Troiano: More Will Get Accomplished With 2 Extra Selectmen
Resident Mike Troiano, who has spearheaded the movement to increase Sudbury's Board of Selectmen from three to five members, says issues threatening the town can be solved with two more seats.
It's not a fundamental change, nor is it a result of a "flash mob" looking to elect a "burgermeister or some other form of government."
Resident Mike Troiano explained the effort to increase the town's Board of Selectmen from three to five members Wednesday night in front of dozens of residents at Goodnow Library in the simplest of terms: more representatives equals more representation.
Despite an overwhelming vote at Special Town Meeting on Sept. 24 to pass the movement, State Legislature overturned the ruling and said residents had to take it to a ballot vote. That will happen on March 25 during Annual Town Election.
Since that decision, Troiano and others have feverishly spread the positive word on why Sudbury would benefit from adding two seats to its Board of Selectmen, from distributing fliers, to creating and posting yard signs, to forming a special Facebook page, and a letter-writing campaign.
"We're doing the best we can to get the word out," said the Lincoln Road resident and father of four, who was introduced by Madeleine Gelsinon of the Sudbury Republican Town Committee. "This is the only body in town to allow me to speak."
Troiano explained how an increased Board would result in more transparency and more accountability, something that clearly lacked last year during the "Lavendergate" episode.
"Too much power for too few for too long drives bad behavior," he said, eluding to Chairman Larry O'Brien's decision to stay inside Lavender with others past the allowed time stated on the liquor license he signed off on. When the public pressed for answers, O'Brien recused himself from the discussion, leaving John Drobinski and Bob Haarde. They disagreed to whether the incident should be investigated, leaving residents without answers.
None of the selectmen, nor Town Manager Maureen Valente, attended the lecture.
But the movement is more than the result of one person's action. In a slide show presentation, Troiano showed 135 Massachusetts towns have gone from three to five selectmen, yet none decreased from five to three. And with roughly 92 boards and committees in Sudbury that report to the Selectmen, the increase only makes sense to help spread the workload.
"If you ask (those boards and committees) when was the last time they talked with the Board of Selectmen, they'll say, 'We don't know, we can't remember the last time,'" Troiano said. "If these boards and committees were important to create, then they're important to provide them with attention. And it's not because the (Selectmen) are lazy. I respect all who serve the town, especially after what I have been subjected to the last few months, I respect them even more."
An increased Board would also help tackle issues that threaten the town, which include:
- Declining L-S teacher/student ratio;
- Rising property taxes;
- Stagnant home values.
"These will not keep us in the list of best places to live for families," Troiano said. "What we need is a liberative body at the top that can lead, define clear goals, specific goals ... a body the town can get behind. Three to five is a start toward a more positive direction for the town."
Should residents vote "yes" for a second time, Troiano said a petition will be signed to have it on the ballot for the Special Election should the selectmen not act.
"The Board of Selectmen has a golden opportunity to extend a hand to those involved with the movement and use the special election," he said. "The state will cover the cost. My sincere hope is the Board of Selectmen will do this. If not, then we'll create a petition and get the (required) signatures, and file it with the town clerk to piggy back the special election. We're prepared to do that."
When asked if he would run for one of the two seats, Troiano said he would be honored but does not have the time.
"I do want to serve the town," he said. "I hope to at some point in the future, but now is not a good time for me and my family."
Resident Bob Abrams pointed out Troiano's efforts the past nine months prove otherwise.
"He has provided an outstanding service to the town in bringing this forward, making sure it happens, and keeping the town informed. I for one am grateful for the service you have performed," he said, as the crowd applauded.
Gelsinon, who said the Sudbury Republican Town Committee had no political agenda in regards to Troiano's lecture, did give audience members who may have opposed the movement the chance to speak. No one raised their hands when asked if anyone did oppose it.