Election2019 Candidate OP-ED: Kevin Gardiner, Board of Finance
I am Kevin Gardiner and I am running for the Board of Finance with Michael Kaelin, Jung Soo Kim, and Chris Stroup. Our objective is to ensure that the best interests of every registered voter and property owner is represented by the Board of Finance.
For over a decade, I have worked with several different types of companies: from fortune 500 companies, to startups, to B-to-B service providers. My professional focus has always been customer service, operations, and finance. I have spent much of my time speaking with customers about what is working and what changes need to occur. I then use that feedback to design and rollout new systems, policies, and processes to fix problems, improve operational efficiencies, and grow the business.
I have managed large P&Ls and participated in countless budget meetings; always ensuring we are financially prudent, and ensuring that we are making the appropriate decisions to drive future growth.
I am running for the Board of Finance because I do not believe that simply cutting costs is an effective strategy for prosperity. I believe that along with careful cost controls we also need to prudently invest in our future. I am running to ensure that we shepherd the necessary changes, including investments, needed to build a stronger future for Wilton; one that we and future home buyers want to live in while not putting an undue financial burden on our residents.
I am also running to bring a new level of transparency and cooperation to the Board of Finance. The current Board was wrong to cut the town and school budgets after several months of cooperative negotiation and belt tightening. After extensive discussion and agreement, and despite the town and school presenting budgets that were well within the Board of Finance’s own guidance, four Republican members of the Board cut those budgets at the very last minute without further discussion. That type of unilateral decision making should never be employed in Wilton. It dissuades collaboration and honest brokering, and threatens how we govern ourselves.
I represent a new generation of Wiltonian. I was born and raised in Shelton, CT, and after getting my master’s degree at UConn, I got married and moved around the country every few years. From Boston, to New Jersey (where we had our first child), to Cincinnati, and then to Chicago. After having our second child, we decided to build our future in Wilton. We moved here in 2016, with a 4-year-old daughter and a 1-year-old son. We were attracted by the proximity to New York City, we loved the properties we saw, and most importantly, we moved to Wilton for the great schools and the warm and inviting community.
My wife and I fell in love with the town of Wilton. We decided to buy a home and planted the seeds to raise our children and become entrenched in the Wilton community. As a homeowner with young children, I understand the importance of investing in our schools and how the strength of our schools is essential for keeping our property values strong.
If I am elected to the Board of Finance, I will insist that we will not spend money frivolously, and I will also insist that we will make the appropriate investments in our town and in our schools. We need to keep pace with our neighbors and with an ever-changing world. We need leadership that can envision Wilton in the 2020’s, with a strong school system as the foundation for our success. We need a Board of Finance that is transparent and cooperative with all residents and with all other levels of government. Together we will ensure that Wilton continues to be the beautiful and prosperous town that we all love, now and for years to come