The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, October 31, 2003


Ray Wilkes appointed to FinCom

On Tuesday evening, on the recommendation of the Finance Committee, the Board of Selectmen unanimously approved the appointment of Ray J. Wilkes to the FinCom for a two-year term, to expire at the close of the Annual Town Meeting of May 2005.

The FinCom had voted to recommend Ray Wilkes for the open position at its meeting on October 21, when Wilkes and two other candidates were on hand to present their credentials. "We were delighted to have three excellent candidates," said Chair Lisa Jensen-Fellows. "It was really a struggle to make a decision."

Wilkes, who is currently retired, was a founder of Altavista, the company which developed the web search engine of the same name, and a member of a Compaq/Hewlett Packard integration team which analyzed budget issues. Noting that "community service runs in my family and is in my genes," Wilkes modestly characterized himself as "just a person who thinks this might be interesting and who has skills that might apply." He has lived in Carlisle for ten years, after growing up in Lexington and living in Bedford, Sudbury and Concord. He and his wife Anne have three children in the public schools.

Wilkes expressed considerable interest in "creative revenue generation" such as fees for use of town resources. "We can't keep pumping taxes up, in spite of the wealth of the community," he noted. He also pointed to the "ton of really talented people in the community" and the need for getting talented people involved in town government "in the right spots." As an example, the school is in need of technical help to upgrade a computer network that is "really archaic."

According to Jensen-Fellows, Wilkes offers "a strong financial background and an interesting lifestyle combination being retired with three kids in the schools." She said his retired status will help him represent the "significant percentage of the town that is retired" while providing him with "the time to devote to the demands of the FinCom." She also said his long residence in town was a positive as the committee was looking for longevity. "Getting up the learning curve takes more time than you expect," she said Jensen. "The greatest contribution to the committee comes in the second and subsequent years."

FinCom diversity

Is the makeup of the committee a concern? Jensen-Fellows noted that five of seven FinCom members have children in the public schools. She has heard criticism that there is no conservationist in the membership. However, she said, no conservationist applied even after she approached several people.

Believing that there is adequate diversity on the committee, Jensen-Fellows observed, "Our discussions show a real range of opinions on the key issues facing the town."

2003 The Carlisle Mosquito