Jean Ann Guliano is the only non-Republican running for Town Council – she’s a member of the Moderate Party. In addition, she’s the only non-incumbent, and she’s the only woman.
In response to the questionnaire sent to all six council candidates, Guliano said her focus if elected to the Town Council would be to “maximize ... resources specifically by utilizing cost efficiencies gained through shared services between town/schools, and with adjacent municipalities.”
The former School Committee chairwoman continued, “In addition, I’d like to create a blueprint of collaboration between the town and our local businesses, ecumenical community, residents and charitable organizations. We should think of EG as one community … not just to save money, but to solve programs and create opportunities that benefit everyone.”
Guliano said the most important issues – “the ones that I hear about most often” – are property taxes, schools and general quality of life. “In short,” she said, “how do we balance our desire for outstanding schools and services without excessive property taxes?”
She said there are several ways to achieve this, including merging the Fire District with the town. Another idea is to share more services between the schools and the town, for instance combining maintenance and custodial departments and having one payroll.
“An excellent example for this is the snow plow [agreement] drawn up between the town and the schools in 2009. This was a well-planned and well-executed consolidation that should be the model going forward,” she said.
Guliano also wants to limit tax increases to every three years – occurring the same time as property revaluation.
“This can be done by staggering wage increases, capital projects and technology upgrades across all entities,” she said. “I also support a true tax freeze for seniors who have lived in EG for more than 40 years, not just a deferment.”
Guliano said she fully supports merging the EG Fire District with the town, noting that “East Greenwich pays one of the highest cost per capita rates for fire protection in the state." She said, "Why and how do other communities pay significantly less for fire services?”
While Guliano said she does not see any town programs that need cutting, she said it was short sighted to cut funding last year to the EG Animal Protection League, the Teen Center and Main Street Merchants.
“The total reductions came to less than $20,000 for these programs. With a $50 million budget ($56 million if you include the fire district), we can certainly find a way to fund these programs that are essential to our community and provide tremendous value at a low cost,” she said.
Guliano said the town should be collaborating more with New England Tech, in addition to the $450,000 annual payment in lieu of taxes the school makes to the town.
“I’d like to see a voc-tech program between EGHS and NEIT. The current program sends students out of district when we might be able to create something right here to serve and expand the program for students.” She added, “I’d like to see some cost sharing strategies between the town and NEIT when it comes to buying equipment, computers, maintenance, repair and [technology] infrastructure.”
Guliano said she favors continuing the Financial Town Meeting, despite the low numbers of people who attend. While she said local government is generally open and accessible to the public, Guliano would like contract negotiations to be made public if no agreement is struck by three months before a contract expires.
When asked why residents should vote for her, Guliano said,
“I hope that people choose to vote for me because they know me, my heart, and my commitment to this community. East Greenwich has been my home for almost 16 years and it’s the only home my sons have ever known. Because it’s their hometown, it’s my hometown, and I want what is best for them and for everyone else in our wonderful town. I believe in public service, and take that role very seriously. For me, being a servant of the public and steward of public funds means being responsible, respectful and accountable to those who have elected me.”
Jean Ann Guliano is one of six people seeking a term on the five-person Town Council. East Greenwich Patch is publishing responses from all the candidates this week. To read Jean Ann Guliano's full questionnaire responses, click here.
You can read about candidates Jeff Cianciolo here, Michael Isaacs here, and Brad Bishop here, Mike Kiernan here, and Mark Gee here.