LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Let's Not Rush to Increase Number of Selectmen

Residents Stan Kaplan and Carmine Gentile ask for a a non-partisan group to study the warrant article and report back next year at Annual Town Meeting.

Board of Selectmen Expansion Article 4 at Special Town Meeting  September 24th

A petition article has been placed on the warrant for the September 24th Special Town Meeting to increase the Board of Selectmen (BOS) from three to five members.

We believe that this issue needs some non-partisan study so that Town Meeting voters can make an informed vote. The Sudbury League of Women Voters would be a neutral party to conduct this study, should they agree to undertake this assignment, and report back at the 2013 Annual Town Meeting in May.

Questions to consider:

  • Would a BOS expansion slow down the decision making process in Sudbury? 
  • How would BOS expansion impact on Town Departments and Committees? What (if any) impediments to the Town’s good governance can be foreseen?
  • Is three the most effective number of Selectmen? Five? Seven?

We don’t know the answers to these and other concerns but we can tell you that Sudbury’s three-member BOS has worked well now for hundreds of years, so what’s the rush?

A Special Town Meeting is not the appropriate forum for such a seminal change to the Town’s governance. This matter should be brought before an Annual Town Meeting after careful study by a non-partisan group and not railroaded through a lesser noticed and lesser attended Special Town Meeting by special interest proponents.

The League of Women Voters has a long and successful history of improving good government in Sudbury. It was the League that caused us to change Town Meeting rules to limit motion presenters to 10 minutes and other speakers to 5 minutes, saving time and increasing efficiency. It was the League that worked successfully to end the practice of allowing the Moderator to schedule lists of speakers in advance. We can count on the League to perform a thorough non-partisan examination of this issue and report back to us in several months. 

Please plan to attend this Special Town Meeting on Monday, Sept. 24, 2012 at 7:30 p.m. at the LSRHS and vote with us to refer the issue to the League of Women Voters now for everyone’s informed consideration at the May 2013 Annual Town Meeting.

Respectfully submitted,

Stan Kaplan
98 Victoria Road

Carmine Gentile
33 Surrey Lane

Michael Schwarz September 20, 2012 at 03:32 PM
Stan, I find your response disappointing. Earlier, I provided my rationale why I'm voting for the proposal and hoped your would present a case with a different viewpoint. Instead, I see a response of "you have a case of sour grapes" which does nothing to further your position. To be honest, it makes me less inclined to consider any valid merits of your case moving forward. You outline resentment for the recent election. I know there were some that wanted to pursue a recall option and I am grateful that they did not. At the end of the day, Mr. O'Brien was elected and we need to abide by that decision until the next election. You also mention a "not-so-hidden" agenda. I'm afraid that I'm not clear what you are referencing. I hope you'll reconsider the approach and provide some supporting information. Sincerely, Michael Schwarz
Wendy Kaiser September 20, 2012 at 04:36 PM
Unfortunately, there will always be a few who are threatened by change and therefore resistant to it. An additional "study" is the last thing Sudbury needs. We need broader representation which will result in healthy debate, informed decisions and positive change in our town. Wendy Kaiser
Kirsten Vandijk September 20, 2012 at 05:59 PM
If you can keep in mind that the Warrant Article is the subject of debate and interest and not the person who gathered the signatures necessary to place it on the meeting's agenda then the this frivolous letter should have no effect on you. Keep a level head and expect the unexpected. This is Sudbury after all ;) The people will speak very soon. The vote will be taken. A decision will be made. And we all will continue forward. Objectivity is an important friend.
JJoseph September 20, 2012 at 08:57 PM
SueChap/Stan, If you truly believe the only breach was "social proclivity" then I suggest you use that argument at Town Meeting and tell everyone in town how proud you are of what happened that evening and why you believe 5 members instead of 3 would be a problem. This is not a smear campaign, this is an effort to stop the nonsense that has been happening with a few in town who believe they are above listening to the people and they can do as they feel with disregard for rules and regulations. Two more sets of eyes on the board of selectmen would be helpful in getting the transparency that has been lacking for a long time. This could have been a recall provision article but instead is intended to be positive and a way to bring the divided community back together. Why are you so afraid to have a more inclusive, diverse and expanded board of selectmen? The bond rating argument doesn't work, the not properly vetted argument doesn't work, the incorrect process didn't work, etc... It is time for change, don't fight it, embrace it.
SueChap September 23, 2012 at 01:18 AM
For the record, SueChap is not Stan. Please. Please do not confuse me with this loon.


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