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Medford Gains with Burke at Helm

Ken Krause

Mystic Street, Medford

October 31, 2019

Being Mayor of Medford is like being the CEO of a $183 million public company, with hundreds of employees and tens of thousands of engaged, demanding, and often impatient and unforgiving shareholders. Two skills vital the CEO’s success are the ability to attract, hire, and retain excellent leaders, and to grow the organization in a fiscally prudent manner.

As a 20-year City of Medford shareholder, I have been most impressed with Mayor Stephanie Muccini Burke’s aptitude in these two areas. Her prior experience and expertise from working in the financial sector and as the city’s Budget and Personnel Director have been evident and paid notable dividends.

Since taking office in January 2016, Mayor Burke has hired an array of exemplary people in key leadership positions, including:

  • Superintendent of Schools and Assistant Superintendent
  • Police Chief and Veterans Services Director
  • Director of Diversity and Inclusion and Community Preservation Act Coordinator
  • Recreation Director (new department) and Library Director (internal promotion)
  • Finance Director, City Assessor, Treasurer/Collector, and Procurement Officer
  • City Engineer and Traffic Engineer (new position)
  • Director of Public Health and a Recovery Coach (new position)
  • Business and Cultural Affairs Liaison (new position)

And in fiscal year 2020, two important and much needed staff positions are being added: Facilities and Energy Manager, and Grant Writer. Both will be instrumental contributors to the second crucial area of focus: fiscal prudence. The Facilities and Energy Manager will save the city unnecessary and wasteful expenses by establishing and overseeing maintenance at city buildings, as well as identifying ways to improve energy efficiency and reduce utility costs. The Grant Writer will identify and pursue funds that will supplement the regular city revenue stream and reduce the cost to taxpayers on a wide range of projects.

Medford is in a very strong financial condition, operating on a balanced budget and seeing its outstanding debt reduced by 20% under Mayor Burke. Further, it has the lowest percentage of its budget dedicated to debt service (4.11%) than any of its neighbors; Everett is at 6.33%, Stoneham, 6.41%, Arlington 7.55%, Somerville 8.26%, Winchester 10.95%, and Malden 12.13%.

Solid finances helped the city receive an improved bond rating (AA+) this year from debt-rating agency Standard & Poor’s, allowing Medford to command low interest rates on the money it borrows (for example, 2.867% for the new police headquarters).

The police station is one of several long-stalled projects jump-started by Mayor Burke, along with a new public library (more than one-third of which will be paid for by a $12.4 million grant), and the start of planning and design for a new fire headquarters.

Another significant fiscal move was retaining the company Bill Blumenreich Presents to operate Chevalier Theatre at no cost and no risk to the city. In return, Medford has reaped the benefits from major performers coming to Chevalier, attracting more than 200,000 patrons (and $200,000 in theatre restoration funds per a $1 ticket fee), as well as a 40% increase in meal/lodging tax receipts collected from customers at the city’s flourishing restaurants and hotels.

Tuesday, November 5, is Medford shareholders’ biennial opportunity to select a mayor/CEO. My vote will be for the candidate with the superior credentials and proven track record in this demanding, 365-day-a-year job. Not just a catchy slogan, Medford is indeed “strong, sturdy and stable” – and succeeding – under Mayor Stephanie Muccini Burke.

- Ken Krause

Medford Needs a Capable Mayor

Richard Orlando

13 Winford Way, Medford

October 14, 2019

The best way to predict the future is to create it. Mayor Stephanie Muccini Burke has been creating the foundation for Medford today and into the future. A city’s vision and strategy require creating a “fit” among many activities and goals. There are many moving parts including budget, partnerships, funding opportunities, community desires and inputs and regulations both locally and at the state level.

Considering all these variables, applying her knowledge and bringing effort every day is how Mayor Stephanie Muccini Burke creates the “fit” and success for Medford and its citizens.

Managing the city’s future is important to myself, and my family. A major investment, our home, is dependent on a capable and skilled person as mayor of Medford. Mayor Stephanie Muccini Burke is that person.

She has demonstrated the ability to manage a city budget of $180 million. Secured a second consecutive increase in the City’s bond rating to AA+, which yields bond interest expense savings to Medford’s citizens. Mayor Stephanie Muccini Burke is a respected city leader with the ability to work with state level government, establishing key relationships to acquire funding and support for local projects.

Key infrastructure projects are underway. The new police station is under construction, the planning and architectural development for the new fire station has been funded and is also underway, the library construction is beginning soon, and other infrastructure projects have been conducted such as street improvements and lighting upgrades saving taxpayers utility expenses.

Helping to generate Medford Square’s revitalization, the Mayor partnered with Bill Blumenreich to operate the Chevalier Theatre. This has been unquestionably a major success for the theater and the square. For year’s this was debated. The Mayor acted and made it happen.

Citizens have discussed Mystic Ave for years as the gateway to Medford from Boston. The Mayor has started the process and I have no doubt it will lead to progress not stagnation. The work will lead to smart economic development and a new business district revitalization. 

Tufts University’s donation to Medford is the highest ever received, $450K (64% higher than previous payment). Thank you Mayor.

When voting for the mayor I look for the following traits:

  • Decisiveness and leadership, not pandering and election year slogans.
  • Leadership into the future, not the negative resist tactics of the past.
  • The right skills and demonstrated accomplishments for the city, not because I know a person, or because I went to school with the person.
  • A person that can remain calm in stressful situations while being focused to make key decisions.

These are the traits that Mayor Stephanie Muccini Burke brings to her office every day.  

I want Medford to have a successful future for my family’s future.  Mayor Stephanie Muccini Burke has a proven record of getting things done for our community.  Please think about the city’s and your future and vote for the person with the ability to lead our city, Mayor Stephanie Muccini Burke.

- Richard Orlando