Gee Objects To ‘Steady March Of Property Taxes’

Mark Gee, who is also a Fire District commissioner, is running for a second term on the Town Council.

Mark Gee, who is running for a second term on the Town Council, is a genial person but he can be forceful too. As a town councilor and an EG Fire District commissioner, Gee finds playing the outsider a comfortable fit. He’s also something of a town meeting junkie – there is no other town official who attends as many meetings as Gee.

“I have always been driven to serve,” said Gee in his response to the questionnaire sent out to all the council candidates.

“The steady march of property taxes – onward and upward” is a big issue facing the Town of East Greenwich, Gee said. He is also very concerned with the growth of government spending and debt as well as unfunded liabilities for East Greenwich’s pension system and what Gee calls the sleeping giant: OPEB, other post-employment benefits. These include health care, life insurance, and other post-retirement compensation.

While East Greenwich may be better off than many communities, Gee said the Fire District alone is facing unfunded liabilities of $25 million and he predicts the town’s is equally daunting. “We've got to acknowledge this liability and exercise leadership to reverse course,” said Gee.

He is a proponent of the ballot question on merging the Fire District with the town. “It makes sense to me to reduce the barriers between town departments,” he said. “I think we've got to keep an open mind about change in this question and others. The impediments to change include fear (of the unknown), power, territory and egos.”

Gee said he looks to voters for guidance about town spending. “I ask our citizens and taxpayers to speak out to me and other councilors about [the size of town government]. We'll have better government if and when we demand it,” he said.

As for how to boost voter involvement in town government, Gee said, “People seem to get involved in government matters when there is a problem. . . . Most residents are generally happy with the way EG operates, and share a common vision of what the town should be. If you have a question or problem, contact the Town Council and we'll help resolve it. When the need arises, I have no doubt that people will respond in force.”

When asked why residents should vote for him, Gee said,

"I have never asked someone to vote for me – just to vote. Voters will cast their vote(s) for the candidate(s) they feel comfortable with the candidate(s) who will represent responsibly their interests effectively and honestly. I have striven and will strive to do that, for the common good.”

Mark Gee is one of six people seeking a term on the five-person Town Council. East Greenwich Patch is publishing responses to questionnaires sent to all the Council candidates this week. To read Mark Gee's full questionnaire responses, click here.

You can read about candidates Jean Ann Guliano here, Jeff Cianciolo here, Michael Isaacs here, Brad Bishop here, and Mike Kiernan here.

housewife in EG November 02, 2012 at 06:44 PM
Mr. Gee, put your money where your mouth is,perhaps you should give up the OPEB's (other post-employment benefits) you enjoy care of the federal goverment.
Mark Gee November 06, 2012 at 02:05 PM
Thank you for your comment; however, other than my naval service for five years, I have never worked for the federal government. My stint in the Navy does not qualify me for any pension or OPEB. After the Navy, I worked in private industry, first for IBM, and then for a business I founded--and for which I still work. In short, I receive no payments from any federal government agency, for anything other than social security. I would not object if a proposal such as the Simpson-Bowles plan were enacted to achieve across-the-board fiscal sustainability for our country.
Mark Gee November 06, 2012 at 02:05 PM
Up until recently, I did not request, nor did I receive, remuneration from either the town or the fire district for my service. I declined to be enrolled in the state administered pension fund (MERS) upon my election to the Town Council. I declined the health insurance "buy back" payment offered upon joining the Council even though my wife and I have private insurance and I am therefore "entitled" to this payment. When I was offered life insurance when joining the Council, I asked why the town insures councilors. I refused town-paid life insurance, and my inquiry into it's origin revealed that it had never been authorized by a town financial meeting for town councilors. That "benefit," as a result, is no longer offered. One last thing. I requested that the town's personnel board study the above benefits with an eye toward eliminating them. So far, it has not taken any action. Any questions? Call me 398-0006. Mark Gee
housewife in EG November 07, 2012 at 11:04 PM
"Up until recently." What does that mean? Something stinks, and it's not roadkill.
Mark Gee November 09, 2012 at 03:26 PM
Thank you, for your continued interest. "Up until recently," means June 2012, when I received my first pay check from the town. I have not yet received a pay check from the fire district, where I have served for over four years. A call to town hall or the fire district might ease your olfactory displeasure. As for your roadkill concerns, you might want to contact DPW. Mark Gee


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