UPDATE: Election results available here.
Candidate for Ramapo Trustee18 Brookside Avenue, Airmont
Employment: Current: Quest Diagnostics Fortune 500 Diagnostics company EHS Manager, East Region Direct the Environment Health Safety & Compliance program for a region covering 5000 employees, 450 Patient Service Centers, 1000 vehicles and divers and 4 major laboratories. Former US Army Active Duty Commissioned Officer -Blackhawk Helicopter Pilot in command -Operations Officer
Education: MS: Occupational Health Safety & Environmental Management; BS: Professional Aeronautics / Business Management; Licensed Commercial /Instrument Rated Pilot; DOD Certified Aviation & Ground Safety Officer; DOD Certified Accident Investigator and Board President; DOD Certified Risk Management Train-the-Trainer; OSHA 501 Certified Instructor;
Tenure: Homeowner in Airmont NY, 10 firstname.lastname@example.org
Election Central: Why are you running for office or seeking re-election?
Milillo: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
First, I would like to thank the Board of Education, Staff and Voters of the Ramapo Central School District who supported my appointment into the Board vacancy in March. It has been an honor to give back to this great community in this capacity, and the feedback from everyone has been fantastic and has made the hard work of getting up to speed in a short amount of time very rewarding!
When I applied to the Board of Education vacancy in February, I did so at the urging of friends and family who had concerns about the challenges that our district was facing and that thought I had much to offer.
When I interviewed, I had stated that my wife and I were proud to live here and have our two young children attend school at Ramapo Central. The district is a fantastic place to raise a family and provides a top tier educational experience for its students.
I shared with the Board and the Public in attendance my background in relation to the challenges that I saw facing the district:
As we all know, due to government legislation and other forces outside the control of the district, we are in a challenging time. The New York State Gap Elimination Adjustment has resulted in the district being shorted $12M over the past five years alone. Since 2010, the District has needed to use over $10M dollars in reserve funds in order to balance the budget, and we all know that this trend cannot continue. Adding to the financial stress is the potential loss of commercial tax base with Novartis closing and unfunded NYS mandates confound the issue. Additionally, seven union contracts, including the Ramapo Teacher Association contract, will expire within the next year. The Common Core roll out in NYS has been a huge disappointment, stressing students, parents and educators.
The Board evaluated my assessment of the challenges in front of us, reviewed my background and agreed that I would be a valued member to the team and offered me an appointment on the Board.
When I got the offer, I was extremely humbled at the awesome responsibility that had been placed in front of me. I accepted, and got down to the business of quickly learning the governance and finance procedures, studied the district policies and examined the 2014-2015 budget that was being actively proposed. I met with the RTA President, the Superintendent on numerous occasions, and started a PTA outreach program: all in two crazy months!
During the next couple of years, the Ramapo Central School District will require strong leadership in order navigate the challenges in front of it and come out stronger in the end, and I believe that I have shown through the results in my professional and civic experience that I have the professionalism, work ethic and technical ability to continue to be part of the Team.
I have a deep belief in the potential, value and critical role of Public Education. Working with such great professionals, watching the students in their various roles and activities and being part of such a great organization has already been a rewarding experience.
Continuing to do so would be an honor that I will continue to respect.
Election Central: What in your personal, civic or professional experience recommends your election or return to office?
Milillo: A school district is a complex multi-million dollar organization that has many moving parts and people that all strive for a singular purpose: To provide a top tier education and experience to our students.
As a Commissioned Officer in the Active Duty United States Army for 10 years, I operated in very demanding, highly technical environments. That experience has been followed by a near-decade in Senior Leadership roles in two Fortune 500 Companies, which now combine for nearly 20 years of successful Leadership in situations that are directly relevant in helping a school district achieve and maintain excellence.
The military trains its officers and gives us the tools to drive towards mission accomplishment. Our mission in the District is to provide an outstanding education and experience to our students while being stewards of the public funds. Corporate experience teaches its senior management to provide a top quality product or service while staying within budget. It is our responsibility as Board Members to maintain a balanced budget in the school district and to ensure that every dollar that is spent for our students is spent wisely.
Teamwork is very important to Board of Education success. In the military, I have a superb record of mission accomplishment. In the civilian sector, I have personally led or been a significant Team member on over 100 capital projects that have been delivered on time and on budget. I routinely lead cross-functional teams on complex investigations and projects, and interact with government agencies, unions and accrediting bodies on a day to day basis.
My teams and I have been recognized for obtaining World Class results in both my business and military units.
I believe that I have shown in my short time on the Board that I can continue to bring this level of Team and individual performance to the Ramapo Central School District as a Board of Education Trustee.
Election Central: What would be your top three priorities if you are elected or re-elected?
Milillo: The majority of the current challenges that the District faces can be summed up in three major areas:
1. Expenses exceeding Current Revenue
2. Loss of local governance capability due to current NYS and Federal legislation
3. Policy Gaps and Deficiencies
These challenges are recognized, and will be tackled through strategic Planning and Goal setting with the following priorities in mind:
1. Prioritizing Long term budget planning coupled with Cost Saving opportunities that preserve educational excellence
2. Advocacy to Albany through our legislature that restore our funding and to change the laws that limit our ability to self-govern
3. Policy Review and updating (For Example: Security and Safety; Special Education and 504 Plans )
No individual Board member could make any promise to tackle such adversity alone. It will take a combined, team effort of hard working professionals with relevant technical experience and background in order to come together and solve these problems while maintaining the educational excellence that makes this district great.
It must be stressed that committees to tackle these priorities are now in place and are actively moving forward to adapt to these challenges.
As an individual Board member we must realize that while we all have an individual responsibility to perform our work, come prepared, and become proficient on the laws, polices and regulations that we must work under, it is of the utmost importance that the Board of Education functions as a cohesive Team in order for it to drive success, and that we must communicate all initiatives, challenges and progress to the public regularly and reliably in order to maintain their confidence.
I know that through my military, corporate, and now Board of Education experience that I can continue to act as a highly productive member of this team, and I appreciate your continued support and confidence in me as a Ramapo Central Board of Education Trustee.