Paul became politically active in late 2007, when Natick Public Schools proposed closing Johnson Elementary School to close an anticipated gap in the Town’s FY2009 budget. Like many of Natick’s politically active volunteers, his interest in one issue sparked curiosity about “why” did things get to that point, “how” does local government work, and “what” can he/we do about it?
From his early experience working with the Yes For Natick! 2008 Operating Override leadership team, Paul felt strongly that government needed to do better. The hasty consideration of closing a school to “find money” for an annual operating budget, and the budgeting process itself, created an uneasy tension between the municipal government and school department and their elected boards.
Town government seemed lacked a holistic view of its priorities and operations, and the stress from a polarized community made understanding and solving this challenge very difficult.
Paul established a reputation for listening objectively to all perspectives, learning what he didn’t know, and striving to find common ground to achieve sustainable improvements to the Town of Natick’s operations across the municipal government, school department, and within its public-private partnerships.