The candidates for Town Council President debated during the League of Women Voters Candidate Forum on Sunday.
Current President Mark Sideris is being challenged by former Council President Clyde Younger.
Younger said he has been involved in Watertown government since 1973 when he first ran for School Committee. He believes the council has allowed the Town Manager and his staff to have too much influence.
“I don’t think the town is going in the right direction,” Younger said. “At this point the council has put too much power in the hands of professional staff hired by the council.”
He would like to see the Town Manager evaluated and selected by the people of Watertown each election.
Mark Sideris has been on the Council for 18 years and said the town has been able to survive the worst economic downturn in years without major cuts to programs.
“We haven’t laid people off and have preserved programs,” Sideris said.
Sideris said he is always looking for ways to improve the services provided by the town.
“There are a number of great people doing great things in town, but there are ways we can improve,” Sideris said.
One way is by sharing services with other towns. The town started sharing its wire inspector with Belmont recently and also shares a dog officer with them, Sideris said. He wants to look for more places to share resources.
Younger also wants to find places where Watertown could collaborate with other towns. He suggested sharing public safety - police and fire – with Belmont
Development on has not been going in the right direction, Younger said. He said the town leaders allowed 750 apartments to be built along Pleasant Street and Waltham Street.
Sideris said he wants to make sure that developers take surrounding neighborhoods’ concerns into account when they plan a development in Watertown. He also would stand up at meetings and speak on behalf of residents’ concerns.
The election is Tuesday, Nov. 5.