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Fincom member eyes treasurer seat, new role for office

Dean CarmanCarman

A 10-year member of the Finance Committee is seeking to be the next town treasurer -- while offering what he calls a creative compromise to the issue of whether the post should be elected or appointed.

Dean Carman has taken out nomination papers for the elected position held by Stephen J. Gilligan since 2006 on a platform of "balancing the independent integrity of the treasurer's office with the need to have day-to-day professional management."

If elected, he wrote in response to questions from YourArlington, he plans to limit his efforts to policy matters, using the treasurer's salary to hire a full-time manager of the department. Carman would continue working as vice president and corporate controller for Bertucci's, the Massachusetts-based restaurant chain.

Asked why he is seeking to run for treasurer in the April town election to fill the spot after Gilligan retires, Carman wrote Tuesday, Jan. 10: "I've lived in Arlington for almost 15 years and have served on the Finance Committee for 10 of those years. In my time on Finance Committee, I've witnessed what feels like the never-ending study committees of the town's financial structure, including whether the treasurer should be a full-time elected or professionally appointed position.

"I believe there's a compromise that can be reached .... If elected, I will limit my efforts to policy matters, using the treasurer's approximately $105,000 per year salary to hire a full-time manager of the department.

"This person will be hired after a professional process led by the town manager and director of human resources. My policy focus would include the implementation of a transparent cash- and investment-management strategy, a transparent debt-management strategy, greater communication with the selectman and School Committee and the creation of a truly integrated finance function."

To read more about treasurer issues and how Carman plans to address them, see his campaign website, deancarman.org/issues >> 

How background helps

Asked how his background would help him succeed in this position, he wrote, "I am a career finance professional and finance executive who enjoys public service.

"After graduating from Northeastern University in 2000, I spent nine years working in public accounting as a financial auditor; four years at a regional accounting firm and five years at an international accounting firm. My practice areas in public accounting were the public sector, healthcare and retail/manufacturing."

He wrote that he left public accounting in 2009 and "began working as the corporate controller of a multiunit restaurant company. In my position as vice president and corporate controller, I am responsible for all areas of finance, including but not limited to treasury, taxation, general accounting, accounts payable, payroll and information technology, leading a department of 18 professionals at my company's corporate headquarters. I also work with my company's risk-management department to help manage our various insurance lines as well as its real estate and construction department in negotiating and executing lease renewals."

He turned to his Arlington civic life: He has been a member of the Finance Committee and elected Town Meeting member since 2006. On the Fincom, he been involved in reviewing all town budgets and making recommendations to maintain or improve the town's financial position and prudent financial management. In Town Meeting, he has focused on financial-management issues, most recently presenting the Fincom's recommendation to build an addition on the Thompson School and reopen the Gibbs School.

Addressing challenges

Asked to address the challenges the position of town treasurer presents, Carman began with background. He wrote that job is a key member of the town's finance team, responsible for many financial functions, including but not limited to cash management, investment strategy, bond issues and tax collection.

"I've always been concerned that there's no professional qualification or competency requirement to be elected treasurer," he wrote. "As noted in the 2012 state Department of Revenue review of town finances, this presents a very real risk that an unqualified person could be elected treasurer and cause harm to the town, simple because they were the only person to run for the position when it became vacant.

"As an example of the importance of the role of treasurer, over the next five years we will borrow in excess of $200 million when you combine the town's expected future debt for normal capital-budget spending with bonding for Thompson expansion, reopening the former Gibbs, possible adding onto the Hardy and rebuilding Arlington High School.

"This type of important work should be handled by a trained finance professional, which is why I'm offering a proposal to hire such a professional.

"It's a policy decision to bond a school project for 20 or 30 years, and that decision should be discussed and decided in public by an accountable elected official. It's a professional matter to work with an investment bank to structure and issue municipal bonds."

Query about employment

Asked specifically about his current employment, and whether he would you be willing to give that up, Carman wrote:

"Based on my belief that the elected treasurer should not be a full-time department head but rather a limited policy position, I would not leave my current employment. I expect my hours as treasurer to be more than the Board of Selectman and School Committee, but considerable less than full-time employees in the town.

"Being an experienced finance professional with extensive Finance Committee experience, I am confident in my ability to discharge the office of treasurer in this manner."

Carman grew up in Belmont and has lived in Arlington since 2002. After graduating from Northeastern University in 2000 with a bachelor's degree in business administration, he worked for Daniel Dennis & Co., until 2004.

He worked for Deloitte & Touche Until 2009, when he joined Bertucci's Corp.


Dean Carman campaign website

2012 state Department of Revenue review of town finances

Jan. 10, 2017: After treasurer announces retirement, town officials look ahead


This news summary was published Wednesday, Jan. 11, 2017.

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