Judith Whiteside hopes to bring her 30 years experience to the board
Wareham Week spoke to each of the four candidates for the Board of Selectmen ahead of the town election. Two seats are available, and the top two vote-getters will be elected. For links to profiles of the other candidates, click here.
Judith Whiteside has more than thirty years experience volunteering for the town, including three stints on the Board of Selectmen and service on the Finance Committee.
Professionally, Whiteside worked as a banker for 23 years, and spent 12 years teaching English to tenth graders at Wareham High School.
Whiteside said that the town will be facing a significant shortfall in its budget.
“That means that the town administrator is going to have to make some very tough choices for the town of Wareham,” Whiteside said. “So somebody who has experience in coping with a hugely reduced budget is really important. The Board of Selectmen needs to be supportive of the town administrator and the superintendent of schools. Both will have to do a lot of union negotiating to live within the budget. These are not easy choices.”
Whiteside said that the town’s budget is additionally limited by the rules of Proposition 2 ½. Proposition 2½ limits the increase in total town tax revenue to 2½ percent a year after accounting for any increase in the tax base.
Proposition 2 ½ can be overridden by voters, but Whiteside said that that’s a very difficult task. Although overrides have been proposed a number of times in Wareham, only one has passed to fund the new elementary school on Minot Avenue.
“The voters have made choices about what they want to spend money on and what they don’t,” Whiteside said. “If the people say they don’t want their taxes increased, then the town has to make due.”
Whiteside has also served as a Road Commissioner and is the chairman of the Charter Review Committee.
She volunteers with the Board of Health, Council on Aging, Meals on Wheels, the Friends of the Wareham Free Library, Mass Audubon, the Coalition for Buzzards Bay, and the Wareham Land Trust.
She has also served with Wareham Youth Soccer and the Wareham Gatemen.
Whiteside was one of the founding members of Don’t Trash Wareham, an annual clean-up effort which brings volunteers together to clean up Wareham and Onset.