Monday, May 30, 2005

Response to AFSCME Questionnaire

AFSCME QUESTIONNAIRE FOR BOSTON CITY COUNCIL CANDIDATES
2005
Please fill in all of the information below!
NAME: Kevin McCrea _______________________________________________
ADDRESS: 218 West Springfield Street Boston _______________________________________________
ZIP CODE: 02118 _______________________________________________
PHONE NUMBER: 617-267-2453 _______________________________________________
FAX NUMBER: 617-351-2453 _______________________________________________
EMAIL ADDRESS: electkevin@gmail.com _______________________________________________
CAMPAIGN MANAGER: Dr. Clara Lora _______________________________________________
SEAT SOUGHT: City Council at Large _______________________________________________
Please return this questionnaire by ____6/3/05___________

Return to: Andi MullinAFSCME Council 938 Beacon St., 3rd FloorBoston, MA 02108amullin@afscmecouncil93.org(617) 742-7666 (fax)
Call Andi Mullin at (617) 367-6000 x110 with questions1. Why are you running for City Council? What do you hope to accomplish if you are elected?

I am running for City Council to help make Boston better. My main areas of focus will be on housing, education and equal access to government. However, I look forward to bringing honesty, transparency and more professionalism to city government.

2. Have you ever been a member of a labor union? Why do you think labor unions are important? What do you think the role of a labor union should be?

I have not been a member of a labor union. Labor unions are extremely important in providing good middle class jobs, security, and collective bargaining power for their members. The role of the labor union should be to represent its members in a professional manner and advocate for its members to the best of its ability.

3. Collective bargaining is fundamental to what labor unions do. Unions must be free to negotiate in good faith with employers who also are negotiating in good faith. In the past, some unions in Boston have defeated undesirable proposals at the bargaining table, only to have City Councilors and/or the Mayor try to resurrect them through the legislative process. Will you respect the collective bargaining process and refrain from trying to legislatively impose on city workers changes in salary, benefits or working conditions that the city has been unable to win at the bargaining table?

I believe one of the reasons I have been successful in business is that my word, my handshake, means a deal is a deal. One of the reasons I am running for city council is that I want open, honest transparent government. When a deal is made with a contractor, a union, or whomever, that deal should be honored.

4. As you are no doubt aware, the Commonwealth continues to face significant fiscal challenges. A major cause of the problem is the 42 tax cuts the state enacted in the 1990s. These tax cuts eroded the state’s revenue base so dramatically that today we are cutting critical public services to make ends meet. While the Commonwealth has taken significant steps to raise revenue, the state still faces a structural deficit. That deficit cannot be resolved by budget cuts alone – revenue must be part of the picture. Will you vigorously lobby Boston’s state legislators and Senators to restore the income tax and close corporate loopholes to help resolve the budget crisis?

I agree that we must resolve revenue issues. The Boston Globe recently reported that the cost to corporations to do business in Massachusetts was one of the lowest in the nation. The tax burden in Massachusetts and in Boston has been shifted from corporations to private property owners. It does not help things when City Hall is giving away valuable real estate such as Heyward Place, City Hall Plaza and parking spaces in West Roxbury to at below market prices. That is property that we the citizens own, and we are paying for through higher taxes, or lower wages for members of AFSCME for example.

5. The problem of high housing prices is of particular concern to city employees because these employees are required to live in the city. Given the lower wages earned by public sector workers, it is becoming increasingly difficult for City employees to make ends meet given the high costs of housing. What solutions to Boston’s housing crisis would you pursue if you were elected?

Please see my website www.electkevin.us for a more in depth answer, but the synopsis is as follows. First of all I would work to have the 400 acres of excess and foreclosed property that the City of Boston owns disposed of within 3 years. This will do two things, it will increase the tax base and it will provide building opportunites to build new housing. I will advocate for a large portion of that to be median income housing affordable to people such as employees of AFSCME. I will advocate for eliminating the BRA and replacing it with a city planning agency that is answerable to the voters, that will advocate for building more housing affordable to middle class people, not just the wealthy. Furthermore, I would like to initiate a program to make below market rate loans available to City of Boston employees to buy houses within the city. I am a developer, who has built and owns affordable housing in the city of Boston. I understand the process and realize this is one of the biggest problems facing the city, and I will be putting a large portion of my time to working on this issue.

5a. What is your view of the residency requirement?

I believe that residency can a tool to help regenerate the city and help support the middle class.

5b. Would you support a revision to the residency requirement that would require newly hired city employees to live in the city for their first five years of employment, and then be permitted to live elsewhere?

I am not knowledgeable enough about this topic to give an opinion at this time. However, I do believe that this is something that should be negotiated in good faith at the bargaining table.

6. The Boston Municipal Research Bureau (BMRB) has recently proposed a system of providing public services called “competitive service delivery.” AFSCME has thoroughly researched this proposal and determined that the business-backed BMRB has simply come up with a new and fancy way of describing privatization. Like other privatization schemes, “competitive service delivery” will introduce the profit motive to public service delivery, which is not good for taxpayers. Furthermore, while such schemes claim to save money, they actually simply pay workers less and erode their benefits. Would you work with AFSCME to oppose implementation of a “competitive service delivery” proposal?

I am not familiar with “competitive service delivery”. However, I oppose privatization for essential city services.

7. What do you think of privatization in general? Will you oppose efforts to privatize City services?

Please see my previous answer. I do oppose privatization of City services.

8. The City’s civil service system is not working for anyone other than public safety employees, and under Governor Mitt Romney the situation is deteriorating. The Governor is aggressively de-funding the system and leaving commission appointments vacant for months at a time. The City workforce has become more and more demoralized as employees have learned that job opportunities have primarily been awarded for political performance rather than work performance. Common city practices include failure to request promotional civil service exams, failure to appoint from the legal list, and abuse of provisional appointments. What steps would you take to insure that the city operates the system properly? Will you aggressively oppose Governor Romney’s backdoor attempts to further weaken the system?

This is another of the reasons I am running for city council. To oppose the cronyism that this state is rampant with. On my website you will see that I advocate for the posting of all job opportunities on the city's website so everyone will know what jobs are available, what the qualifications are and how to apply. I call for the posting of the resume's of all department heads so that the public can see whether people are qualified for the jobs they have. I am for open, professional government and there is no room in that for political hacks.

9. Traditionally, the AFSCME locals in the City of Boston have enjoyed a close working relationship with many of the City’s elected officials. How would you view your relationship as a City Councilor with the employees of the City?

I have worked with city employees from many different departments. I am proud to say that many of them are supporting my campaign. I have always been impressed with the professionalism of the “soldiers” who work for the city, who are let down by the “generals” above them who maybe political appointees who are not qualified for their jobs. I have promised to have open office hours each week if anyone has a question, idea or complaint I will be available. I look forward to working with the city employees to get their valuable opinions on how to make the city work and run more efficiently, honestly, and professionally.

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Get afscme to make available all the candidates responses to the form!...

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