Above: Former Town Moderator John Wilson moderated a Q&A with this year’s candidates for Town Moderator. (image cropped from SAM video)
On Thursday, candidates for Town office answered questions at Candidates’ Night. I can’t capture all the great comments, so recommend viewing Southborough Access Media’s video. But I know many of you won’t, so I’ll try to summarize the highlights!
Today’s post focuses on the three candidates for Town Moderator: Desiree Aselbekian, Bill Boland, and Stephen Morreale all told the public they were running at the urging of others.
The Moderator has two important roles. The most public one is running Town Meeting, which Morreale referred to as the Town’s legislature and part of the Southborough’s important checks and balances.
All candidates suggested improvements could be made to improve efficiency of the meeting and encourage participation. All agreed that it was important to balance allowing voters to speak and moving along the meeting.
The second duty is to appoint members to the Advisory Committee, the Personnel Board and half of the Public Works Planning Board.
In the past, those appointments have been made by what Aselbekian referred to as “secret phone calls”, which she vowed to end. Often positions have been filled without any notice to the public about openings or announcements of appointments. (It’s a process each would be familiar with, having been appointed by the moderator in the past.)
Morreale said that he would open up the process by advertising openings through the Town and going out to grab new recruits. If there were multiple candidates, he would post the names and give people a week to make comments before he made a decision. He would then follow through by announcing the appointed member.
Aselbekian went further, saying she would advertise and hold open meetings to interview candidates and allow the public to ask relevant questions. And she would set up an active account for anyone to contact the moderator. Her ideas were part of a platform that she had already outlined on her campaign website.
Boland didn’t specify his process, making no promises to increase transparency. Instead, he focused on recruiting people who could bring value to a board. He suggested that he may replace some existing candidates on boards at re-appointment time. [click to keep reading…]