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Charter Changes Will Strip the Water/Sewer Commissions of all Authority

Letter to the editor from Steven Wiseman of Water/Sewer Commission.

On two separate occasions the Board of Selectmen sent information on all three to every voting household in the Town.  Both of these mailings contained erroneous and confusing information.  The second mailing was not received by the voters in the time frame allowed by law. Both mailings are paid for by the taxpayers, perhaps the Board of Selectmen could provide the public with the costs incurred for printing, mailing and Town employees. 

 The Water/Sewer Commissions ask that the proper concise information is presented to the voters and allow them to make the proper decisions.  We have addressed the issues in question two only as that is our area of knowledge.

 Now let’s look at some of the facts;  One important piece of information not mentioned in was the fact that the Charter changes strip the Water/Sewer Commissions of all authority, they become “advisors” to the Board of Selectmen who will have all decision making and financial control of the Water and Sewer Departments.  Question one makes the Superintendant of these departments an appointee of the Town Manager and not under the control of the Commissioners.  The Charter changes clearly provide the Board of selectmen total control of the Water and Sewer Departments.  These departments have the second largest budgets in the Town and are Public Utilities.  They are “fee for service” and should be directly controlled by the ratepayers.

 Our budgets are probably the most detailed and concise of any Town Department and are reviewed by the Finance Committee, Capital Committee and Town Manager before they are presented for approval at Town Meeting.  As with all other Town Departments, no money is spent without taxpayer approval.

 I stand behind any editorial statements that I have made and would be happy to discuss/debate any “twisted” information that anyone believes I have posted and I ask what areas of expertise the Board of Selectmen have to appoint the Commissioners and run these highly regulated and Public Safety orientated  Departments.

 Steven Wiseman

Water/Sewer Commissioner

Chuck Moitoza April 21, 2012 at 01:36 PM
Steve do you not think it would make sense to appoint the best people to this important board as you have stated, why rely on elections of the most popular and most often unappossed candidate? You talk of this departments importance and the head man in charge is unable to perform one of the most basic functions, well inspections, because he is not properly licensed! This department is long overdue for changes to make it better for the taxpayers who fund this department,by the way I believe you were appointed by the selectmen and are running unopposed , correct?
Diane McElligott April 23, 2012 at 12:18 AM
Mr. Moitoza inadvertently makes a good argument for an elected board. Whether appointed or elected, the people who respond to a call to fill an open seat on any board share the same qualifications - an interest in the board's mission, a background in finance if budgeting is involved, and some relevant technical expertise, such as engineering or grant writing. The qualifications of the people who come forward, and who eventually serve, won't change regardless of the outcome of the ballot questions. The real difference is who the board members will "answer to". Every decision I make as an elected member is guided by the needs of the voters who put me into office. As an appointed board member, who would serve at the pleasure of the Selectmen, my decisions would align with their priorities, which are not always consistent with the needs of the Water/Sewer utility or its ratepayers. (These Charter change proposals would not be on the ballot if there was complete harmony between the Water/Sewer Board and the Selectmen). Board members know who they have to please in order to keep their positions, be they either elected or appointed, and the voters will have to decide if they want to continue having the Water/Sewer Board serve and answer to only them.

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