Candidate Q&A: Mark Sideris

Watertown News: Please provide a brief description of yourself: your family, profession, any other relevant information.

Mark Sideris: I am married with 3 children who all sucessfully graduated from the Watertown public schools. I am also the proud grandfather of a 14 month old granddaughter. My brother and I own an auto body shop in Waltham.

WN: Please tell us about what inspired you to run for City Council President, and what experiences you have that would help you serve on the Council. 

MS: I want to continue as council president so I can work with my colleagues on the council and the school committee to keep the city moving forward on a number of issues we are working on. Having served as council president since 2010 has given me the opportunity and the knowledge need to accomplish a number of goals that we have set out, in particular with a number of changes to the City Charter.

WN: During your campaigning, what have you heard most from Watertown residents, and what was something that was a new issue or surprised you? 

MS: During this campaign I have heard a lot about overdevelopment and transparency. These were not surprising and if I am elected I will strive to work very hard on these issues.

WN: Watertown just kicked off the process to reimagine Watertown Square. Planners will be listening to input from the public over the coming weeks. What would you tell them are your priorities for the Square? What would you like to see changed in the center of town?

MS: I would like to see the square as more of a possible destination rather than just a cut through. I would like to see if there was a way to manage vehicle flow, pedestrian flow and bike flow through the area as we have thousands of cars that are just going though there that are using this as a way to get to their final destination.

WN: City Manager George Proakis has started to reorganize and add to Watertown’s Municipal Government. Which departments do you think need the most attention? Why, and what changes would you like to see?

MS: I am supportive of the changes that the City manager is making and I think the changes will make for a better community. I would like to see more done with long range planning in that office as well as providing more resources for the DPW to address streets and sidewalks and other infrastructure demands.

WN: As Watertown has grown and developed, the City’s public safety departments — Police and Fire — have been dealing with more incidents and emergencies. What can be done to help them, and would you support adding more personnel to these departments?

MS: We have experienced a large amount of growth in the city over the last few years and the public safety departments have remained the way they have been staffed historically. I believe this is an area the working with the city manager and the City council, we should look to increase the workforce where needed to deal with this growth. This is one of the only areas that we have not added resources like other areas in the City.

WN: The Council President also serves on the School Committee. What are the most pressing issues facing the Watertown Public Schools? Why, and explain how you would like the issue or issues tackled?

MS: My role on the school committee is to help to make sure that there is adequate funding for the education of our children. The administration has been implementing a number of initiatives and added staff to help with diversity, professional development and additional ways to collect data to help us understand what is needed for our kids. This is a very long process which is always evolving and an area where I think I can help.

WN: Tell us something about yourself that people may not know. 

MS: I love sitting on a beach on the Cape or in the Caribbean and reading a book to relax.