[Ed note: I have invited each candidate for a contested seat to submit one letter before the May 9th Town Election.]
To the Editor:
My name is Desiree Aselbekian, and I’m running for the job of Town Moderator. The Moderator serves our Community in two very distinct areas: 1) presides over Town Meeting, and 2) makes high level appointments to various Town boards/committees. I’m confident I have the knowledge and command necessary to facilitate Town Meeting. Moreover, treating individuals who seek appointments with fairness and respect will be my standard.
I decided to run for Moderator to prevent this position from being unopposed on Election Day. The Moderator’s job is critical in our Town’s democracy. I wanted voters to have a choice at the ballot. Also, I wanted to shed light on the position, its job description, and ultimately changes that can be made to increase transparency to the office.
Ultimately, the Moderator should have three main goals: government transparency, Town Meeting efficiency, and full participation. I have some ideas about how I would promote these goals:
1.Transparency: Southborough has been improving transparency slowly over the years. More information is available, but there is no public process for Moderator appointments making this practice the last of our governmental decisions made behind closed doors. As Moderator, I would promote transparency by:
a. Advertising all vacant and open positions.
b. Holding yearly (or as necessary) public meetings to interview all candidates for appointment.
c. Welcoming the public to participate in the process.
2. Efficiency: Major decisions take place during Annual Town Meeting. It’s important that residents have the ability to ask questions, learn where their tax dollars are being allocated, and have a level of oversight for our Town’s policy decisions. As Moderator, I would promote efficiency by:
a. Holding an annual pre-Town Meeting for the public.
b. Working with Selectmen to clarify the Warrant for easier reading and following.
c. Applying clear and precise guidelines for all presenters.
d. Applying the rules of the hall evenly and fairly to all speakers.
3. Participation: Improving transparency and managing efficiencies will inherently increase participation. If a voter knows his or her opinion and input counts, he or she will feel more confident in the process. It’s important residents feel they have a say in how our Town operates. As Moderator, I would promote participation by:
a. Maintaining an active account/email/phone/webpage to ensure people can contact me easily about Town Meeting or Moderator appointments.
b. Soliciting feedback to continually improve the process.
c. Coordinating with Selectmen to conduct a Town Meeting Participation survey to gauge resident interest.
I thank you for your consideration of my candidacy. To learn more about me, my background, and my plan, please feel free to visit my campaign website at http://ElectDesiree.com.
I ask for your vote on Monday, May 9th.