a problem in 2015. Back then, Dave pushed the town to hire RSM, an IT consulting firm, to evaluate the town’s IT infrastructure and support organization. That plan, which can still be found on the town’s IT website (https://www.wayland.ma.us/sites/waylandma/files/uploads/rapid_assessment_2015.pdf), laid out an excellent three-year IT plan for the town.

Unfortunately, the 2015 IT plan ran out in 2019 and has not been updated. It does not even mention ransomware, where malicious hackers encrypt a town’s data and demand a ransom to decrypt it.

A February 2020 article in NBCBoston.com estimates that 1 in 6 Massachusetts communities have been hit with ransomware attacks (www.nbcboston.com/investigations/1-in-6-massachusetts-communities-hit-by-ransomware-attacks/2076600).

Unless a town’s backups are disconnected from their IT networks, it’s vulnerable. Is all Wayland’s data protected by such backups? It’s not in the 2015 IT plan.

As someone who ran an IT consulting group with major corporate and government clients, I know from experience how costly and dangerous the lack of an IT plan can be for any organization. Without an updated plan, the town’s IT organization is flying blind on what equipment to buy and how well it can handle attacks on its network and servers from the increasingly dangerous hackers who populate the internet.

For example, there is really no way to know if the IT organization’s recent request to spend $228,000 on capital equipment will meet the town’s future needs.

As a member of the Board of Selectmen, Dave would insist on updated IT plans to assure that new equipment purchases or support staff allocations meet the town’s future needs.

John Sax, Willow Brook Drive

Supporting Watkins for Selectman

TO THE EDITOR:

Good news, Wayland residents!

Dave Watkins, a 26-year Wayland resident, six-year Wayland Finance Committee member including a term as chair, and successful founder of a Wayland-based software company with users in 150 countries, is running for the Board of Selectmen.

Dave would bring a commitment to long-range planning and thoughtful, financial management to the Board of Selectmen’s deliberations. As we know too well, without these, decisions are costly, often ending in ever increasing tax rates.        ·

As a business owner, Dave recognizes the essential role of long-range planning for our town’s financial stability. He has emphasized this during his Finance Committee tenure, but sees a real need to extend that to the Board of Selectmen.

He will bring thoughtful consideration of the short and long-term cost of projects sought by town departments and constituents in their pleas to the selectmen. Dave will clarify the impacts on the town’s ability to provide and sustain other critical programs. We need Dave’s voice at the table! Please join me in supporting Dave Watkins for selectman.

– Alice Boelter, Lake Shore Drive

Watkins is Only Choice for Selectman

TO THE EDITOR:

Concerned about your real estate taxes and the administration of our town? David Watkins is the only choice for selectman. He has the experience and leadership qualities to serve us well.

David is the only one to say he will work to slow and control our real estate taxes.

David is the only one committed to long-term planning for capital projects and all our town’s needs.

David is the only one willing to safeguard our high functioning boards.

The list goes on. Please go to Watkins4Wayland.com for more information.

David has and continues to serve our town in many ways.

David is the only candidate for selectman who will receive my vote. I want to be sure my vote really counts.

Please join me on June 9 by voting for David Watkins for selectman.

David M.Hill, Old Orchard Lane

A Needed Change

TO THE EDITOR:

Wayland very much needs a change in the membership of its Board of Selectmen. Dave Watkins will be a breath of fresh air and bring valuable planning capabilities to the board. He has vast knowledge of how the town works, gleaned from six years on the Finance Committee.

Dave recognizes the value of establishing far-sighted planning and evaluating efforts on their merits rather than the current practices, which largely react to suddenly appearing needs and wants.

The current team and friends look at each “want” one at a time, and lack the rigor of prioritized sequencing to fit projects into a long-term plan that would control debt costs.

This town needs transparency, with information readily available on the website. Currently, the Board of Selectmen office staff is overwhelmed responding to requests for information, so much so that the current plan calls for staff expansion. Why not post documents such as employee contracts, correspondence from residents, and police reports as was done in the past? Why not post information from committees without staff, such as the Finance Committee?

This town needs smart decision-making to achieve goals. Dave has built and run a major corporation so he knows how to do a deep dive into analysis when needed but also knows how to allocate resources in a cost effective, productive manner.

Please join me in voting for Dave Watkins for selectman.

Molly Upton, Bayfield Road

Better planning. Better control over taxes. Better transparency. Better technology. And now we have the opportunity to elect a better selectman – Dave Watkins.

TO THE EDITOR:

The other two candidates (Cherry Karlson and Bill Steinberg) have served on Wayland boards and committees during a 15-plus-year period of unbridled tax increases (we’re facing a nearly 5% tax increase in 2020); costly, avoidable lawsuits (including a nearly million dollar settlement paid to the developer of the failing Wayland Town Center); and a revolving door of town administrators.

And in 2019, both actively sought to undermine our Conservation Commission’s mission and enforcement of town and state wetlands protection laws/regulations by insisting that its longtime (now former) chair “compromise” with real estate developers.

This year, we can help right Wayland’s course by electing Dave Watkins to the Board of Selectmen. A successful business leader/entrepreneur who built a $30 million software company headquartered in Wayland, Dave has worked collaboratively and tirelessly on our Finance Committee over the past six years to successfully maintain the town’s Aaa Moody rating.

That experience has given him critical insights on ways to dramatically improve how Wayland is managed while at the same time supporting and strengthening what is best about our town – our outstanding schools and beautiful open spaces.

“Wayland does not have a process to anticipate needs and timing for expensive capital projects; systematize their priority; plan for how and when to fund those projects; and optimize funding alternatives,” says Dave (Watkins4Wayland.com).

“The absence of an organized approach,” Dave continues, “means that over the past 10 years our municipal taxes increased on average by 30% (and continue on that upward trajectory) while over the same period, total inflation in the U.S. was only 19%.”

I am very excited about Dave’s candidacy. We have an opportunity to elect a leader with the vision, collaborative style and proven business savvy to professionalize our town’s leadership board. That’s why I will be voting for one selectman candidate on June 9 – Dave Watkins.

Susan Reed, Glezen Lane

Watkins would bring valued expertise to board

TO THE EDITOR:

I am writing to ask the voters of Wayland to vote for Dave Watkins for selectman in the upcoming Town Election.

Mr. Watkins has provided outstanding service to Wayland in his past terms on the Finance Committee and Economic Development Committee.

As chairman of the Finance Committee, he was primarily responsible for a detailed financial analysis of the long-term impact of current town spending. He will bring valued expertise to the Board of Selectmen and be key to improved financial management as the town faces critical spending issues.

Frank and Regina Kennedy, Old Sudbury Road

Please vote only for Dave Watkins

TO THE EDITOR:

Residents who lived in town 15 years ago will likely remember the “Don’t Mall Wayland” signs that sprung up when the Town Center project was proposed.

The project, which was promoted with the tagline “Fits Our Town, Funds Our Future,” was approved by voters the second time it was brought to Town Meeting after intense lobbying by the developer, Board of Selectmen and other town proponents.

Residents looked forward to the promised “Mom and Pop” stores, gazebo on a public town green, municipal parcel for future use, restricted conservation land, and, of course, substantial tax relief derived from a new commercial tax base.

Fast forward 15 years to the current failing mall. Do the empty storefronts “Fit Our Town?” Does the tax revenue, particularly when additional taxpayer-funded town services are factored in, “Fund Our Future”?

Who’s accountable for the underperforming, oversized mall when its obsolescence was predictable?

Bill Steinberg chaired the Planning Board when the permit was approved. He was featured in a Boston Globe article when he refused to allow the Planning Board associate member to sit at the table during board deliberations to voice her opinions about the project.

And Cherry Karlson, a selectman for the past six years, has been unsuccessful in delivering on the developer’s multiple unmet promises, including the so-called “municipal parcel” still in private hands, and the “town green,” which never did belong to the town and sits atop a reserve septic field. It is critical moving forward that no additional tax dollars be used to prop up this privately owned Town Center.

We need a selectman who will respect town volunteers and listen to diverse opinions. We need a selectman with fresh ideas. And we need a selectman with a stellar, proven business acumen.

Please join me in voting for one candidate only – Dave Watkins for selectman (watkins4wayland.com).

Stephen Greenbaum, Plain Road

Voting for Watkins for selectman

TO THE EDITOR:

Wayland’s Town Election will be held on Tuesday, June 9. Please help reduce the number of polling station volunteers required for June 9 and help lower COVID-19 infections by using one of the two new voting methods — in-person absentee voting or early voting by mail. Both methods require each voter to fill out an application, which you can either download from the town’s website or call the Town Clerk’s Office at 508-358-3630 to get an application mailed to you.

In-person absentee voting: Fill out the application and bring it with you when you go to the Town Building to vote. You can vote at specified times or schedule a time with the Town Clerk. Specified times are listed on the town’s website. Fear of contracting COVID-19 is a valid disability for an absentee ballot.

Early voting by mail: After you fill out the application, mail it to the Town Clerk’s Office. The Town Clerk will then mail you the ballot. You then make your selections and mail the completed ballot back to the Town Clerk’s Office. Please note that the completed ballot must be received by June 9 to be counted.

If you are wondering if anything important is on our town ballot this year, there are three people running for two Board of Selectmen seats. My vote will be going to David Watkins. David Watkins served six years on the Finance Committee (two years as chair) and three years on the Economic Development Committee. For more information on David Watkins visit his website at Watkins4Wayland.com.

Judy Ling, Concord Road

Watkins is most qualified candidate for selectman

TO THE EDITOR:

David Watkins is the most qualified candidate for selectman as our town and country struggle to defeat the COVID-19 virus.

Wayland residents are being financially harmed by the current pandemic, and it will take years for many to recover. While our selectmen cannot find residents jobs or refill their depleted savings, they can make sure the town implements an austere budget that does not add to our residents’ financial hardships. This means the town must limit expensive new initiatives, especially “nice to have”s, whose implementation does not improve the quality of our children’s education or materially enhance the quality of our residents’ lives. It may even be necessary to reorganize or eliminate some existing town-sponsored programs to free up funds for the fight against COVID-19.

David Watkins’ experience on Wayland’s Finance Committee and his understanding of the town’s many and diverse stakeholders will be invaluable as the town works to make unusually hard choices. Good but difficult choices require good leadership and I believe David will provide this leadership during our time of crisis.

I am voting for David Watkins for selectman and encourage all of Wayland’s residents to do the same.

Steven P. Klitgord, Concord Road

Vote only for Dave Watkins for selectman

TO THE EDITOR:

I am writing to support Dave Watkins for Wayland Board of Selectmen. Dave has spent six years on the Wayland Finance Committee, helping to plan for the future and find savings for the present. Lately his efforts have helped volunteers reach out to the many seniors in Wayland stuck at home during social distancing.

Dave’s website (Watkins4Wayland.com) identifies 10 primary issues where he can help, the same issues I have seen in Wayland over the past 40 years of living here. The website is a great example of Dave’s use of technology to deliver help and information.

Dave has the vision to really plan and set concrete goals to avoid the present unsustainable trajectory over the past 10 years of 30% increase in property taxes while the inflation rate during the same time was 19%.

Please join me in voting for Dave Watkins for Board of Selectman, and only Dave because he is the only candidate able to move us away from the years of no planning, overspending and over-taxing to better times ahead. Thank you.

Tom Maglione, Rice Road

Please vote for Dave Watkins

TO THE EDITOR:

I urge you to vote for Dave Watkins for Board of Selectmen. Wayland is mid-overhaul in the upgrade of its municipal organization into the information age. Dave has the business skills and technical understanding of the hardware infrastructure behind electronic platforms and of the applications of social media that Wayland needs to get it right. He has demonstrated ability in effectively managing groups with conflicting interests to a common goal.

As Finance Committee chair, he was instrumental in the creation of Wayland’s finance model. The still evolving model provides an effective measure of current conditions across town accounts. Town leadership now has the means to adjust financial plans and project goals with both one- to two-year and 20-plus year time frames in response to projections.

The transparent model also gives residents a window on to whether the goals of the town’s master plan are “sitting on a shelf” or built into the budget process. FinCom work documents were made publicly available before meetings to residents as they were developed, not after the meetings or acquired after the fact by public information requests. Ideas from residents and committee members were incorporated while plans were in progress.

Smart policies are valuable, but more so are expectations that create an organization’s culture. Dave takes public service and inclusion to heart. Please vote Dave Watkins to the Board of Selectmen.

Carole Plumb, Bald Rock Road

Wayland Needs Watkins

TO THE EDITOR:

Especially in this time of financial crisis, and as the Selectmen seek to assume a larger role in Wayland’s budgeting policies, we need Dave Watkins’ experience to keep our priorities straight, our AAA bond rating intact, and our taxes affordable – especially for our seniors and the increasing number of residents who now are struggling to pay their bills.

Having had the privilege of serving on the Finance Committee with Dave, I can attest to his ability to act decisively, and to listen and communicate effectively. He possesses an exceptional ability both to quickly grasp the core of a critical issue, as well as to assess its possible future implications.

Dave’s capable leadership of the FinCom, and his success in building several businesses here in town help to inform his proposal that Wayland’s financial future depends on a well-developed and thoughtfully-executed strategic plan.

I urge you to vote for Dave Watkins for Selectman. Stay safe, stay home, and vote early! Or protect yourself and go to the polls on June 9.

Gil Wolin, West Plain Street. Gil Wolin is a former member of the Finance Committee

Thank you, Dave Watkins!

TO THE EDITOR:

With the COVID-19 crisis, Wayland citizens joined together to procure much-needed PPE’s for our neighbors who work in hospitals and health care facilities in the area including cloth masks and scrub caps. As requests for help came pouring in, it became clear the Wayland Sewing Support Group Facebook Page needed a better way to communicate with those in need and those who could help. We never anticipated such an overwhelming demand for our services.

A few weeks ago, I was talking with Dave Watkins about his volunteer initiative that can be found on Wayland.info; the conversation turned toward our sewing initiative. He asked two questions. “What are the groups needs?” and “What can I do to help?” I described the challenges of trying to keep up with all of the messages flowing through our Facebook page. I also I told him many sewers were buying fabric and materials out of pocket. He listened attentively to my concerns and offered his help. He said we could address the issues easily and if we were going to be able to see our efforts through the duration of the crisis, we would need others to help us out. He offered to create a website for us.

Over the course of two weeks, Dave took time from his busy schedule to work out our needs and our goals. I provided him input from those who are central to this group and he went straight to work. He took our input, made suggestions, and took our input again. As we worked through the process, I was impressed by his excellent listening and analytical skills. He takes information gleaned from our conversations, analyzes needs and goals, and forces the focus forward, looking at the long term and he did it all with grace and respect. Together, we put together Waylandsews.com to address multiple needs that 1) increased our reach beyond Facebook to more members of the community, 2) invited others to join us either by purchasing needed sewing materials or joining our sewing team, 3) allows medical professionals and front-line workers to request masks and scrub caps for their facilities in a more efficient manner, and 4) connect people looking for masks with people who are sewing masks for the general population.

I find it fitting to see Dave’s smiling face on those life-sized signs that have sprung up in town as well as the ubiquitous lawn signs. This guy is everywhere and has already helped our town so much, from his work on FinComm to Wayland.info, to helping our sewing group run more efficiently.  I am amazed by his ability to analyze needs and leverage the talents of the people of our town. As our little town faces the Covid crisis, Dave works nonstop, uniting friends and neighbors, and creating connections that help us get through this difficult time.

Thank you Dave!

You are a true leader. We are so fortunate that you and your family chose to Make Wayland your hometown!

— Sheila Carel, Joyce Road

Vote for Watkins for Board of Selectmen

TO THE EDITOR:

I support David Watkins for many reasons. His experience and letters of support at watkins4wayland.com detail why he is the most qualified candidate. If you have not looked at these letters, please do so.

Dave is an experienced independent thinker. He listens, he collaborates, he loves problem-solving, and most importantly, he has an open mind. He has outstanding analytical skills for problem analysis and taking action. He sees emerging problems, and he looks into the future.

Dave will support spending on capital projects, not as they come before the selectmen, but as part of long-term planning for all capital projects. Dave understands prioritization — so we, the taxpayers, can decide what to support for future funding and when it fits in a plan. He will be demanding not only for long-term capital planning but also for the expenditures proposed for a current budget year. He appreciates the limited financial capacities of our retired homeowners as well as the need for town expenditures to maintain Wayland as a highly desirable western suburb.

We need selectmen who can intelligently balance the needs of these different constituencies. This includes keeping our real estate taxes competitive with surrounding towns and curtailing the rapid tax increases we have experienced over the past several years.

Dave is a person of high integrity. Too often our selectmen have run afoul of the Open Meeting Law. Dave will bring discipline to the Board of Selectmen to comply with this law.

The Board of Selectmen needs a practical visionary — and that is Dave Watkins.

Robert Goldsmith, Concord Road

Why I’m voting for Dave Watkins

TO THE EDITOR:

Dave Watkins is an entrepreneur, having co-founded a $30 million software company based right here in Wayland.

Beyond just being a businessman, being an entrepreneur implies a host of characteristics that will make Dave an outstanding Wayland selectman.

First, he is goal driven, to the point of obsession. No one can successfully start a company, as Dave has done, by being casual about it. It’s not a 9 to 5 job, it’s a 24/7 job, requiring enormous energy. He has shown that drive in his work on the Finance Committee. We certainly need more of that on the Board of Selectmen.

Second, he knows how to set priorities. No startup has unlimited resources. Choices have to be made not just on budgets but on market opportunities, types of employees to hire, facilities, and most importantly, time allocation. Making choices is what management is all about, but for the entrepreneur the range of possible choices becomes vast. Yet, to succeed, those choices must be made. We certainly need more of that on the Board of Selectmen.

Third, he accepts absolute responsibility for results. In government, or even in large corporations, failure can be dealt with by convincing voters or corporate managers that it really wasn’t your fault, or wasn’t really so bad, or something. In a startup, if you fail, you fail. Period. We certainly need more of that on the Board of Selectmen. Who has admitted responsibility for the failed Town Center project, for example?

Fourth, he is creative. Particularly for a technology startup like Dave’s, creative problem solving is fundamental. That applies both to the product and to running the organization. We certainly need more of that on the Board of Selectmen.

Fifth, he is proactive. No one can start a technology company without having the self-motivation to achieve ahead of the crowd and ahead of the curve. Anticipating problems, and treating them as opportunities, is inherent in being an entrepreneur. We certainly need more of that on the Board of Selectmen.

We need much more of these qualities on the Board of Selectmen. We need priorities set between competing goods, not a philosophy of trying to make everyone happy. We need real acceptance of responsibility. And we especially need innovation in how the town is organized and run.

That’s why I am voting for Dave Watkins for selectman.

Tom Sciacca, Rolling Lane

Please support Watkins for selectman

TO THE EDITOR:

Please join me in supporting Dave Watkins for selectman.

Throughout the many years Dave has served our town, he has consistently demonstrated a strong work ethic that guides him as he addresses needs in our community. I first noticed Dave’s approach when he took his place on the Economic Development Committee. He applies this same approach to the Finance Committee, where he has served for multiple years. He recognizes a need, sets out a plan, and sees it through. Dave approaches each issue in an organized, thorough manner. He listens, but also does his own research. He prepares and he focuses on the long term. He supports the best interests for our community and consistently delivers.

I am thankful Dave stepped up to fill a void in our town as the pandemic crashed down upon our world. Dave’s ability to organize and focus was never more visible than during the current crisis. Seeing no formal infrastructure to contact the town’s nearly 4,000 seniors to ensure they were safe and aware of available resources during COVID-19, he set one up, linking neighbors with neighbors. That’s the type of vision and action we need to lead Wayland into the future.

Dave has also had the foresight to help us navigate the elections during this difficult time, no matter how you are voting. If you are looking for direction on early voting, Dave’s website outlines the process by which you can cast your vote without having to go in person to the polls on Election Day. It also provides links for obtaining absentee or early voting ballots.

Once again, Dave has found a way to address a critical need so that all who wish to exercise their right to vote can be heard.

On or before June 9, please join me in supporting Dave Watkins (watkins4wayland.com).

Alexia Obar, Dean Road

Watkins supports electronic voting

TO THE EDITOR:

Bill Steinberg opposes the use of electronic voting in Wayland’s town meeting.

I introduced electronic voting to Wayland’s town meeting as Article 22 in April 2010. Since that point in time, Wayland has used electronic keypad voting at every one of its town meetings. That’s 10 years — every town meeting and every vote at town meeting.

After that point I joined the moderator’s Electronic Voting Implementation Subcommittee (ELVIS), along with others who have come to play a large role in helping to implement electronic voting. Electronic voting was introduced for the purpose of solving three of the largest problems that town meeting had.

Votes were not private. People felt intimidated to stand up and be publicly counted or shout out and be publicly heard or raise their hands and be publicly seen. Privacy was lost with the antiquated methods of counting votes. If we are to have a better democracy at town meeting, then people must be free to vote with their hearts, their minds and wallets. Electronic voting provided that privacy.

Standing counted votes were horrendous, time consuming and privacy exposing. People told us they stayed away from town meeting because of the time and logistics of standing and being counted. Electronic voting does not divide the audience into “yea” and “nay.” It counts silently, privately and simultaneously, and the level of tension and anxiety within the audience disappears. We spend much less time voting and more time debating, which is what town meeting was meant for.

Votes were inaccurate. Borrowing and zoning require that votes pass with a two-thirds margin. How do you guarantee accuracy when you are listening to shouts of loudness based on distance from the moderator? The most accurate method we had was the horrendous standing counted vote.

Electronic voting eliminated the standing counted vote. It made all votes computer accurate. It made all votes private. It fixed a large part of our town’s legislative system. There is a dollar cost to doing it, but the vast majority of town meeting has weighed those costs and had consistently voted to keep electronic voting.

Bill Steinberg has opposed electronic voting at town meeting both privately and publicly. He does not see the benefits of voting this way and he will continue to argue against its usage.

Dave Watkins is a supporter of electronic voting. For these reasons, I cannot support Bill Steinberg for election to the Board of Selectmen.

Alan Reiss, Old Connecticut Path