Mayor candidate Q&A: What would you cut or reform?

Reminder Publishing sent both Westfield mayoral candidates identical questionnaires covering several topics of interest to voters. Answers are in the candidates’ own words and have not been edited, except for spelling and punctuation. Responses are listed in the order that candidates will be listed in the ballot: incumbent first, then challenger.

Incumbent Donald Humason Jr. speaks at the mayoral debate in Westfield on Oct. 20. (PETER CURRIER/THE WESTFIELD NEWS)

Today’s question: What specific cut or reform will you make in the next two years to eliminate waste or duplication in Westfield city government?

Donald Humason: My team is working on several reforms. Our new auditor and I have instituted a “Truth in Budgeting” mandate for city departments so at budget time, funds are allocated in the actual areas where they will be spent rather than doing numerous transfers from one account to another. I hired a new personnel director and tasked him to work on employee retention and training to reduce the revolving-door problem we’ve faced in previous administrations, along with loss of institutional history and knowledge. Procurement and I are developing an inventory database of municipal capital assets for planning and replacement purposes.

Candidate Michael McCabe speaks at the mayoral debate in Westfield on Oct. 20. (PETER CURRIER/THE WESTFIELD NEWS)

Michael McCabe: I would not be in favor of adding personnel to the mayor’s office. It is simply not necessary. I would be in favor of a four-year mayoral term and eliminate the cost of two-year elections. I would ask departments to submit minus-5, 0, and plus-5 percent budgets to see what they believe could be economized. As a former budget guy, I am not so sure there is a great deal of waste. I would have to see all the budgets. I would separate the DPW and the Water Department. They are two different disciplines with competent leadership in place already.

Pick up the newspaper every day from now until Saturday, Oct. 30, for more questions and answers with the mayoral, Ward 1 City Council and School Committee candidates. For previous questions and answers, visit thewestfieldnews.com/tag/election-2021. To add your thoughts to our coverage, send your letter to the editor to [email protected], or 181 Root Road, Westfield, MA 01085.

Election Day is Nov. 2. Early voting is also available today at City Hall, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and daily through Oct. 29.

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