FRANKLIN — Saying he wants to fix the city’s infrastructure while helping the city council to begin “truly listening” to the school board, controversial former School Board Chairman Ray Yonaitis has announced he is running for the city council.
In the Oct. 7 election, Yonaitis is challenging incumbent first-term Councilman Bob Desrochers Sr. for a three-year term in Ward 2.
Yonaitis, 55, who works for Unitil in Concord, moved to Franklin in 2003 and joined the school board in 2004. He was elected chairman in 2011. He retired from the board in December 2013, saying he wanted to do other things.
Yonaitis was chairman of the school board in April 2013, when the board chose not to rehire former Franklin High School football coach Greg Husband because of some complaints of alleged unsportsmanlike conduct among Husband’s players, causing an uproar among some residents.
Husband, who denied the allegations, ran and was elected last fall to the city council.
Yonaitis said he wants the council to work on the city’s infrastructure “now before it’s too late and it costs many times more to fix,” he said.
“A strategic plan needs to be put in place like was done with the school district. We need to remember what worked 20 years ago has a very good chance of being outdated today and unworkable today,” he said.
The city also must fix its deteriorating roads, he said.
“I think a bond that limits the payments to a percentage of the (city’s tax) cap increase so there is room to handle the cost of living increases and unexpected expenditures would work,” he said.
“As bonds are paid, we need to look at (capital improvements) to see what needs immediate attention. Once we do that, we can decide on getting a new bond for what is needed to be repaired on many projects that have deteriorated versus doing a quick fix on one problem,” he said.
“One of our major accomplishments in the school district while under my leadership as the school board chair was to outline reachable short- and long-term facility improvements. We need to do the same for the city,” he said.
On the school system, the council needs to begin “truly listening to and working with the school board for the children of our city. What most businesses and potential new residents look at is what the state of the education is in their new location.”
“By working toward improving the education of the city’s children as a joint team, this can only improve our community as a whole and help make this community a sought after destination. Once this happens, you will see our community grow and more business come.”