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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Why a 5-Member Board of Selectmen Works

Sudbury resident Dan De Pompei points to facts about how an increase makes for better town governance.

I currently own property in two Massachusetts communities. Both communities have a Board of Selectmen-Town Manager form of governance. One community has three unpaid selectmen (the 3 Town) and the other has five unpaid selectmen (the 5 Town). 

The 3 Town has been struggling for several years to understand, fund and justify a waste water system. The 5 Town had a shovel ready program and received federal stimulus funds two years ago to finance its’ new waste water system. 

The 3 Town has been struggling for decades to understand what type of bicycle trail would be best for the Town. The 5 Town has miles of bicycle trails for the enjoyment of residents and visitors alike. 

The 3 Town limits citizen participation at Board of Selectmen (BOS) meetings to agenda items that have been submitted and approved by the BOS prior to the meeting. The 5 Town works to an agenda but welcomes citizen participation at BOS meetings and specifically schedules time for citizens’ comments. 

The 3 Town has a BOS majority of high tenure members who do not need to discuss or debate many topics because they have discussed and debated most topics before. The 5 Town has more frequent turnover within the BOS and is frequently challenged with new ideas from new members; all topics before the board are debated to the benefit of the new members and the benefit of new citizens.

The 3 Town has high assessed property values. The 5 Town has higher assessed property values and the 5 Town has a higher rate of appreciation in housing values. 

The 3 Town has one of the highest property tax burdens in the state. The 5 Town has one of the lowest property tax burdens in the state.

The 3 Town has a AAA bond rating. The 5 Town also has a AAA bond rating. 

I could continue but the arithmetic of this letter should be pretty straight forward; an increase in Selectmen from 3 to 5 offers any community the opportunity for more experience, more creativity, more involvement and better representation in town government.   

Attend Town Meeting Sept. 24, 2012.  Vote yes on Warrant Article 4 to increase the Selectmen membership to 5. Enable Sudbury to do better.

Dan DePompei

Haynes Road

 

 

Edward Stark September 11, 2012 at 01:34 PM
Wow this letter really hits home. Thank you for writing Mr DePompei. I wish I had the sense to vote for you in the last election. Unfortunately I had received Lisa Gutch's e-mail the night before the election and being a parent of two elementary school children I was scared off. Let's just say I have learned a valuable lesson: believe half of what you see and nothing of what you hear. I hope you consider running again if we expand from 3 to 5 Selectman.
Wendy Kaiser September 11, 2012 at 04:13 PM
Excellent article Dan! Thank you!
JJoseph September 11, 2012 at 05:16 PM
Thanks Dan, I hope you run again. Sudbury could use your talents and contributions. Keep up the good work.
Michael Troiano September 11, 2012 at 05:37 PM
Well said, Dan. Thanks.
Kirsten Vandijk September 11, 2012 at 06:41 PM
I'm curious, Dan. What other town in Massachusetts is lucky enough to have you?
pmotw September 11, 2012 at 08:16 PM
Great letter Mr. DePompei. If you run agian you have our votes.
Scott Nassa September 11, 2012 at 08:33 PM
Great letter Dan! As a friend I hope you run again! This is your best letter yet.
Alison September 12, 2012 at 11:10 AM
Kirsten makes a good point. It would be good to know the name of this town so as informed citizens we can get a feel for how the full time residents think the town is run and whether or not this is a town we want to emulate. ......From what I hear from friends in Wayland, Sudbury is a much better run town with its 3 selectmen than their 5.......And, thank you, Dan, for your plug for the Bruce Freeman Trail.
SueChap September 12, 2012 at 03:09 PM
great letter, Mr. DePompei. thank you for fighting the GOOD fight. The 5 town knows it is lucky to have you as a resident... the 3 town does its best to run empty nesters like you out of town. Support 3 to 5 Selectmen on September 24!

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