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Our town deserves leadership and competent management.
I am Fred Cecere. I have been a resident of the Town of Chevy chase and have lived with my wife Catherine and our family at 4503 Leland Street since 1999. I served as one of town council members from May 2015- May 2017, as the Town Treasurer from 2015-2016 and as the Town Secretary from 2016-2017. I am a physician, foundation director, educator, lecturer, communicator and leader.
Three years ago as your Treasurer, I worked closely with our Town Manager to continue delivery of services expected by our citizens but within a dramatically reduced budget necessitated by two overlapping events: the United States Supreme Court ‘s decision in the Wynne case, which had the effect of reducing revenue to the Town; and our discovery, following an audit that I demanded, that the State had distributed to our Town, over the previous five years, revenue of about $5.6 million to which we were not entitled. Through changes to staffing and regulatory reform, we were able to craft a budget that continued services at previous levels while absorbing an almost $1 million reduction in annual revenue.
I championed the expansion of administrative variances and relaxing of land-use ordinances, promoting neighborliness and cooperation rather than contention and divisiveness. I successfully fought for eliminating the Town’s Tree Board as unnecessary. My philosophy was as follows: First, homeowners should be able to exercise reasonable control of their property, as long as their actions do not compromise public safety or unfairly impinge on neighbor’s rights. Second, no one should be required to maintain a tree that poses a threat to lives or property. I pledge to continue to be guided by this set of values if elected.
These achievements by the Council required all councilmembers to act with common purpose. My philosophy, was to stick to the issues, reduce disagreement, and promote compromise. I propose to bring these principles to the next Council through hard work, fiscal discipline, governmental transparency, critical analysis, and respect for fellow Councilmembers.
If elected I will address traffic congestion on our borders and within our community. I will support the Public Safety committee developing a Long Range Public Safety Plan that recommends revisions to our traffic and parking ordinances. Ordinances that when enacted are diligently enforced to protect our children while they walk to school, reduce the overall speed through the town and eliminate parking by non-residents on our crowded streets. I will support increased police presence to enforce these ordinances and work with the county to reduce congestion and smooth traffic flow on Wisconsin, Bradley and East West Highway, and decrease the non-resident traffic through our town.
During the recent candidate forum I was pleased to hear the views of all the candidates. Representing a cross-section of our town, this group of candidates bring diverse skills to the table. No, we “can’t all be quarterbacks”. But, during the next few years, confronting issues such as the Purple Line and the development of downtown Bethesda, we will need experienced leadership.
I have 26 years of military medical experience. I retired from the Army in 1997, having attained the rank of Colonel and having served in over a dozen challenging leadership assignments. One of these assignments during the first Persian Gulf War 1990-1991, required me to command hundreds of senior medical professionals. As their commander, it was my responsibility to organize them into medical units, deploy them to the combat theater and disperse them back to their homes after the war. They were organized into over 30 medical units, all units were deployed and all returned safely having successfully accomplished their missions.
Leaders must embrace a clear vision and action plan or no one will follow them. A leader is powerless without people who believe in their vision and ability. That vision must be carefully crafted and inclusive of the entire community. To be impactful, this vision must be communicated clearly and concisely. I am the leader you can trust, who will communicate our views with passion and clarity.
As a leader, I will listen to all of the divergent opinions and help craft these opinions into a positive view of the future. I have the experience and knowledge to deal with the forces impacting on our town both from within and from our neighboring communities. I will be able to facilitate congenial and productive relationships with the leaders of Montgomery County and the state government.
I will work to ensure:
Pedestrian safety.- “Safe walkways for all school age children preserve walkability throughout the town.”
Fiscal responsibility- “Balance the budget while reducing cost of government without disrupting services”
Protection of property rights- “Lead the effort to allow property owners to remove dangerous trees while protecting the tree canopy”
Transparency in government- “Continue to keep the residents informed of all council actions and deliberations”
Responsiveness to residents issues and needs- "Work toward easing land use ordinances while preserving the charm and character of the town”
Please vote for me on May 1st.