NORWALK, Conn. – Democratic candidate for a District D Common Council seat Nick Sacchinelli say his skills in marketing and managing a remote workforce would add another dimension to Norwalk’s governing board.
NancyOnNorwalk sent a set of questions to all candidates for Common Council to help the candidates introduce themselves to voters.
Here are Sacchinelli’s answers:
NoN: What are your priorities, and what do you bring to the board that should make voters give you the job?
NS: I feel that my professional background will be a valued addition to the council. There is an opportunity to gather and disseminate information to the constituencies above and beyond current methods. I have been providing a marketing and promotions service for the culinary market for the past five years and I have developed and utilized many tools to gather demographic information as well as to disperse information to large demographic groups by given dates and deadlines.
I have been a district manager at Best Buy for the past seven years. In my current role I am in charge of managing the remote work force. I have been a recognized leader many times, due to my ability to work with large and diverse groups and be to effective. I am not the leader that barks orders and expects results; I have learned that, to be successful, one must be a team player. I measure the task at hand and resource the individual/s that are most apt to accomplish the task, whether it be through background, training, or independent knowledge. I feel this is important as a council member to understand that dynamic of accomplishing a goal, and at times needing to humble yourself for the greater good.
In addition, I majored in political sciences at the University of Connecticut, and I have passion to be elected into this integral role of councilman for District D and be a voice for my constituents.
My goal is more simply said than done, but I look to bridge the gap between economic and political dimensions by gathering information and resources through traditional as well as cutting edge methods to ensure I vote in a manner that is free of agenda and best represents the citizens. I plan to ask questions. I look forward to working closely with my peers and stake holders such as the superintendant to assist at all possible instances in regards to indirect accountability, through active involvement.
NoN: Several council candidates listed the schools among their top priorities at the East Norwalk forum, but the council has little control over what goes on in the schools. Other than votes on the final budget figures, how do you propose to have an impact on Norwalk’s schools?
NS: The Board of Ed question and education as a whole is what prompted me to run. As you may know, my father is a long-standing teacher at Norwalk High School and the last tech ed teacher at the high school level in the city, therefore I have a great passion in this realm. The simple answer to this is I would like to ask more questions!
We are struggling to find additional resources and minimize cost when we are clearly misallocating the resources we currently have. There needs to be oversight and accountability. The youth of the city should not fall prey to budgets. I can speak for what I see in regards to my father’s situation, and please internalize this. I know you will agree a question should be asked.
There are many different forms of learning styles and when I was talking to a successful friend of mine who shall remain nameless, he recounted a story of how he was not a fan of traditional education and didn’t understand how he would ever need things such as geometry. In knowing he was going to be a plumber like the rest of his family he was considering dropping out and taking up his trade. He told this to his old electronics teacher, Mr. Bakes (who has retired and his position was never back filled). Mr. Bakes said to him, “You want to be a plumber, OK, it’s a good job. Tell me, how do you get this length of pipe from here to here without losing pressure.” My friend said “that’s easy,” and described how he would do it. Mr. Bakes said, “That’s geometry!”
Now, not only is my father’s class the last of its kind in the city, someone decided that seniors could not enroll. Why? We might quite literally be setting up our youth to fail by taking away these resources and in this case putting a restriction on a resource that’s currently in place, the salary is already paid. So Why?
And although it is true that a lot of students are continuing to higher education, not all of them do and many of them drop out after their first year. We did them an injustice to not allow them to take the class to get a taste of a trade before releasing them into an increasingly competitive work force. Why would we allow that?
I know the council’s influence is limited in this area. In the end, I understand we need to maximize the experience for our students with a controlled budget. I believe this can be gained through oversight and accountability. With that said, I plan to work closely with the superintendent and remain informed through direct involvement to be confident that final budget allocation is weighted to best represent the needs of the students and faculty, with as little waste and misallocated spending as possible. We need someone who is willing to look under rocks and not just look at a spreadsheet and ask why?
NoN: One of the biggest complaints we hear from our readers is about property taxes and how they just seem to go up. This year it’s around 4 percent. So what can be done differently, if anything, to hold the line on spending — or even roll it back?
NS: To effectively maintain any taxation with an end goal of decreasing the burden on the citizens is to increase overall city organic growth and revenue streams while minimizing unnecessary spending. I feel the city has made some notable moves in the right direction and should be commended. This, however, needs to be viewed as just the beginning. In order to responsibly affect property taxes we need to find new forms of taxation and revenue.
Professionally, I am recognized for thinking outside of the box with effective end results. One of the items I would like to look into as an alternative is to increase the marketing space along I-95. I-95 houses a daily volume of 120,000 to 150,000 travelers, and currently Interstate billboards go for an average of $1,000-$2,500 a month just for the use of the space. In my research, I have also found areas in the country such as some provinces in Baltimore that tax all billboards $5 a square foot for stationary space and $15 a square foot for electronic units. I would like to further research previous proposals, but my research so far has not found that Norwalk has utilized either of these methods. In addition there is an added benefit for when the city-owned billboards are not being rented the city can utilize the space to market our own attraction and commercial areas and increase total commerce. It is this form of methodology I would like to offer as alternatives to standard cuts or increasing taxes for citizens if I held a seat as councilman.
NoN: Do you believe it is essential to read and understand the Common Council info packets before voting, or will you depend on discussions, staff recommendations and constituent input to inform your vote?
NS: In order to make a truly informed decision to best represent the people to the best of my ability I will use all avenues, those listed above and beyond, before I am to sit and vote on an issue.
NoN: Would you support the formation of a charter commission?
NS: I am in favor of a charter commission. I believe the charter should be a living document and should be maintained so it directly speaks to the values, concerns, and issues of the times. And although the council needs to have a clear awareness and understanding of all areas of our current charter, when the question comes to amending such a document and the amendment will stand for many years to follow, I feel it should go beyond awareness and understanding. The council should nominate a commission that will live and breathe that document with a total understanding of the citizens and surrounding conditions. Such an in depth approach could not truly come to light by the council alone on top of their natural duties, and such a commission appears to be almost a necessity.
NoN: Civility has been a big topic. What can you say to the voters to assure them that, if you are elected, they will find a kinder and gentler council?
NS: As I stated above, I am a team player. I am OK being humble when others have more background or knowledge on a topic. I also know when to speak up and take the lead when needed. I know how to be affective and I know how to work towards a greater good. That said, I plan to make all decisions with a clear view of my constituents’ best interests as a forefront, with an ever-present back drop of honesty, humility, and integrity. Which is something I do not compromise, it is the core of my being and how I have worked for my whole life.