[Ed note: My Southborough accepts signed letters to the editor submitted by Southborough residents. Letters may be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.]
To the Editor:
Over the past 2 years, no one on the Public Safety Building Study Committee has worked harder to move this project forward than I have. It is with deep regret that I have concluded that the building that has been designed is wrong for Southborough.
1. Silo Mentality – The building, as designed, reinforces functional silos when we should be attempting to break them down. In a building that will normally hold less than 10 people we have 3 separate kitchen and break areas. Each department has, in addition to a large common conference room its own conference room. In the private sector multiple departments regularly share conference space. Other examples of this wasteful silo mentality abound.
2. Expensive Financially Inefficient Spaces – The building is designed with a number of unnecessary complex exterior walls. The worst offender is the “hernia” a single story protrusion which holds the sergeants offices, and the Roll Call Room, (Yet another conference space). This single story protrusion has 3 exterior walls and its own roof. Visually appealing – perhaps, financially responsible – no.
3. Inappropriate For the Site – The building sprawls across the site when a less intrusive, more compact building is called for. Repeated discussions about the need for a more compact building to help preserve the site to the greatest have been ignored.
4. Lack of Cost Control – Throughout this entire process, the focus, has been on functional requirements unbounded by any consideration of cost. The results have been predictable. I have offered over a dozen suggestions on ways to reduce costs. These have been systematically ignored.
5. Disrespect for the Board of Selectmen – The Board of Selectmen is elected to make policy for the town. Boards and Committees appointed by the BOS, particularly ad hoc committees, in my opinion, are honor bound to try and carry the policy directives of the BOS. Several weeks ago the BOS gave the PS Building Study Committee clear direction that the cost of the project was not to exceed $20.85 million. Regrettably, this directive has been ignored. No effort was made to even suggest what the trade offs would be to achieve this goal. Committee members might be excused for this behavior as they are private citizens volunteering their time. The same cannot be said for the town employees whose behavior borders on the insubordinate. Most of us understand the consequences of ignoring your bosses clear directives.
This building is not the right building for the site and at $22,629,500.00 is several million dollars over the target budget and unnecessarily expensive and wasteful. I know that all the member of the PS Building Study Committee have worked hard on this project, as have I, but this is the wrong program for the Town of Southborough and the ever generous taxpayers of this community. I deeply regret that, as currently proposed, I will be voting NO on Article 1 and recommend that others do so as well.
Editor’s Note: Hamilton is a member of the Public Safety Study Committee. Until recently he chaired the committee. In a comment on the blog, he wrote “I resigned the chair so I could be free to speak my mind on the merits of this proposal.”