|Brian Sullivan's Comments on FramGov||March 21, 2016|
I was involved a few years back at the last attempt at gathering signatures
for the Charter Commission (back in the good old days when you didn't pay
people to get them). Back then it just seemed like commonsense to push for
a replacement of Town Meeting. I had done my 3 years in Town Meeting and
had been on at least 4 committees. And yes at times it was very
dysfunctional - at times it felt like you were taking part in an actual
Personally I had seen (in no particular order):
That's just a quick 10 off the top of my head and I was there for only 3 years. Imagine the stories of the old timers!
And also, let's not forget some of the more public gems of late:
And before someone starts condemning me for lumping every Town meeting member, committee member, town employee into the same pot - don't. There are a lot of people who work tirelessly for the good of Framingham, but we obviously have some issues with our current system. So the Charter Commission should be an easy choice. Right? I'm not so sure.
Looking back after the last time we tried to get a Charter Commission going I realized that our issues really weren't caused by the format of the government we had - they were mainly caused by personalities. And those personalities are most likely sticking around in a new form of government perhaps giving those personalities even more power. So even though our current system is somewhat inefficient and clumsy it does one very IMPORTANT thing very well - it DILUTES the power.
Would a different power structure be better? Let's just look at the public gems above. How was the Building Inspector issue resolved? A private citizen calling the TV station. How was the Housing Authority issue picked up? Through a lower level employee. How was the union leader targeting School Committee Members' families resolved - public outrage I think would be a good guess. There was no magical government entity that fixed these issues - it was regular people.
This time around with the Charter Commission attempt seems very different to me. It feels almost like something is being shoved down my throat. The taking of large sums of money (possibly from people who may be doing business before the Town), paying people to get signatures, and now the infamous 'Draft letter'. This latest process has really given me pause and I think I would prefer to keep the devil I know versus the possibility of a devil I don't know and so I will NOT vote in favor of the Charter Commission at this time. For the moment, I believe it is Framingham's best interest to continue diluting the power and keep what we have (warts and all) - allowing minor changes through the processes we have now.
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