Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Local Government - Town Elections

As we move in the general direction of Spring, and out of the shadows of Winter, it might be worthwhile to give some thought to the upcoming Town Elections.

The Town Election is scheduled for 10 June 2008.

There will be three seats on the School Committee that will be up for election.

Geoffrey Weigand, an incumbent, is considering running for re-election.

Jerold Duquette, an incumbent, is not going to run for re-election.

Janine Idelson, an appointed incumbent, is not going to run for re-election.

For the Select Board, Hal Haberman's seat will be up for election. Hal Haberman has not announced his intentions.
Robert Barkett of the School Committee has taken out papers for the Select Board.

Planning Board has a 5 year seat and a 2 year seat available.

Housing Authority has one 5 year seat available.

50 signatures on a nomination paper are enough to get you access to the ballot. Papers can be picked up at the Town Clerk's office and they are due back by the 21st of March.

In view of the fact that the budget for the schools is the largest part of the town budget, it would seem appropriate for a number of people to step forward to serve on this important committee.

I think the principal qualification for a school committee member is that he or she be willing to stand up for the best interests of the students of the school system. They are, for the most part, not allowed to vote and the quality of the education that they receive is largely determined by adults. A school committee lives up to its obligations to the community by standing up for the best interests of the students. The Select Board is the designated agency for taking care of the general interests of the town.

It would be pleasant to believe that these interests and obligations would not result in confrontation and contention between the two elected boards. However, the recent past indicates that this is not the case. There has been conflict, confrontation and contention.

The November vote on the Proposition 2 1/2 override saw little support being furnished by the Select Board (William Scibelli was the exception.) and most of the "heavy lifting" for passage being furnished by the School Committee and concerned citizens of the Town.

With at least two seats open on the School Committee and one seat available for election on the Select Board, voters of the Town of Longmeadow have an opportunity to significantly shape the future policy direction of the town.

The first step in this process is the recruitment of candidates for public office.

Hopefully, this brief essay will encourage citizens to consider moving from spectators to participants in our political processes.
3:31:00 PM by Teacher
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