In Jan 11th edition of the Hudson Litchfield News; there was this “Letter to the Editor“, written by Joseph Cabral.
I am not sure where to start, but let’s first address the Selectmen’s salary; which in 2010 was reduced to $8,580. This reduction was made after the Town Administrator was hired because some of the day-to-day workloads were removed. It was further reduced in 2012 to $6,000 which is $1,200 per Selectmen and has remained at the budget level since.
What I think is important to understand is the Board of Selectmen’s responsibilities is not just meeting that happens on Monday nights. But many of the members participate in several committees like the Budget, Recreation and Planning to name a few.
Committees like the Budget Committee, especially during the budget season, will meet every week for many months; with meeting lasting an average of 3 hours. Same with the Planning board; those meetings can involve several hours of technical discussion, site walks and non-regular meetings. Not to mention impromptu meetings with department heads and employees. So to say that we the board only meets 24 days a year would be misleading and doesn’t account for all the other activities beyond the bi-weekly meetings.
It has been stated that the board eliminated the “Liaison Function“; and that is true I guess, as we needed to move past the “management by committee” model. It was not efficient, and it created conflict. But that didn’t mean a Selectmen couldn’t engage with a department head or any one employee. Something that I still do daily today; as its essential to understand how things are running and where issues may be. But it is also critical to have a day-to-day person to work through those issue in realtime, and that’s the Town Administrator role.
Now, let’s focus on some specific comments within his letter: “The BOS has driven/driving out long-time, dedicated employees (very unethically, I might add)“
I am not aware of any person that has been driven out, nor any longtime employees that have left because the board has pushed them out. As the employer, we have the responsibility to ensure that we have professional, performing and respectful employees; which I can say we do. So I am not sure what Joseph is referencing to; we have had good employees retire, and bad ones depart so I need specifics around this statement. So who has the board pushed out? Nothing has been done “UNETHICALLY” as stated.
One of the best assets we have as a town is “our employees“, and we are working hard to retain all of them. Just review a few meetings around budget time, and you can see that it’s an important topic.
Regarding the comments around updates “The residents are not receiving any updates from the BOS or the town administrator” and “There is no communications between community and BOS, they leave us in the dark and just spend, spend, spend”.
All our meetings are public, we broadcast the sessions live via Comcast PEG channels and YouTube Live. We then post those recordings on our website for residents to watch at their leisure. We invite residents to come and provide feedback during our meetings and other public hearings. I would really like to know how we can continue to improve this? We have and have been actively working to streamline those processes. Each of the board member email addresses are posted; so come to a meeting and drop us a note, we want and need to hear your feedback. Town government can’t effectively run only during the budget season or election time; its a 365 day a year effort.
As it was stated, “Show your support and attend deliberative on Feb 2nd at 10 am in the Campbell High School Auditorium“. We need your support to ensure that we continue to focus on improving town services, and the future of this awesome community.
I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 603.262.3901