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Town Hall's new deputy to 'ride' into Town Meeting

Sandy PoolerSandy Pooler seeks solid financial management, fiscal transparency.

Arlington's new deputy town manager plans to start work Monday, Jan. 25, the same night as the Special Town Meeting.

The 11 p.m. end to the first workday for Sanford Pooler has an upside: He won't have so far to drive home.

The 59-year-old lives in Somerville, and he is leaving the position of finance director for the Town of Amherst, in western Massachusetts, which he has held since 2011.

Apart from the commute, Pooler was asked why he wants to serve Arlington. He ticked off three reasons:

"I know Arlington is a well-run community, and I value its commitment to solid financial management and fiscal transparency," he wrote in an email Jan. 7.

Then two personal connections: "I have known Adam Chapdelaine for many years and like and admire him. Working for a good boss and with good colleagues has always been a priority for me."

Last, "I have known Al Tosti even longer and know the Finance Committee is committed to the highest standards of fiscal policy." Pooler is referring to the Fincom's longtime chairman whose connection to fiscal issues in town goes back four decades.

 Cites limits of Prop. 2 1/2

Pooler fills the No. 2 Town Hall job left vacant after Andrew P. Flanagan was chosen manager of Andover, in August. Flanagan had held the Arlington job since April 2012 and remained at Town Hall until his contract in Andover was negotiated. 

Asked what chief obstacles he sees Arlington facing in the next five years, he responded: "Like any town, Arlington has to struggle with the limits of Proposition 2 1/2. It is highly dependent on property taxes for its revenue, and those taxes often do not raise enough under Prop. 2 1/2 to meet the expenses for the first-rate services people expect.

"In addition to operating-budget challenges, the town has several key capital needs, the largest of which is an aging high school."

Word from the Beacon Hill agency involved about whether the high school will get the state funds it needs to rebuild is expected to come at a meeting two days after Pooler starts work.

Asked how he believes his experience will help serve town residents as well as address issues the town confronts, he wrote: "I have been privileged to work in two dynamic and fiscally sound communities, Newton and Amherst, and to have learned both the fundamentals of municipal finance as well as some of the best practices communities in this state employ to run efficiently, provide top-notch customer service and empower staff to create innovative solutions."

He added a personal commitment: "to open and transparent budgeting and financial records.

"I believe the best way to solve a problem is to bring together people around a table and ensure they are communicating with one another.

"Finally, I believe an important part of serving in government is explaining what their government does to the townspeople who pay for and receive its services. I enjoy translating complex financial issues into clear explanations that allow voters and the public in general to understand the workings of their local government."

In December, Caryn Cove Malloy, director of human resources, said 85 applied to be deputy town manager, and nine were interviewed.

Pooler's annual salary is $120,000.
When Chapdelaine announced the appointment Nov. 12, he said that Pooler has served as both chief budget officer and chief administrative officer in Newton. The same day, MassLive reported he was leaving Amherst

"Sandy brings with him a depth of municipal and governmental experience and also a professional style and manner that will serve Arlington well," Chapdelaine wrote.

Read Pooler's full background, as reflected in his resume.

Resume

TOWN OF AMHERST, Amherst, Finance Director, 2011-2016

• Prepare annual operating budget, Capital Improvement Plan, revenue and expenditure forecasts, and debt offering statements (Bond rating upgraded to Aa+ in 2014)

• Staff to Finance and Joint Capital Planning Committees.

• Oversee Accounting, Assessing, Treasurer/Collector’s, and Information Technology Departments.

o Assist Town Manger with special projects, for example: Solar facility at landfills (contract and legal issues); Afterschool program (budget and management issues to bring under Town control); Wildwood Elementary School Building Committee.

CITY OF NEWTON, Newton, Chief Administrative Officer, 2006-2009

• Oversaw and directed the day-to-day operations of 20 city departments. Managed and directed the activities of professionals across diverse departments.

• Supervised the activities of the Chief Budget Officer and formulated municipal fiscal policy.

• Represented the Mayor at meetings with the Board of Aldermen, community groups, municipal, state, and federal agencies and the press.

• Major recent accomplishments:

o Negotiated an ambulance contract to provide enhanced service at zero cost to the City.

o Initiated a program to convert large city and school buildings from heating oil to natural gas heat, saving over $1 million per year in heating costs and increasing energy efficiency.

o Negotiated a Project Funding Agreement with the State to secure $46.5 million in construction funding for Newton North High School.

o Worked with the Department of Public Works to implement new automated trash and single-stream recycling programs that saved $7.5 million over five years.

CITY OF NEWTON, Newton, Chief Budget Officer, 1998-2005

• Prepared annual operating budget, capital improvement plan, and revenue and expenditure forecasts.

o Annually produced balanced budgets and had them adopted on time, every year.

o Maintained the City’s Aaa bond rating from Moody’s Investor Service.

o Delivered two state-of-the-art high schools through innovative financing plan and without a tax override or operating budget cuts.

MASSACHUSETTS HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, Boston, Staff Director, Committee on State Administration, 1989-1997

• Oversaw legislative and constituent service staff.

• Drafted legislation, speeches, and position papers for Rep. David B. Cohen.

• Organized, scheduled, and coordinated committee hearings.

Committee Counsel

• Counsel to Bills in Third Reading; Banks and Banking; and Science and Technology committees.

• Staff Counsel to Rep. David B. Cohen during his term as Assistant Vice-Chair of the Committee on Ways and Means.

• Reviewed and drafted legislation, testimony, and speeches.

• Organized, scheduled, and coordinated committee hearings.

HONORABLE ALBERT LEE STEPHENS JR., Los Angeles, Law Clerk to Federal District Court Judge sitting by designation on the 9th Circuit, 1988-1989

• Researched and drafted appellate opinions.

MASSACHUSETTS PUBLIC INTEREST RESEARCH GROUP & FUND FOR PUBLIC INTEREST RESEARCH, co-coordinator, Public Interest Lobby, Boston, MA & Nationwide, 1980-1985

• Organized MASSPIRG members in a grassroots lobbying program around environmental issues.

Director, Telephone Solicitation Project

• Created and directed telephone fund-raising project.

National Director, Canvass Program

• Developed and directed door to door canvass for MASSPIRG and PIRGs in 10 states.

Education

HARVARD UNIVERSITY, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Master in Public Administration, June 1998

UNIVERSITY of CALIFORNIA at LOS ANGELES SCHOOL of LAW, Juris Doctor, June 1988, Order of the Coif (Top 10% of class)

DARTMOUTH COLLEGE, A.B. with distinction in history, 1979

Additional Information

• California and Massachusetts Bars, admitted 1988 to present.

• Massachusetts Government Finance Officers Association, Board member 2004 to 2009, President, 2007-08.

• Massachusetts Municipal Managers Association, Member.


Aug. 16, 2015: Andover chooses deputy town manager for top job


This report was published Tuesday, Jan. 19, 2016.

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