Tim Barr is running as an at-large candidate on the For Montclair slate.
Patch asked Barr, and has been asking all the candidates, a series of questions. is a Q&A Patch recently did with Walter Springer; is one with Selma Avdicevic; is one with Bill Hurlock; here is one with Swenson; and here is one with Jacobson.
All candidates are invited to contact Patch at Shelley@patch.com to answer similar questions and readers are invited to submit questions to Barr in the comments section below.
Q) There are several at-large candidates running for office. What distinguishes you from the other candidates?
A) I'm the only candidate running who has served on Montclair's Board of Education, and I've reported to a Board of Directors in my professional life, so I think I'm very well equipped to hit the ground running as a member of the Council. I have worked with non-profits, private individuals, public bodies and businesses to create solutions to funding problems. I understand the opportunities and limits of these different actors, which will be important in being able to hit the ground running. I also have an educational background in political science and public administration, as well as practical experience leading not-for-profit organizations which need to be creative in their approach and use of limited resources to produce maximum impact and change.
Q) What would you tackle immediately within the first 60 to 90 days in office?
A) Our slate has put out detailed policy positions, showing where we would find savings in the budget, how we would immediately reconstitute the Capital Finance Committee and give it the information it needs to help us, etc. Our goal in the first 60-90 days will be to work with the Township Manager to ensure that he shares our priorities and then assist him in implementing them. I would also advocate creating the municipal statutes and ordinances, and working groups, to begin implementing our slate's position. A solid plan is key to our ability to govern effectively. We need both short and long term goals that address some of our most immediate financial concern without losing sight that our survival as a town will be based on our long term strategies.
Q) Name one specific idea/plan you have that you believe would directly benefit Montclair residents?
A) Our neighbors need to feel safe and secure in our town. Public safety is probably the most important service we provide. As many other towns have done, we need to make certain that we have enough police and fire personnel to give residents in all wards a sense of comfort and security. We need to provide opportunities for our uniformed personnel to live in town or to stay in town so that they become more than just public servants of the town; they become our friends and neighbors. This creates a bond and the community partnership that has been lacking.
I would like to see more cooperation with our bordering town neighbors to stop suspected criminals before they reach our borders, but this will take more officers on the ground and patrolling. If we need to modify our current department structure to accomplish that, then we must work with our town manager, the chief and his staff to make that happenA second area I would want to see addressed would be to update and broaden the funding base for town subsidized programs like the Montclair Community Pre-K, the Adult School and the Library. These are such important resources for the community, and trying to make sure that the funding and operations model is one that is sustainable would be very important. To not address these issues in a frank and forward manner and to allow the issues to linger would be detrimental not only to these entities but to our town and the people who benefit from these programs.
Q) If your whole slate is not elected, how would you get along with the other candidates/slates?
A) By nature and profession I am a consensus builder. The art of compromise leaves everyone feeling that they were part of the ultimate solution and that the resolution was actually their idea. I have the ability to work in committee, and in this case, in council to make sure that all parties get some of what they would like so that we can move the agenda forward. Additionally, I have enjoyed working with people of different political parties and opinions on common Montclair goals on a variety of projects and in a variety of official roles. I will always listen and respond respectfully even when I do not agree with someone’s position. It’s alright to agree to disagree sometimes for the sake of the process and progress.
Q) What is one thing (or two) that people may not know about you?
A) At St. Joseph's I have balanced budgets in hard economic times in my professional life while protecting the values and people I serve, and I have taken those same skills home to co-found “Montclair Celebrates…to save the Montclair 4th of July Celebration" in the past year. Despite the slow economy, I have been successful in obtaining the single largest gift in the 145-year history of the Medical Center in the amount of $5 million.
Q) What is the number one issue you hear about from the voters you meet -- and how would you tackle it .. specifically?
A) Everyone is cost conscious but concerned that budget cuts will cause permanent damage. I will work to create new networks that include adjacent municipalities to create long term savings. I will also work with the Council to make sure we’re making decisions for Montclair that will satisfy ward-specific interests and the overall population of the town. We need to continue to be austere in our budgeting so that we can continue to pay off our debt, balance our town wants versus needs, and invest in programs and projects that have a concrete analysis that reasonably estimates a rate of return and timeframe in which to pay for themselves.