Candidate Profile: Ted Bourke
Ted Bourke is running as a Republican for Township Committee.
Editor's Note: Each of the four candidates for Township Committee were given standard questions to answer about their stance on a variety of issues. They also were given a limited word count for their answers. These answers are in their own words.
Name: Ted Bourke
Years lived in town: 21
Family info: Married to Kathleen for 22 years. She is chair of MHS Senior Celebration and a past treasurer of the HS PTO. We have three children: Sean, a freshman at St Josephs in Philadelphia; Katie, a senior at MHS,; Connor, a sophomore at MHS.
Educational background: BS in Industrial Management from Purdue University, 1981
Occupation: Retired from Accenture in 2003 after 22 years. Career highlights include being the partner in charge of the Verizon Account which was one of the top 5 clients at Accenture.
Community/political background: Millburn Short Hills Youth Baseball: Executive Board, Treasurer, Manager of the 13 and 14 year old spring and summer baseball teams- three state championships in last 2 years. Have held various other positions since 2003.
Millburn Sports Activity Foundation: Treasurer and Chairman - raised $2.5 million of private funds to install two turf fields and a new track at the high school. Over 600 families and businesses contributed.
Other: Treasurer of the MHS Diamond Club baseball booster club for 4 years, treasurer of the MHS 5th Quarter Club football booster club for 3 years various roles at St Rose of Lima including School Board president, choir member, Parish Council member, lector, and various ad hoc committees.
1. How would you tackle keeping taxes down?
The current economic condition and the current financial crisis in the state, make this mandatory. However, the challenge is not keeping taxes down, but doing so and maintaining our current level of services. We are a financially sound township—debt is low, capital expenditures are carefully managed and operating expenditures are prudently managed. The next steps to be taken focus on shared services: maintaining service levels and reducing overhead costs.
2. What is your stance on the new 2 percent tax increase cap and the governor's efforts to keep local taxes down?
To be candid, it's irrelevant for Millburn. This mandate will not put us in a fiscal crisis, and given the current economy, I will advocate that the Township maintain our services, maintain our financial position and, through shared services, reduce our costs to do so. A little known fact about the cap it that debt is excluded—so townships could mortgage the future to meet current operation costs—we should never do that.
3. What is your stance on commuter parking and downtown parking issues?
My criteria for determining what should be done and when, is based on the following:
A. The solution must offer a feasible, stand alone business case—revenues must offset costs. We are already looking at how to keep our services up while reducing costs, and taking on debt/expenses to subsidize this, is questionable in this economy.
B. The plan cannot be shortsighted—such as solving the commuter problem without planning for future downtown needs.
4. What other issue do you think is a big one the Township Committee needs to tackle? What is your stance?
We have reduced costs, and maintained services. We are exploring high impact shared services to further reduce costs and maintain services. If the economy and state financial situations continue, what do we do next?
The changes necessary going forward are typically harder and more complicated. We need to begin planning now, so we can act when needed. Ideally, the plan centers on alternative revenue sources that can allow services to be maintained but not increase property taxes.
5. What skills would you bring to the Township Committee?
My 22 years at Accenture provided me with skills and experiences that are key to the challenges the township faces today. My career is loaded with experiences of identifying creative ways to cut costs, to generate alternative sources of revenue. The experiences, however, were not simply financials—they were about the businesses, the operations, and the people—not just getting the math right, but addressing the operational changes to keep the businesses running smoothly.
6. Why are you running?
I have always believed in the core principles that define Millburn: residential integrity, strong, conservative financials, and a small town atmosphere. Because of the economy and the state crisis, we face some tough challenges now, and I simply feel that I have the experiences and skills to help.
I would like to think that my love and commitment to Millburn is understood by the voters due to my extensive volunteerism over the last few years.