Quick stuff

Just a couple of quick points, so you don’t think I’ve vanished:

  We did not meet Monday the 29th because of the Jewish holiday.  Not sure if I had made that clear beforehand.  So if you’re looking for a meeting summary, there won’t be one.

  “Budget Forum – Groan!”  I hear you.  But this is different.  This one is all about you.  The Facilitation of Community Choices Committee was created specifically to learn as much as possible about the Town, School and Library budgets, to see what each looks like under different budget scenarios over the next couple of years (what kinds of cuts would be necessary and what kind of restored or new services would be possible, depending on available funds) and to then present that information to YOU and learn YOUR preferences.  They’ve done the learning and compiling info part – now they need YOU.  Thursday evening, October 2, from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. they will present this information in the Town Room at Town Hall.  I hope you will join me there, because this really is one of those important times to make your voice heard.  (Don’t worry about missing the beginning of the VP debate – you know that anything juicy will be all over YouTube.)  If you can’t make it, or you want to prepare yourself beforehand, check out the website at www.AmherstChoices.org.  Go through the presentation there, and then fill out the questionnaire.  (Gotta do the presentation first – the questionnaire is based on that.)   Thanks for caring about this – it really does matter.

  Remember how at the last SB meeting, we said we would be distributing a form for staff to provide feedback for the Town Manager’s evaluation? Well, that hasn’t happened yet.  You’d think this would be easy, but there’s a dizzying haze of legalese regarding what’s confidential and what’s a public document.  In an effort to do it right instead of doing it quick, we’re trying to get this stuff figured out first.  Town Counsel will try to clarify this for us at the meeting Monday night. 

  Today is six months since the election.  Time flies whether you’re having fun or not.  I was hoping to write something deep and introspective about what I’ve learned so far.  Yeah, right – in all my spare time.  Because that’s the main thing I’ve learned:  this position takes WAY more time than I had expected.  And the ratio of time spent to satisfaction gained… mmmm, still trying to make that work.  And that’s the other key thing I’ve learned so far:  it is easy to complain about how stuff works and difficult to try to improve it.  I’d write more about this, but what do you know – I have to go out to another meeting – third one today…


YourAdmirer said:

With apologies to Randy Bachman: You ain't seen nothin' yet!

Richard Morse said:

Your comment about "ratio of time spent to satisfaction gained" concerns me. I have worried that Select Board service is not only a thankless job, but there are popular expectations about what can be accomplished by Select Board members, particularly on behalf of the future economic progress of the Town, that simply may be unreasonable, given the current day-to-day demands of the office. Perhaps we get what we pay for, no matter who is sitting in those five chairs.

In other words, this may be a set-up for both voters and for Select Board members.

Although it was a lost opportunity in some respects, the Charter debate of several years ago has informed and illuminated the ongoing inquiry about governance. I see more clearly today the positive aspects of the system we have, especially that it puts more people in a position of power and vigilance than the usual model of municipal government.

But I still think we need a change.

Rich Morse

Larry Kelley said:

Yeah, I think Stephanie had more "power" back when she was simply writing her Town Meeting Blog and posting on InAmherst.com

Eva Schiffer said:

Service on the Select Board is not – should never be – about power. One of the many reasons why I’m so delighted to have Stephanie on the Board is that power is NOT what she’s there for. Instead, she contributes significantly to making the Board’s discussions, deliberations, and eventual actions ever more reasonable, rational, transparent, and effective in the long run. Or so it seems. Or so one hopes. Or some of them. That’s hard work, and none of it happens from one meeting to the next. Some of it, in fact, seems to take forever and go in circles along the way. Committee work is like that, and work on the Select Board, because of the complexity of all that the Board has to deal with, is even more so. But just nudging things consistently in the right direction is a lot. I’m certainly encouraged, and I think Stephanie should be too.

Larry Kelley said:

Yeah, that too.

Too bad she's not the Mayor.



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