Interview: COLEEN SNOW – TOWN COUNCIL
As Election Day approaches, The Pawling Record would like to extend this opportunity to allow our readers to get to know the candidates for several positions within the Town and the Village. On Tuesday, November 6, Pawling residents can cast their votes at the Lathrop Building in Lakeside Park, 2 Lakeside Drive, the Holmes Whaley Lake Civic Association Building at 239 Route 292 in Holmes, or Town Hall, 160 Charles Colman Boulevard. Voters can find their designated polling place by visiting www.dutchesselections.com.
COLEEN SNOW – TOWN COUNCIL
1. Why are you running for this office?
I’m running for three reasons: to bring transparency to town government, to foster communication among the board and the community, and to increase collaboration among the stakeholders of Pawling. During my six years on the school board (five as board president), I’ve helped bring about a cultural shift. We brought transparency to the budgeting process, listened to the community, brought in speakers and experts, and developed a new level of mutual trust and respect on the board, both between board members and with the community as a whole. Now I want to bring my skills to the town council.
I feel that I can bring the skills that a board member needs and must have: a passion for the cause, a respect for others, a thoughtful ability to consider issues, and to articulate those thoughts, a sense of responsibility for making things happen, and, finally, a vision to think beyond today.
2. What are your qualifications for the position?
My qualifications include having completed six years on the Pawling school board, the last five years as the board president. During my years on the school board, we were responsible for understanding and stewarding our $36 million budget. We brought transparency to the budget so everyone could understand what was happening, encouraged open questions from parents, and received community input, all while keeping under the tax cap and decreasing taxes over the last five years.
I have also been a member of the Christ Church Nursery School Board for the last sixteen years. This experience has given me many skills in understanding budgets through mandated fiscal training one has during the first year as well as board member training. As a former non-profit grant writer, I also know how to seek out grants and bring in much-needed funds.
In my work as a social worker over the last twenty-five years, my passion is helping people of all ages. My job depends on listening, communication and collaborating, both with individuals and with other agencies. These are precisely the vital skills that I bring. When I began serving on the school board there was a lack of trust and respect between the community and other agencies; I put my professional skills to work in bringing people together, providing answers instead of stonewalling, and building consensus between the school administration and the parents of Pawling. (For example, I began a monthly liaison group between the Town, Village, Chamber, and the School Superintendent—a group that continues to meet to this day.) We did this all while lowering school taxes and without sacrificing quality of student achievement.
As a woman, mother and social worker, I bring a new perspective to the Town Board. I understand what parents want to see for their children. As a business owner with my own private practice, I know the pulse of the community here in Pawling. Having both women and men on boards has proven to be more effective.
3. What do you hope to accomplish if elected?
I hope to bring our community together. I want to see action rather than continued discussions related to health insurance that has gone on for the last ten years. When discussions come up about zoning and/or rezoning and other community concerns, I would like to invite presenters in to offer pros and cons at a town board meeting.
My goals are:
To eliminate health benefits for part-time elected officials
Beautify both Lakeside and Murrow Parks
Utilize shared services between the Village and Schools
Utilize my background as a grant writer to seek out grants
Bring community involvement to the budget process and future zoning
Work with our Recreation director to continue adding programs
Look at the budget to find funds to help support the Pawling Resource Center
Welcoming meetings that are transparent and respectful
Bring back an ethics committee which provides oversight, policies and procedures
Develop an audit committee made up of community members knowledgeable in finances
Develop other liaison committees to increase collaboration and transparency
4. What is your educational background?
I have an undergraduate degree in Psychology from Syracuse University and a Master’s in Social Work from Fordham University.
5. What else would you like voters to know about you – your family, pastimes, special interests or activities?
My husband, Scott, and I have lived in Pawling for the past twenty years. We were the young couple that we hope to have come to Pawling. We chose Pawling because of its charm and community. My son Ryan is a college graduate and working in Virginia, my son Sean is a junior at Syracuse University, and my daughter Kyra is a junior at PHS. I love to volunteer and support our athletes. Among the places I volunteer is the Pawling Rotary Club, whose motto is “service above self.” I’ve taken this motto to heart, and I hope to bring my services to the town of Pawling.