Select Board Candidates Carroll and O’Brien Reveal their Ideas On Town Governance during Zoom Forum

February 3, 2022

The two candidates for Select Board who are not current office-holders say that town government isn’t listening to all residents, and if elected they will fix that.

“I know for a fact,” said Dan Carroll, after talking with hundreds of people and all municipal department heads, that “unequivocally there is a need for someone to proactively go out and engage with the community aggressively.”

Ron O’Brien added, “I hear an undercurrent of folks who feel their opinions aren’t being heard by many of the boards. It’s incredibly important that government be accessible to all citizens.”

Carroll and O’Brien are next-door neighbors in West Bedford. Last week they sponsored a Zoom campaign meeting along with two other hopefuls, Kelly Horton for School Committee and Alison O’Connell for Board of Health.

O’Brien opened the proceedings explaining that the four candidates for three boards “may not agree on everything, but we have many things in common. One thing that unites us is ‘Better Together.’ Bedford is better together. Bedford has great people of all viewpoints; we should embrace our differences. It’s okay to disagree to have discussions and share ideas.”

There were as many as 88 devices tuned in to the one-hour session, including several other candidates. The others running for Select Board, incumbent Emily Mitchell and Shawn Hanegan, Planning Board chair, did not attend.

Asked to identify how he would make a difference on the board, O’Brien said that his career as a civil engineer and facilities manager would “bring a little more technical acumen to the board.” He said he has “working knowledge of managing infrastructure and staff to get the best value.”

Carroll emphasized his listening skills, “but I won’t appease you for its own sake.” He said his “positive, optimistic attitude” helped coalesce a diverse population in his neighborhood. “People are not being heard,” Carroll said, including businesses. “I’m not going to wait for my phone to ring.”

Asked about relations with Hanscom Field, both candidates referenced the Air Force. Also, Carroll said that to address noise complaints, he would arrange to meet with pilots. “That’s exactly what we need right now – we need to have conversations and still get along.”

In answer to a question about a successor to the retiring chief of police, Carroll said the highest priority is to have a strong interim chief. “I would go out to the Police Department and ask for their direct input on who should step in,” he said. “Make sure the voices are heard.” The department is understaffed, with “156 years of institutional knowledge” lost over the past several months with retirements, he noted.

O’Brien called for engaging with residents to help identify the qualities sought. In answer to a resident’s comment, he stated that “housing diversity is super important in Bedford.”

O’Brien noted his service as a member of the Conservation Commission, as well as volunteer work in youth sports and Bedford Santa. He called Bedford a “well-managed, financially-healthy town” and said he will be a “faithful steward of Bedford’s prudent fiscal strategy.” He promised to “carry on our legacy as a community-based town” and stressed, “I wholeheartedly believe in restoring the voices of Bedford citizens to government.”

Carroll outlined his background as a native of Bedford and in business, noting that he was the first local resident to work as a public safety civilian dispatcher for the town. Carroll said he later “launched a startup with a couple of other gentlemen six years ago,” and chose to locate one of the satellite offices in Bedford. He mentioned his record as a volunteer youth sports coach, organizer of last year’s townwide cleanup, and charitable fundraising. A replacement fire station, he said, would be “very near and dear to my heart.

Mike Rosenberg can be reached at [email protected], or 781-983-1763

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Dan Carroll
February 5, 2022 8:37 am

To clarify my comment regarding the 150+ years of institutional knowledge being lost at the Bedford Police Department……I did not say we lost that amount of experience over the last several months – because we didn’t. I actually stated that since Sgt Wardwell’s retirement several months ago, along with the Police Chiefs retirement being announced, and three more senior officers leaving in the upcoming months (one has since left) we will have lost 150+ years of institutional knowledge within an approximate 6 month window.

I’m making this correction, as I would like to remain factual with that statement.

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