There were no fireworks at last night’s well-attended public meeting to discuss the pros and cons of moving to a town manager form of government – just plenty of thoughtful discussion. I was impressed all around.
Most of those who spoke last night at the Senior Center had concerns about the 11-page draft legislation released last week, saying it went too far and created a town manager that would be too powerful.
The Metrowest Daily News did a nice recap of the meeting, so I’ll let you read all the details there, but here are some of the soundbites that stuck with me.
“What we’ve tried to do here is keep a balance, to keep the long term interests of the town in mind.” –-Joseph Laning, Chairman of the Drafting Committee for Town Manager Legislation
“I have been a proponent of a town manager form of government for ten or more years, but I’m concerned about this draft, to be frank. I think it reaches too far. It consolidates too much power in the town manager.” –Al Hamilton, former member of the Advisory Committee
“We’ve been functioning this way with town bylaws since 1727 when we broke away from Marlborough. I don’t know how broken the system is…I think this town does run pretty well.” –Louis Fazen, Chairman of the Board of Health
“Comments that it’s not broken are short-sighted…If you think it’s not broken, you haven’t been sitting near the sausage factory like I have.” –John Butler, Advisory Committee member
“I think it was Harry Truman who said, ‘When you have an efficient government, you have a dictatorship.'” –Sam Stivers, former Chairman of the Zoning Board of Appeals
“If you don’t believe in the system vote it down, don’t water it down. If you water down the authority of the town manager, I think you will not get a top qualified candidate.” –Bill Boland, Chairman of the Board of Selectmen
Where you at the meeting last night? What did you think of the arguments pro and con? Is the draft legislation on the money, or does it go too far? Share your impressions in the comments.
For those of you who haven’t seen it yet, you can check out the latest draft of the legislation here (PDF). For a summary of the key changes, take a look at the presentation from last night’s meeting (PDF).