EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

April 29, 2014

Letter: Larger board would improve town government

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — To the editor:

Why should residents of Groveland vote to increase the Board of Selectmen to five members?

Growth in the town has placed greater strain on town services along with more complex laws. The process of overseeing the management of the town as a member of the Board of Selectmen has become generally more complicated and more time demanding. Below are my top 10 reasons to increase the board to five members:

1. “The rule of two” which exists for a three-member board, meaning that two members create enough votes to direct the town, can create a very difficult and demanding situation if one member has a conflict on an issue.

2. A five-member board would foster broader demographic representation. Can we find five qualified candidates? Of course we can! Over the years qualified candidates have become discouraged from running for office due to the fact that it will always be “two against one” in the board’s votes, leaving the newest member minimal input into the decision-making process.

3. The Massachusetts General Laws already authorize towns to elect boards of selectmen of three to five members. A five member board is considered a “strong system” in that it helps to streamline administration of the town’s operations.

4. A five-member board would allow greater voter participation in the governance process by the addition of two more elected positions.

5. A larger board could tackle more projects and spread out the workload to improve effectiveness and efficiency.

6. A five-member board would minimize the conflict of interest issue because the exclusion of one member of the board would still leave four members who are able to participate in decision-making.

7. Expanding the board will increase confidence in the BOS as an appointing authority. Increasing the board to five members would provide the necessary checks and balances in the appointment process.

8. Expansion would assure legal compliance with the Open Meeting Law. At present, any two selectmen constitute a quorum and must conduct all town business within the context of a publicly posted meeting.

9. Expansion would assure that the orderly functioning of the town government is not impacted if one board member becomes incapacitated or unable to continue on the board for some reason.

10. To maintain our Town Meeting form of self-governance. Expanding the board would strengthen our current form of self-governance through the Town Meeting process.

Thank you for taking the time to read my top 10 reasons.

I hope you will vote “yes” on Ballot Question 1 to accept an act passed by the General Court in the year 2013 titled “An Act Relative to the Board of Selectmen of the Town of Groveland.”

Kathy Kastrinelis