FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 14, 2021
Holyoke, MA – Holyoke won’t have time for a learning curve with its next Mayor, according to Mayoral candidate Joshua A. Garcia. Himself a seasoned municipal administrator, Garcia says Holyoke can’t afford inexperienced municipal leadership.
“It’s not an option to experiment with different approaches to good governance. I’m ready to hit the ground running on Day One to get Holyoke’s local government on a stronger path forward. Our city is a $160-million operation and it’s managed very loosely,” he said. “We need a management system that has the oversight, accountability and financial foresight to ensure departments are properly supported and services are provided without interruption.” Holyoke’s current problems owe to a lack of basic municipal management, Garcia said.
“My careers has been dedicated to working with local governments across the Pioneer Valley and, most recently, in Blandford. I have spent years reviewing municipal operations and identifying solutions to improve service efficiency and economies-of-scale,” he said. “Good governance coupled with equity and inclusion are critical if we want to improve the quality-of-life we all care about. Our overall community and environmental health depend on it.”
Before becoming Blandford’s Town Administrator, Garcia was Municipal Services Managers at the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission. He facilitated cross-departmental and cross-jurisdictional collaboration among stakeholders to achieve shared priorities. His work involved drafting feasibility studies and strategic action plans, and creating 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 brought the ValleyBike Share program to the region. He also led the charge to draft the Hampden County Health Improvement Plan — a regional approach now used by the health, education, economic development and human service sectors to coordinate resources to enhance public health.
As Town Administrator, Garcia has been responsible for assuring effective management of town affairs and operations in accordance with federal, state, and local regulations. He stepped in after the Department of Revenue issued Blandford an unfavorable report, citing negative free cash balances, untimely reporting, a lack of reconciliations and budget items posted in the wrong places, which ultimately led to the discovery of fraud. Garcia helped reorganize and professionalize financial departments and made system changes to provide greater efficiency and accountability. The changes implemented allowed for an improved budget process, timely closing of books of previous fiscal years, 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 as they should, he was better able deploy the town’s financial resources to make strategic investments in infrastructure and capital upgrades, and multiple investments in stabilization.
“We need to reorganize our local government and implement responsible management practices of our local resources or the state will step in and do it for us,” Garcia said. “It will be an honor to draw on my experience in municipal management and my love for my hometown to serve the residents — all the residents — of Holyoke.”
Contact: Joshua A. Garcia, 413.306.8926, firstname.lastname@example.org