Envision Belmont: Reimagining Belmont's Budget Process
Harvard Business School Professor and local resident Clayton Christensen will deliver the keynote for a special civic forum in Belmont, Massachusetts this October to examine the Town’s financial and civic processes.
When: Sunday, October 16, 2011 from 1:00 to 4:00 PM
Where: The Beech Street Center in Belmont.
“In an era of shrinking resources, it is challenging to establish civic priorities and to budget for them accordingly,” said Mr Christensen. “The temptation is to simply tighten one’s belt, do more with less, and to crack the whip at town officials and leaders. But this may be precisely the wrong move.”
“Belmont has been reasonably successful in delivering a great quality of life for its residents for well over a century,” said Belmont Vision Implementation Committee Chairman Tim Bowman. “But our chronic budget shortfalls and the disruption and uncertainty caused by our recent budgeting experiences is becoming an acute problem,” Bowman continued. “Perhaps it’s time we take a close look at how we do things.”
To this end, Belmont’s Vision 21 Implementation Committee – formed a decade ago to shepherd a set of aspirational goals for the Town – and the Belmont Board of Selectmen (BOS)--have designed a public forum called ‘Envision Belmont: Reimagining Belmont's Budget Process.’
Following the keynote, a panel of experts will consider the question of whether Belmont’s past success in meeting its residents’ needs has trapped it into a process and mindset that is not in synch with 21st century life. Is the old way of setting priorities and determining a budget effective in the current climate? Are there other ways – better ways – Belmont might adopt? To explore these questions, the VIC and BOS have invited contributors from both inside and outside of Belmont to share their perspectives.
Belmont resident Trey Grayson, director of the Institute of Politics at Harvard Kennedy School and former Secretary of State of Kentucky, will moderate the forum. “As Americans, we have a tradition of taking responsibility for the way our government works. This meeting will be a citizen-driven exploration of the status quo and a discussion of directions we might take in the future. I’m intrigued to see what happens.”
Panel participants include Town of Wellesley Executive Director Hans Larsen, Kennedy School professor Linda Bilmes, Interim Superintendent for the Belmont Public Schools Dr. Thomas Kingston, School Committee member Laurie Slap, and Belmont Selectman Mark Paolillo.
“Belmont should take great pride in its accomplishments and history,” said Paolillo. “But it’s healthy to be open to new ideas and ways of doing things. It’s also an important opportunity to strengthen the civic dialogue in Belmont.”
Interview Contact: Tim Bowman, firstname.lastname@example.org
Press contact: Michael Sattler, email@example.com - 617.763.3635
Information on participants:
Clayton Christensen: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clayton_Christensen
Trey Grayson: http://www.iop.harvard.edu/About-Us/Director's-Bio
Hans Larsen: http://wellesleyma.gov/Pages/WellesleyMA_Selectmen/index
Linda Bilmes: http://www.hks.harvard.edu/about/faculty-staff-directory/linda-bilmes
Dr. Thomas Kingston: http://belmont.patch.com/articles/kingston-named-belmonts-interim-superi...
Mark Paolillo: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/mark-a-paolillo/1a/41b/b5
Laurie Slap: http://www.belmont.k12.ma.us/sc/members/