To the editor:
On March 27, the voters of North Andover will have the opportunity to cast a very important vote to determine who will be our next town moderator. Three qualified candidates are seeking election to this key position. To me the role of town moderator is equal to or perhaps more important to the proper governing of our town then the Board of Selectman, School Committee and Finance Committee. Why so, do you ask?
Town Meeting is the legislative body that votes on budget appropriations, town bylaws and a host of other issues that have a direct impact on how our town is run. Citizens with a variety of opinions and views on issues attend Town Meeting; sometimes these views are diametrically opposed to one another.
Town Meeting can be democracy at its best or worst depending on how the meeting is conducted. The moderator is tasked with ensuring the meeting is conducted in an orderly, fair business-like manner while making sure all opinions that will contribute to the discussion are heard. The best moderators are those who can balance the need for citizens to be heard but will also get to the vote when repetition in argument sets in.
The moderator also appoints the nine members of the Finance Committee and four members to the 7-member School Building Committee. The Finance Committee is tasked with vetting budget requests by all town departments including the school budget, the largest in town.
We in North Andover have been fortunate to have had Charles Salisbury as our moderator for the past 20-plus years. The steady, fair and balanced approach taken by Mr. Salisbury is what I am looking for in his replacement.
Of the three candidates who have stepped forward to replace him, the one who stands out in my view is Dr. Frank MacMillan.
A physician, Frank is a lifelong resident of North Andover who with his wife, Laura, are raising their children, who attend public school here in town. Frank has been an active member of the North Andover Board of Health for the past few years. Frank is a person of unimpeachable credentials and character, his motivation to seek the town moderator's position is to give back to our community and to continue the fair and balanced approach to and improve on the role of moderator that we have enjoyed over the past 20 years. Of this I am confident he will do.
I ask that you join me in voting for Dr. Frank MacMillan for town moderator on March 27 at the North Andover Middle School.