Your Neighbors • Your Priorities
Board of Finance
left to right: Karen Ogden and Dave Ulmer.
Please scroll down to read more about us.
Primary Objective: Fiscal Responsibility
Keeping Ridgefield tax increases to a minimum while maintaining value for all of our citizens through responsible town and school budgets, with overall levels set by the Board of Finance and approved annually by the voters.
Overseeing the prudent management of Ridgefield’s long-term financial obligations and resources.
Other Major Objectives:
Debt Management: Continuing to pay down Ridgefield’s outstanding debt according to plan, while borrowing only for long-term capital projects and necessary infrastructure.
General Fund Usage: Maintenance of our AAA bond rating by meeting budgeted revenues and expenses, while using surpluses, above an 8-9 percent “rainy day” cushion, for tax relief.
Tried and thoroughly true, Dave brings a wealth of experience, reliability and steadiness to his bid for re-election to Ridgefield’s Board of Finance. First elected in 2003, Dave proved himself a worthy and valued board member; in 2011, he was voted Chair.
Dave brings more than 30 years of airline industry experience in aircraft scheduling, route selection, market development, pricing, competitive strategy and profitability analysis. An original fundraiser, investor and consultant with JetBlue Airways, Dave served as VP for planning in the company’s Financial and Planning Office in Darien, CT, from 1999 until his retirement in 2007. He has extensive consulting experience. His expertise has been sought to provide expert economic testimony in administrative law proceedings, bankruptcy court hearings and depositions in civil litigation. Further, Dave taught history, government and statistics as a part-time professor at Regis College (Denver, CO) from 1971 to 1974.
In addition to his Board of Finance seat, Dave serves as Treasurer of the Ridgefield Orchestra Foundation. He has been a board member of the Foundation since 2014. A devoted member of the Wolfpit Running Club since 2000, he served as its president for three years. His deep interest in bridge led eventually to his becoming a member of the six-state District 17 Regional Board of Governors of the American Contract Bridge Association.
Born in Milwaukee, WI, and raised in Villa Park, IL, Dave graduated magna cum laude with a BA in International Studies and a minor in Economics from Bradley University (Peoria, IL). He earned an MA in International Economics from the Denver University Graduate School of International Studies.
A resident of Ridgefield since 1999 and formerly a widower, Dave remarried in 2007.
Why I'm Running
My name is Dave Ulmer and I am running for re-election to the Board of Finance. I have served on the BOF for sixteen years, the last eight as Chair. I am running for another term because I wish to continue to serve the citizens of Ridgefield with my experience and intimate knowledge of the Town’s financial resources and issues.
My expertise is in strategic planning. I retired in 2008 as one of the founders and as Vice President, Planning for JetBlue. I am known as a person who does his homework, who listens to constituents, answers questions, and who always acts transparently. I am your neighbor and I share your priorities.
The Board of Finance is responsible for the sound long-term financial condition of Ridgefield. Under my leadership, the BOF has kept spending increases to a minimum while still providing excellent services and low property tax increases to all taxpayers, particularly after the 2008-2009 recession. I have insisted that current expenses be paid from current revenues and that only valid projects, which will be utilized in the long term by future Ridgefielders, be capitalized and bonded, thus legitimately incurring additional interest expense over time. I have worked collaboratively and transparently with all Board Members and citizens, and will continue to do so.
I ask for your vote to continue my service to the Town.
Professional finance executive Karen Ogden’s depth of experience and wide-ranging career in many different aspects of finance ensures that she will bring both an expert and valuable
perspective to BOF deliberations.
A compliance officer at NYC’s Guggenheim Partners covering all their sales and trading business since 2016, Ogden is deeply rooted in Ridgefield life. She has served on the board of the Woodcock Nature Center for four years, even stepping in as interim executive director from 2015-16. Her husband is a Ridgefield realtor and, apparently, a die-hard Chicago Bears fan. They have 2 children.
With a BA in finance from Boston College and an MBA from the University of Chicago, Karen went on in 2015 to pursue a graduate certificate in Sustainability from Harvard’s Extension School, thus fulfilling the second part of her twin career interests in finance and environmental concerns. Karen and her family relocated to NY from Chicago in 2005 with Bank of America when she was promoted to chief operating officer for fixed income trading. Following a visit to Ridgefield, Karen and her husband fell in love with the town. They moved here in 2011. They are tuned in and attuned to what makes Ridgefield appealing and also to what Ridgefielders care about most.
Karen is running for BOF to get involved in town governance. “I understand the need for compromise and the importance of knowing both sides of every situation--rarely is any important decision clear cut.”
Why I'm Running
I am running for Ridgefield’s Board of Finance because I love our town, I have a passion for digging into the details, I bring wide-ranging experience in many different aspects of finance, and I believe that every contribution can be impactful and create the kernels of change.
My career has spanned 30 years in finance and financial services. I currently work for a NY-based investment bank and have previously worked for The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and Bank of America. Having also been the Chief Administraive Officer for a $30-million dollar trading business as well as setting the annual budget for Woodcock Nature Center, I am acutely aware of the importance of valuing every dollar and not assuming that “what has always been done” is necessarily the best way forward. I get into the details of every role I take on and find particular enjoyment in finding ways to cut costs with little to no negative consequences. I also understand the need for compromise and considering both sides of every situation—rarely is any important decision clear cut.
My family and I have lived in Ridgefield for more than 8 years, and I recently stepped off the Board of Directors at Woodcock Nature Center, where I experienced the challenges and rewards of community engagement. I am eager to be involved more deeply with our town. Ridgefield is a unique community that is rich with talent, opportunity and diversity; I would be honored to be part of our town government. I will approach the role of advisor on the town’s budget with the seriousness it requires, and I will bring my unique perspective to our deliberations. Thank you for your support!
Election day is November 5th, 2019