Gazette profiles Max as candidate

In a series of profiles to introduce the candidates for Rockville City Council, the Gazette, a local weekly newspaper, featured Max in the September 16 issue.  Staff writer Nathan Carrick opened his story with,

Anyone who knows Max van Balgooy knows he has a passion for preserving the past. But he said it is his passion for shaping a better future that inspired him to run for Rockville City Council.

The 47-year-old Twinbrook resident, who serves as president of the Rockville Historic District Commission and works as director of education for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, said both personal and public motivations are behind his candidacy.

“The personal reason is that my whole life has been devoted to community service,” he said. “It’s very fulfilling for me.”

For the complete story, visit “Political Newcomer Seeks Seat on Council.”

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2 responses

  1. Hi Max…I’m just beginning to look into your candidacy for council and will read more from your website. I saw where you specifically mentioned the future of Redgate as an issue you want to address, but I can’t see where you stand on the issue and what it is you want to do going forward. Based on your very brief summary of orientation day, Redgate must have been mentioned, again, as a issue because it is losing money.

    You may or may not know that I have been a strong supporter and advocate of the golf course and have been seeking changes in how it is measured and subsidized. I would like to know what about how you see the issue, your position and what you would if you were on the council today.

    Thanks,

    Joe

    1. Thanks for your comment, Joe. Yes, I do know you’re a strong supporter of the golf course from your testimony at the Mayor and Council meetings. Redgate Golf Course has and will be an issue for the City both because it was was established as an Enterprise Fund (which as you know means it should be self-supporting, just like the trash and water funds, but has been running a deficit for the past few years) and the City (not just the golf course) has been running deficits for the past three years (which is can no longer sustain). Although some might say that we need to immediately cut our losses by raising green fees or closing the facility, I’d like to understand the situation better before making a pronouncement.

      One of my responsibilities in my job is to evaluate business performance and develop strategic plans for organizations across the country, so I understand that things are usually more complex than they seem at the outset. Every organization is different, so there’s no simple “one size fits all” answer. At this point, I’m trying to locate a copy of the golf course business plan that was adopted a few years ago and secondly, figure out the history of the golf course and why it was set up as an Enterprise Fund. Those two items will give me a much better understanding of the situation, and then if I am elected, I would follow up with an examination of the goals and objectives to determine if they are appropriate and achievable (which would include a discussion with a variety of informed people, including the managers and users of the golf course). It’s only at that point that I could have sufficient information to begin to determine next steps.

      Now, that’s what I would do in the best of all possible worlds but given the City’s financial situation, we may not have time. I suspect the financial shortfalls will be very serious in 2010 and in general, my tactic in these situations has been to “cut away from the mission”, that is, remind ourselves of the mission and goals of the organization and cut programs and activities that don’t support them. This won’t be easy. We’ll need a Mayor and Council that can work through this quickly and know what they’re doing, just like a surgical team, and I suspect at the end we won’t be very popular. I don’t advocate “across the board cuts” and “closing entire programs”–it may avoid the tough decisions but can actually do more harm (do we really want the police to answer phones to answer 10% fewer calls? or only 90% of the homes have their trash picked up?).

      I’ll keep thinking about this issue because if I am elected, we’ll need to address it right away. It’s been stewing for too long and no clear resolution seems to be in sight. Thanks again for your comment. Max

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