Erin Noonan has ‘unfinished business’

Photo by Erin Noonan

Erin Noonan is seeking reelection to her third-straight year on the Select Board come June 20. Currently living on the same street where she grew up, the longtime Marblehead resident wants to continue to have the opportunity to do what she feels is best for her hometown.

Noonan’s campaign website said she has a lengthy history of advocating for children and families both as an appellate attorney, volunteer organizations, and as the Select Board’s liaison to Marblehead’s Fair Housing Committee. She said her to desire to create a good future in Marblehead for her kids was a big reason she decided to run in 2021.

“I had a feeling that town government had become a little reactive and stagnant…,” said Noonan. “Raising my own family here, I really want to see this town prosper for my kids and future generations, and we need proactive leadership on the board.”

Some large-scale challenges Noonan felt Marblehead was facing also motivated her to run, and she said she wants to remain in her position to continue making progress on overcoming them. They include climate change, financial issues, coastal-resiliency efforts, the affordable-housing crisis, and the struggles businesses face.

At the League of Women Voters’ Candidates Night, Noonan discussed the reactive nature of previous Select Boards played a large role in the need for the $2.5 million dollar financial override that was recently passed.

“Do I wish town government and leadership had been more proactive in addressing the financial situation in town? Absolutely,” Noonan stated.

She said that free-cash spending should not be regularly used to balance town operations, but ultimately supports the override as the best option left available.

“I absolutely support it because at this time it is the financially responsible thing to do,” she said. “It’s just the reality, it’s basic math. We have rising costs that far exceed a 2.5 percent increase annually, our salaries and wages rise about 4 percent each year, employee health insurance rises at around 5 percent each year.”

She stressed the need for a legitimate multi-year financial plan, as she thinks the override is only suitable as a short-term solution.

Along with the override, another hot topic asked of the Select Board candidates this year is that of accessibility and general transparency between them and Marblehead residents. According to her campaign’s website, Noonan’s values include inclusivity, open-mindedness, and government transparency.

Noonan feels the recent effort of the town to provide resources to be better-educated on government happenings is evident, but there is still more that can be done to satisfy a population eager to be involved.

“The last town meeting was definitely a referendum in terms of our residents wishing to see more open government,” she said. “I’m committed to making town business more open and accessible to all.”

Noonan’s ideas for increased transparency include having an official policy-and-procedure list, posting meeting packets online, posting audit reports, and increasing the storage capacity of meeting recordings.

Noonan hopes to earn another year on the board so she can continue to implement her long-term ideas for sustained success.