Dennen: Mutter offers solutions-oriented approach

Dennen: Mutter offers solutions-oriented approach

In next week’s primary election, Cumberland will choose its mayor for the next two years. The race has been painted by some as largely a battle over support for the schools.

But I feel like both candidates understand the importance of a strong school system to the town. So, instead of writing about the impact the election may or may not have on the schools, I’d like to share my thoughts about one of the candidates.

I remember being impressed by Jeff Mutter when he served on the Town Council in the early 2000s. I attended a few council meetings back then and it was clear to me that Jeff was a knowledgeable and caring leader, and that he had the respect of other members of the council.

His move from the Town Council to the School Committee coincided with my children entering the school district.

During this time, the school department was in trouble and I, like many parents, wondered what the future would bring for the schools. But, under Jeff’s leadership, the School Committee made several necessary changes, including hiring a new superintendent and other leaders, instituting full-day kindergarten, and investing in technology to name a few. It’s not an exaggeration to say these changes had a tremendous, positive impact and turned the district around.

When I joined the School Committee in the summer of 2014, I was immediately struck by Jeff’s collaborative leadership style. More recently, I served on the Educational Funding and Development Commission, which Jeff chaired.

Jeff leads by example – always pushing to “do the right thing” in all areas, including focusing on improving student outcomes, improving transparency and openness, challenging the administration where appropriate, inviting collaboration and discussion, and making sound financial decisions.

I don’t mean to suggest that Jeff has all the answers to everything. Instead, I’ve found that he is open to new ideas and differing opinions. He encourages group discussion and collaboration in order to make the best decisions, while thinking about their long-term impact, too.

Jeff has a way of bringing focus to what’s important and in the best interest of those he serves, whether they be residents and taxpayers or students. His solutions-oriented approach, combined with his experience on the Town Council and the School Committee, make him uniquely qualified to be our mayor. For these reasons, Jeff Mutter has my enthusiastic support.

Bill Dennen

Cumberland

Dennen is vice chairman of the School Committee. He is not seeking re-election.