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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Vote Yes for 5 Selectmen

Residents Art and Mara Huston say they are supporting the change in the March 25 Annual Town Election.

Over the past many years, Sudbury has considered expanding the Board of Selectmen (BOS). In the past, town government seemed to be working well so it was voted down. Times are different now. Sudbury is facing many important challenges that need to be addressed in a strategic, transparent, intelligent way.

We are facing a structural deficit, a commercial district that needs to grow, a rail trail that residents want but isn't being built, and an increasing property tax rate that needs to be controlled. An expanded BOS will provide more leadership with transparency, accountability and representation to attack these issues and more. 

Some residents believe this change won't help solve the problems. We disagree. So far 135 towns have made this change - and none have undone their change. Communities like ours, Concord, Lexington, Needham and Acton, have made this change.

Visit www.openupsudbury.org for more reasoning behind this change.

The Special Town Meeting in September was at overflow capacity and voted overwhelmingly in support of expanding the BOS. To make this change into law, please vote YES to expand the BOS on March 25th. 

Respectively submitted,

Art and Mara Huston

578 Peakham Road

siobhan hullinger February 06, 2013 at 11:34 AM
Thanks for the letter, Art and Mara. Agree 100%
Thom Kenney February 06, 2013 at 12:13 PM
@Art @Mara, DNS settings for the site aren't set up properly. People should use http://openupsudbury.org (without www.) to access the page.
sudburycitizentoo February 06, 2013 at 12:33 PM
Identity crisis! Lavendergate--One Sudbury--Open Up Sudbury. What's next?
JJoseph February 06, 2013 at 01:38 PM
Very profound sudburycitizentoo! Do you have any real reason why this would not be a good idea to expand the board of selectmen? I have not heard one valid explanation why this should not happen. The entrenched are losing power and they should. They have abused it.
Rick Billig February 06, 2013 at 02:04 PM
How many people are running for the position this time?
SkimThreePercent February 06, 2013 at 02:23 PM
Since PB Chairman Michael Fee did not return papers, expect him to run for one of two BOS expansion slots. There are always at least two ways to skin a cat.
Rick Billig February 06, 2013 at 02:34 PM
Does that mean there is no one running for the BOS slot?
SkimThreePercent February 06, 2013 at 02:41 PM
Only if you consider Selectman Haarde to be "no one". IF so Yes, ELSE No
siobhan hullinger February 06, 2013 at 03:04 PM
If that is true about Mr Fee - I would have to think long and hard about voting for someone who heads the water district also serving one the BOS. Too much control to be both.
Rick Billig February 06, 2013 at 03:52 PM
Sure looks to me that this is about opening up the board so people who cannot get elected otherwise are able to get seats. Once we recognize the reality it is hard to argue otherwise.
Bryan S February 06, 2013 at 05:18 PM
Rick – Expanding the board doesn’t “open it up to people who can’t get elected”. Your statement is not logical. You still need to be elected to get on the board. Same votes, same election process, same group of people who have policy differences running for office. Second calling out these “people who can’t get elected” somehow makes it seem as though they are defective and not worthy to be on the board. Many of the past elections have been very close. Were it not for some of the divisive fear mongering labeling people as "anti-school", our board would have a different make up today. So I am not opposed if some these citizens get elected. But personally, for me, I think this is a gamble at whether three to five will end up getting more people on the board who agree with my specific policy positions around 40B, consolidation, structural deficits, government transparency etc. We could just as easily elect more members who favor the policies of the current board majority. But even in this situation, I believe the town will be better off with five selectman for all the reasons put forth since the process started. Bryan Semple
Erich Waible February 06, 2013 at 06:57 PM
When is the "special election"? I grow weary of this whole debate.
siobhan hullinger February 06, 2013 at 08:41 PM
I believe the special election for the Senate seat vacated by Kerry will be June 25. The State has said they will allow cities and towns to add to this ballot.
Let's Open our eyes February 06, 2013 at 09:43 PM
Rick, why must those two concepts be mutually exclusive? If you look at the level of representation and support from the BOS for each of the almost 100 committees, we're sub-par as a community. That's not a reflection of the individuals elected, it pure time management and bandwidth. Who can afford to go to 1.5 committee meetings per week night? No one – and it’s an unrealistic expectation, one which dooms the Town’s governmental structure to inadequacy and shortcomings. You may be satisfied with that level of representation, though others obviously are not.
Sudburytoo February 06, 2013 at 10:05 PM
Rick, please open your eyes. We have had 2 selectmen that have gotten into all sorts of bad situations over the past year and as a result have to recuse themselves from participating in our government. It is time to stop the shenanigans and get people in office that want to work for the people. Sudbury has had more than enough of the games, conflicts of interest and special treatment. Please explain why more transparency is not a good thing. I don't know of anyone who objects to this other than O'Brien, Drobinski, the Offners and Kablack and Kablack.
Rick Billig February 06, 2013 at 10:40 PM
Bryan, I would like to see the town and schools improve and know that good leadership can make all the difference. Would you say we agree here? Where we depart is that I disagree that by simply changing this rule we will suddenly have new qualified people enter the ring. Based on everything the supporters of this change have said one would expect that we would see others running for the position regardless of whether the rule changes or not. That sure didn't happen this time. Please don't take anything I say to mean I am in agreement with anything the current board is doing - I am not. I just want to know where all these people who want this position are hiding. The only ones who have said they are interested in running once the rule changes are not people I feel would be good leaders now or in the past. Just my opinion. I would like to make sure my vote will still count once this rule is changed. I know you want change, so do I, but I hope we don't want to accomplish that by taking away anyones voice and vote. I think the last time around we did not get a chance to really discuss our different opinions in a civil way (I am not referring to you with that statement).
Rick Billig February 06, 2013 at 10:47 PM
I am not satisfied but I respect everyone who is willing to make the sacrifice needed to be in one of these positions. Here is what I think we should be doing - encouraging qualified people to step forward and run. If we can't get people to run today, the rule change, in my opinion, just will enable people who can't get elected on their own merits a seat at the table.
Rick Billig February 06, 2013 at 11:07 PM
Siobhan, I have nothing but total respect for Mike and had no idea what he and your family was subjected to when he ran. I only have gotten a feel for that recently, I don't think anyone could ever question the commitment your family has made to this community. You both have good family values and always do what you feel is the right thing and I respect that.
siobhan hullinger February 06, 2013 at 11:15 PM
Thanks for that, Rick. I was going to add to my comment and ended up deleting it in error.
Pat Brown February 07, 2013 at 12:15 AM
It would be premature to schedule the special election unless and until the Town approves the move to a five member board on March 25. A candidate cannot run for an office that doesn't exist. The Board of Selectmen is scheduled to meet on March 26. We should have election results by then and, assuming Sudbury has approved a five member board, the special election can be scheduled then. Candidates for the March 25 election had about three months from the time papers became available and about two months from the time papers had to be returned until the time the election will be held. Could we schedule the special election to coincide with the Special Senate Election on June 25? (Papers available early April, papers returned early May, election June 25?) I'd like to hear the Town Clerk to comment on the logistics. But it certainly seems like there would be time for that, and Sudbury would not then have to hire poll workers for a separate election.
Bryan S February 07, 2013 at 07:29 PM
Rick I think everyone wants to improve the schools and town. And I agree, this is not a magic bullet to cure all problems. We will still have an OPEB liability, 40B builders, a two system school district and a school funding model that is not predictable at all. But I do believe going 3 -5 will get us more people working to solve these problems. There are many candidates who can fill the extra seats. I would not necessarily vote for them due to policy differences, but I would consider them qualified when measured up against the current board membership. Even with these differences on policy, I still believe my long term interests would be served better with five people I don't agree with on the board vs. the situation today that is in my opinion dysfunctional.
Michael Troiano February 07, 2013 at 09:45 PM
Fixed this. Sorry, guys.

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