Editor’s note: Candidate’s written responses were provided to The Island Packet over email and appear as submitted.
Name: John Dowling
Number of years living in the area you seek to represent: 10
Family: Wife, Betsy; daughters Jennifer, Lara and Megan
Education: Associate’s degree, New Hampshire College
Current occupation/employer: Retired
Please list all public offices to which you’ve been elected, when and where: Served three terms on Narragansett Regional School Committee, Templeton, MA, 1983
Please list any unsuccessful candidacies for public office and when: Re-election 1992
Other prior political and government experience: Chairman, Town of Templeton Finance Advisory Board
Employment, military and volunteer history: Employed as full time Staff Member at the Massachusetts Association of School Committees (School Boards); Program Manager in a Fortune 13 Computer Company; Special Education Office Manager in the Wachusett Regional School District; Military, US Army 1966-1969, Sgt E5; Volunteered at Narragansett PTA (Founder and first President); Choir Director, Holy Cross Parish.
Key endorsements you've received: Jim Bequette (former Member of the BOE), Rick Corporale (former BOE member and current Beaufort County Council Member), Joan Deery (former BOE Member), Jerry Smith (community education activist), Al Stern (Former BOE Member, Sun City Government activist and former coach at Bluffton High School, CARE (Citizens Advocating Responsible Education)
Contributions: None to report
Expenditures: None to report
Highest contributor: N/A
What do you see as the strengths and weaknesses of Superintendent Jeff Moss’ performance in his first four years?
The creation of the technical centers was a positive achievement. Counteracting that achievement is Moss’ role in the deterioration of Public Trust in the District. His Ethics Commission plea bargain has embarrassed the District. We have a terrible teacher retention rate that cannot be blamed on salary alone; the environment that his style of management has created is a major factor in teachers’ reluctance to stay with the system. Dr Moss was instrumental in creating the mistrust and suspicion of the District’s finances by his refusal to respond to requests for information. When he did choose to respond, he insulted and demeaned both private citizens and Board Members, charging exorbitant fees for documents. Dr Moss’ reputation for bullying staff, citizens and Board Members has shown an unsuitability to be at the helm of such a vital and critical entity as the School District. His performance has been, at best, very disappointing.
What are the three most important issues you would address if elected? How?
The overarching issue is that of Public trust, so restoring that Trust tops my list. The District is merely running in place until that is achieved. The issue of the Board performing its true role and function is a close second. Only when that occurs will we have proper and appropriate ongoing financial oversight, objective and quantifiable evaluation of the Superintendent, and restoration of the proper relationship between the Board and its only employee. Last, but certainly not least, the Board must embrace transparency and “do the public’s business in public”. Historically, the Board has relied much too heavily on Executive Sessions, frequently failing in the FOIA’s requirement that the Public be informed as to what will be discussed behind closed doors. How will I help all that to be accomplished? ….. by working with and listening to my fellow Board members, keeping an open mind, and working to form consensus. I will demand honesty and transparency from myself and everyone else, and insist on full and open debate on issues and motions to ensure that there are no secrets being kept from the Public. That is how the Public will begin to believe in the Board once again.
Financial oversight, particularly of the district's credit card spending, has been in the spotlight in recent months. Would you have supported a more extensive audit of district spending? Why or why not?
I supported, and still support, a complete in-depth and independent audit of the District’s finances. The Administration’s watered down proposal to audit only the credit card for one year’s worth of transactions fails in three ways…. First,the credit card spending represents only 9% of total spending, leaving 91% of the quarter billion dollars that were spent unexamined. Secondly, a one year window for examination is generally acknowledged as an insufficient sampling. Lastly, the proposal was made by the very organization being audited!
How many Beaufort County Board of Education meetings have you attended in the past two years? What meeting did you last attend?
I have attended 24 Regular Board meetings, Committee Meetings and Board Workshops since last December (2016). In that span of time I have addressed the Board 22 times. My latest attendance was the 5 September Board Meeting.
Have you ever been convicted of a crime (felony), been disciplined by a professional licensing board or organization or had an ethics violation filed against you? If so, please give the details.
Have you ever filed for bankruptcy, been delinquent on your federal, state or local taxes? If so, please give the details.
Extreme medical bills in 2011 resulted in a voluntary Chapter 13 filing. The bankruptcy has been fully discharged.
Are there any personal details about yourself that voters would be interested in knowing?
I love music, listening to it and making music myself. I also love to read history and to learn from people who have done brave and meaningful things. I love spending time with my wonderful wife of so many years, Betsy, and our two adorable dogs, Jasmine and Baby. I am grateful for my family and humbled by the quality of my friends and associates, of their support for me, and for the opportunity to contribute to our childrens’ preparation for life as happy and productive citizens.
Election Day for Beaufort County District 6 Seat
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 17.
Precinct information for each community:
▪ Sun City, Pinckney Hall, 114 Sun City Lane
▪ Chechessee 2, Church of the Palms, 1425 Okatie Highway
▪ Bluffton 2D, Pritchardville Elementary, 9447 Evan Way
▪ Bluffton 4A, Lord of Life Lutheran Church, 351 Buckwalter Parkway
▪ Rose Hill, Colleton Point Club House, 1 Pavilion Point Drive
Unsure of which precinct you live in?
▪ You can also vote at the Beaufort Elections and Registration Office, 15 John Galt Road, or at the Bluffton Elections and Registration Office at 61B Ulmer Road.
▪ For more information, contact the Beaufort Elections and Registration Office at 843-255-6900 or the Bluffton Elections and Registration Office at 843-255-6940.