Meet Jeffrey Bodmer-Turner, Select Board Candidate


My name is Jeffrey Bodmer-Turner and I am asking for your vote to return for a second term to the Manchester Select Board in our Town election on May 17.  I am running for a second term to address many of the significant challenges we continue to face as a town.

In 2018 I retired from a two-decade career as a Technology Teacher in both of the Manchester Essex Regional School District elementary schools.  As an educator working with my colleagues, I helped to develop and implement data-driven decision planning to achieve clear goals for students with strategies that were continuously reassessed to determine their effectiveness.  In my previous career as a Forensic Psychologist I applied similar data-based decision making processes to evaluate risks, establish goals and to make recommendations to Probation and Parole Officers, Child Welfare workers, and the Courts.  I bring these skills to my efforts to find solutions with the Select Board and to support the many other volunteer boards in our town.

Throughout my tenure as an educator-leader I became very familiar with both Town and MERSD budgeting processes.  As a town we face challenges for fiscally responsible decision-making with affordable housing, drinking water and wastewater systems, and supporting our local businesses.  Going forward we must continue to find a path to develop truly affordable housing within reach of young families and workers who serve our community.  As we recognize from the poorly sited and inadequately planned 40B project, we must face the constraints of state laws with well-developed plans we propose to make “adequate progress” toward safe harbor protections from future 40B developers.

We need to continue to fund infrastructure improvements to our drinking water and wastewater treatment systems.  During the past year I worked with our Board and other Town Boards to reestablish the Water Resources Protection Task Force to create specific recommendations protecting our drinking water supply.  The Select Board looks forward to their progress toward an updated plan.

The DPW has been monitoring the presence of PFAS, potentially toxic organic compounds in our drinking water.  PFAS are organic compounds that do not degrade over time.  The challenge is that the amounts of PFAS identified to date in our water supply are approaching state thresholds requiring mitigation.  The good news is that our DPW maintains a rigorous testing program and that these contaminants may be addressed with existing technologies.  As a town we may face a significant mitigation cost in the near-term for which we do need to plan.  I support our current efforts to continue to monitor for the presence of PFAS and to work with our State Senator and Representative for grant support to offset mitigation impact of the capital costs on our budget.

In the long-term our Board is working to understand local climate change impacts and to plan for projects to decrease the impact of rising sea level intrusion. We are considering the costs of re-enforcing/relocating the Wastewater Treatment Plant and identifying best strategies to preserve Singing Beach.  These are complex, expensive issues that need to be addressed with more than lip service to the long-term implications.

If I am re-elected, I will continue with the Board our efforts to address the impact of the pandemic on our local businesses.  We have made some small progress toward increasing parking access to the businesses in the Village core by using ARPA funds to build a walkway from Town Hall Parking directly to Beach Street.  We thank our Town Administrator for finalizing a right-of-way agreement for the public to cross a private parking area to complete the path.  We now have plans to create a comprehensive parking plan for the downtown which draws on the resources of the Planning Board and multiple town committees and many volunteers.  All these small steps support the return of a vibrant economy at the center of our town. 

As a candidate to be your Select Board Member, I bring many skills to the demands of the position.  I have a strongly developed, collaborative, problem-resolving approach.  I have learned to listen closely to concerns and different viewpoints on issues.  Working from data and balancing competing interests to resolve issues is integral to my approach.  I hope you will support me with your vote on Tuesday, May 17.

Thank you for your consideration.