Editor’s Note: Erich Garger was unable to attend last Wednesday’s Candidate’s Night sponsored by the town Democratic and Republican Town Committees due to a family emergency that occurred just before the event began. He has forwarded the introduction (usually presented by the event moderator) and the candidate’s presentation that he intended to give for publication. To keep the playing field level, I’ve extended an invitation to the other two candidates for the single Selectman’s seat, Bob Hargraves and Jack Petropoulos, to send along the same statements that they read last week. They’ll be posted online as they arrive.
Erich is currently employed as a food and drug inspector for the state of Massachusetts. His job entails inspecting wholesale food manufacturers to ensure they are in compliance with state and federal food safety and sanitation guidelines.
While this is his current position Erich is very versatile and his held many different types of jobs due to his diverse background. He graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 1986. This began his working career as a chef, which, included working for Hyatt Hotels for 10 years. He returned to school at the University of New Hampshire in the early 90’s and graduated in 1994 with a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition. He went on to become a Registered Dietitian and has worked for Sodexho Food Services in that capacity at many different accounts. Shortly after that Erich began his teaching career as a Culinary Arts Instructor at the Manchester School of Technology High School in Manchester NH. In addition, Erich has held teaching positions at Nashoba Valley Technical High School in Westford and South High School in Worcester MA.
Erich has two daughters currently in college. Brooke is 25 and is attending the University of New Hampshire and majoring in Wildlife Conservation Biology. Abby is 23 and a senior at Fitchburg State College majoring in Communications with a concentration in film.
I decided to run for Groton selectman after many years of seeing the mismanagement of town resources. The Lost Lake area, where I live as well as other lakes in Groton, have been ignored by the town government for years. I have witnessed Lost Lake go from a beautiful picturesque lake to a lake that is now choked with weeds. Sometimes on hot summer days the lake even smells like a swamp. Septic systems and wells are completely inappropriate for houses surrounding a lake.
Yet the town has ignored these two key issues for years despite the fact that studies have been done in the past to document these hazards. There are some areas of Groton that have sewer and town water while most of the town does not. The roads and infrastructure in Groton have decayed in the time that I have been a resident here. Given these issues I question why the town wants to spend millions of dollars on a fire station. There is a brand new fire station in the Lost Lake area that sits empty and is staffed only occasionally with volunteer firefighters. I am grateful that when I had a fire at my house that by chance there were several volunteer fire fighters at the station when it happened. I believe hiring more full time fire fighters would be a better use of tax payers dollars than paying for a multi-million dollar fire station.
While I do not oppose having a public country club in town I question the town’s wisdom for getting involved in running it. I am shocked every time I see the town warrant with items on it such as paying for golf carts or large sums of money being appropriated at the end of the year because the country club did not meet its operating expenses. I believe the country club can be run by an outside company that specializes in such businesses and could cease being a financial drain on the town.
I love our small town image and I think we can preserve it while still attracting businesses to Groton to reduce the tax burden on homeowners. We need businesses that will blend into the town, unlike what the town did with the Shaws development.
My children attended Groton-Dunstable Regional High School and I know that we have an excellent school system from their experience. However, we still need to eliminate inefficiencies in the system. We need to review the budget line by line to see where we can save money. For example, when my children were in school I remember picking them up at night after school functions and seeing every light on in the School. I often wondered at that time, how much money the school system could save by just having an effective energy management plan.
As everyone knows are taxes seem to go up every year. I am very concerned that people on set incomes, especially retired people who have lived for years in this town are being forced to sell there homes because they can not afford the constant increase in taxes. We must look closely to see if we can provide relief for people in this income group.
I believe that we must enforce town ordinances and bylaws to preserve the image and quality of our neighborhoods, open spaces and down town area.