Joshua’s combined experiences in housing, community development, municipal planning, public education, town administration and public safety, coupled with his education, have equipped him with the experience and diverse skills necessary to serve effectively — from Day 1 — as Holyoke’s next Mayor.
Joshua’s 5+ years of experience in this management position allowed him to work closely with local government leadership across the Pioneer Valley to improve the efficiency of direct municipal service functions and achieve economies-of-scale for taxpayers, in the effort to solve problems and accomplish growth. This work included facilitating the Governor’s Community Compact program within our region and working with municipalities to prioritize ‘best practice’ efforts to improve local government services. Joshua has facilitated cross-departmental and cross-jurisdictional collaboration between stakeholders to accomplish shared priorities, draft feasibility studies and strategic action plans, and have created new programs to meet local and regional needs. Some of these include regional municipal accounting services, municipal IT services, shared Economic Development Director services, and shared police services. Garcia was also part of the project management team that has brought ValleyBike Share program to the region. Joshua also spearheaded the charge to draft the Hampden County Health Improvement Plan – a regional plan that is used by health and other governmental, education, economic development and human service sectors, in collaboration with community partners to set priorities and coordinate and target resources in order to enhance health outcomes for Hampden County residents.
Right after college, Joshua landed his first career opportunity at the Holyoke Housing Authority where he worked for five years. He started as the Resident Services Coordinator facilitating the organizations Family Self Sufficiency Program and later became one of two Property Managers, managing 448 subsidized housing units.
Garcia served one 3-year term in this Mayoral appointed position. Holyoke is one of the very few communities of a City the size of Holyoke that still practices this form of Government of which the operations of its Fire Department is overseen by a civilian board. The Fire Commissioners are responsible for overseeing the duties and responsibilities of the Fire Chief and operations of the Fire Department. The Commission also appoints, promotes, and disciplines, subject to the laws of the Commonwealth’s rules and regulations relating to Civil Service, members of the Fire Department and determine their rank and duties.
During Garcia’s time as Commissioner, he worked with management to achieve operational efficiency and maintained economies-of-scale by providing optimum management of Fire Department resources. This includes implementing a redeployment plan that maximizes the department’s existing assets. Rather than maintaining a system year-by-year that kept an engine browned out, relied heavily on an excessive overtime budget, and placed firefighters and public at risk by having the minimum number of men/women on a single truck or engine responding to calls, the change allowed the department to maximize on resources by reorganizing and strengthening the Fire Department’s position to ensure greater safety of public resources, residents, and personnel. Other successes included strengthening the hiring and promotional practices at the department.. Garcia helped establish a much more transparent and consistent hiring/promoting practice to de escalate any potential for nepotism. The system change allowed for greater accountability and helped set a new standard that ultimately improved morale across the department. He also worked with management to support efforts that streamlined EMS services with a much proactive approach to healthcare, supported efforts to implement citywide upgrades to the city’s radio communication infrastructure, help position the department to acquire a new engine, and supported efforts that leveraged millions of dollars of grant resources to maintain and expand the department’s purpose.
As Town Administrator, Joshua has been responsible for assuring effective management of town affairs and operation in accordance with all federal, state, and local laws, rules and regulations. A notable accomplishment was the immediate need to get its financial house in order and has been able to do so while cultivating an environment of collaboration at Town Hall which is reflected positively throughout the community. He helped reorganize and professionalize financial departments and made system changes to provide greater efficiency and accountability. The changes implemented allowed for an improved budget setting process, timely closing of books of previous fiscal years and reporting, strong free cash certification balances, a much more efficient warrant processing and payroll system, and timely completion of annual audits. With these core functions operating how they should be and it’s in-house in order, he was able to maximize on the town’s available resources through grants and local appropriations and made strategic investments in infrastructure, capital upgrades, and multiple investments in stabilization.