Haarde: Honored to Serve Another 3 Years as Selectman
Bob Haarde, who is running unopposed, reflects on his first term and discusses how to solve issues in the next year.
When Bob Haarde was elected to Sudbury's Board of Selectmen three years ago, it was a tight race as he defeated incumbent William Keller, Jr., by a mere 37 votes (there were also 45 blanks).
This year, Haarde doesn't have to worry about another close election since he's running unopposed.
"I'm glad to serve Sudbury, and honored I’m running unopposed and will serve another three years," he recently said. "I enjoy serving the people."
With no race for his seat this year in the March 25 Annual Town Election, Sudbury Patch caught up with the soon-to-be second-term selectman to ask his opinions on his first term and what he might expect in his second.
SP: Were you surprised to learn you would run unopposed?
I was a little surprised. I thought there would be opposition. The prior two elections, there have been seven or eight who pulled papers. There are people who want to run. Perhaps because I’ve only been on the board for three years, they’d rather run against (John Drobinski and Larry O'Brien) because they’ve been there longer.
SP: What have you learned over the past three years?
BH: I’ve learned there is a lot of embedded resistance to change and transparency. I was a little surprised how strong the resistance was. I don’t see how (increasing the board from) 3 to 5 couldn’t help. In general, people feel represented if they have a friend or someone they know they can go to. Having five in that position will increase representation, more people will feel they are represented, and they’ll be able to ask for help or advice. It will help our town come closer together.
SP: Looking back on your first term, is there anything you would do differently?
BH: I regret how the chairmanship turned out, but I would’nt have done anything differently. I was told twice "this is how it goes." I’m not sure I’d do anything differently. Maybe be a little less naive over the situation.
SP: What is the biggest challenge Sudbury will face in the next year and how will you try to solve it?
BH: Funding excellent schools and services is always a challenge in this type of economy. We need to be open to new ideas and be completely transparent, we need to get as much feedback and help as we can to fund these schools and town services. It's too easy to ask for an override. It’s risky. If it doesn’t pass then you have to cut services, and that should be a last resort.
SP: What do you hope to accomplish in your next three years?
BH: Fiscal transparency. We've got a lot of capital projects that need funding, and in order to win support we need to be transparent with the taxpayers who fund and approve them.
Inclusion ... I want to welcome people with new ideas. We should be accepting opinions, allowing everyone to have their say, agree to disagree and leave the table as friends. I hope to achieve that this term.
I'd also like to meet our 40B quota, get the town on a sustainable path for funding excellent town services and schools for the long term.