Autumn in the North Cemetery.

Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?



These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.


Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...

...seems to be working so far

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

One Side Does Not Make A Story; Let's Hear The Rest Of It

I've seen this kind of behavior in town before.  At the moment I don't know exactly who is  at fault, if anybody is, or is it just left over emotional collateral damage from this summers appointment to the School Committee by the Board of Selectmen against the wishes of the School Committee.

According to the School Committee they submitted an article that was to be placed in the town warrant that would have changed the procedure of how vacancies on the school committee would be filled from now on.

“The Board of Selectmen can put it on the town meeting warrant,” School Committee member James P. Ehrhard said. “They did not do it this time. There is no reason to think that they will in June.


The above quote from the Worcester Telegram  was included in an article by Craig Semon.   The article referred to the appointment of Ms. Waters to the school committee by the BOS, and that that particular action, against the school committees wishes, may be the reason the article, submitted to the selectmen for inclusion on the town warrant, was not placed on the warrant.

So far, it is a lot of he said, he said.  What's missing are some facts, and some other voices.

Was the article for the warrant submitted on time, and in the correct format?  Who submitted it?  Was the article written by one person, or by all of those on the school committee?  Who was the article submitted to?  Was it submitted via the mail, in person, faxed, or email?

See, if one is going to make an accusation that the BOS did not add the article to the warrant, and they may not later in 2012, then it lends a nefarious air to the matter without it actually being said, and maybe that is on purpose.  One school committee member did state that in all his years as a selectmen in Wales he could not imagine the BOS denying any other board the right to place an article  on the a warrant.  We don't really know if the BOS denied the school committee from the information we have thus far.

So, the School Committee is upset that their article was not included in the Warrant, we get it, but we still don't have answers to the questions above.  Those answers will add much more to the story.

Oh, and another thing, the article does not have:  an interview with the Sturbridge Selectmen.

Seems that the article was written without completing some basic interviewing.  It is almost as if someone was ticked off, called the reporter, vented, and the reporter wrote the story way too late in the evening to corroborate it, and then, simply emailed it to his editor.  The result was what I read this morning.  A one sided, incomplete story without a word from any member of the Sturbridge Board of Selectmen.  Very obviously one sided.  Intentional or not, still poor form.

In all fairness, no matter how one feels about the situation now, or last summer, we need to hear from the BOS before we can get a true feel for just what happened.

Now, that being said, if the BOS does explain themselves well, then fine, let's move on, and take it the next step in the process.  If the BOS doesn't want to talk about it, gives reasons that are not acceptable, some multi-paragraphed double speak, or just silence, then we can all be a ticked off,  do some venting to the press.

Getting pissed off is only therapeutic, and beneficial,  when all all the facts are in, otherwise one just looks silly.

Believe me, I don't need any outside help in that department.


For the entire article click here.








12 comments:

  1. If you watched the Selectman's meeting the selectmen refused to place the article on the warrant. I was very surprised that Creamer will not let the people decide.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thomas R> CreamerWednesday, November 16, 2011

    Hi Wally,

    Let me first commend you on a great post; very well done. I will offer some thoughts as an individual member of the Board, referencing discussion that has publicly been engaged by the Board, while summarizing the majority viewpoint. This will require two comment posts due to the word limit associated with comment posting.

    The term "Agreement” in my personal view, is an inaccurate term as it was not agreed to by the Board of Selectmen, nor was the Board ever asked to review and respond to the dictates within the “Agreement” that would bind the Town of Sturbridge to a contract. I do not know who actually drafted it, as we were never asked to participate, review, or provide an official response.

    The Board has twice publicly stated that the "Agreement" would be placed on the 2O12 ANNUAL TOWN MEETING Warrant (JUNE), once the Board has had ample time to review, publicly discuss, and engage dialog with representatives from the School Committee. That is the normal process of review prior to submitting Agreements that impact and/or bound the Town of Sturbridge or its political entities into agreements.
    The Town Charter identifies the BOS as the Executive Branch and as such collective bargaining agreements, vendor agreements, service agreements, contracts, etc., etc., and any regional agreements that bind our community to a contract or particular course of action, must first be reviewed, vetted, and subject to collaborative and collective discussion between those seeking to enter into an agreement with the Town. Then, said agreement that bounds our community to a particular course of action is put before the voters at Town Meeting for discussion, additional vetting if necessary and acceptance or rejection. The "Agreement" sent to us by the TRSC has not had the opportunity of public discussion within the Town of Sturbridge, nor the appropriate public vetting, and response by the BOS, which would ensure the proper level of transparency and public input attendant to it, prior to it being placed before the voters for action.

    In consideration of the aforementioned, it would be - in my view - irresponsible for the BOS to forward an "agreement" that it had not yet reviewed, publicly discussed, and responded to in terms of modifications viewed to be in the best interests of our community - if and where warranted. One is also left to question the sense of urgency on the part of those TRSC members referenced in the T&G article, as with the exception of Brookfield, every other community is holding this item for their ANNUAL TOWN MEETING.

    continued below...

    ReplyDelete
  3. ...Continued from above

    One should also be cognizant of the fact that per the regional "Agreement" submitted by the TRSC, the Sturbridge Board of Selectmen (responsible for advocating on behalf of its residents) is the only member of the Regional District that is at a distinct disadvantage in terms of the appointing process. Consider the following:
    Brimfield 3 Selectmen, 3 School Committee members
    Brookfield 3 Selectmen, 3 School Committee members
    Holland: 3 Selectmen, 3 School Committee members
    Wales: 3 Selectmen, 2 School Committee members (one of which is also a member of the Wales Board of Selectmen)
    Sturbridge: 5 Selectmen, 7 School Committee members

    In considering the numbers, it is truly not a "joint appointment" as it relates to Sturbridge, but rather an appointment made solely by the School Committee with the Board of Selectmen in attendance. One could argue equally that the "joint appointment" in Wales is also not a joint appointment, but an appointment made solely by the Wales BOS. The majority viewpoint on the Board of Selectmen as publicly stated during Monday's meeting is one of finding equity in the appointing process wherein, perhaps regardless of the numbers involved, each entity has the same number of votes during a "joint appointment". On the surface this would level the playing field for all involved. Would not such an approach also ensure equity and a true need to find cooperation and collaboration during a joint appointment? Currently, the Regional Agreement clearly states that the BOS make the appointment – solely and unilaterally. Recognizing that this Agreement is itself equally as inequitable as that presented by the Regional School Committee, the majority viewpoint of the BOS is to wholeheartedly support a joint appointment process, but one that is truly a joint appointment, as opposed to one that is so - in name only.

    To the Anonymous poster, may I respectfully point out that one individual (me or anyone else) does not have the ability to prevent something from going on the Warrant, it takes a majority of the BOS. I am 1 of 5 and the majority decided the process, not 1 individual.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hi Wally,

    Let me first commend you on a great post; very well done. I will offer some thoughts as an individual member of the Board, referencing discussion that has publicly been engaged by the Board, while summarizing the majority viewpoint. This will require two comment posts due to the word limit associated with comment posting.

    The term "Agreement” in my personal view, is an inaccurate term as it was not agreed to by the Board of Selectmen, nor was the Board ever asked to review and respond to the dictates within the “Agreement” that would bind the Town of Sturbridge to a contract. I do not know who actually drafted it, as we were never asked to participate, review, or provide an official response.

    The Board has twice publicly stated that the "Agreement" would be placed on the 2O12 ANNUAL TOWN MEETING Warrant (JUNE), once the Board has had ample time to review, publicly discuss, and engage dialog with representatives from the School Committee. That is the normal process of review prior to submitting Agreements that impact and/or bound the Town of Sturbridge or its political entities into agreements.
    The Town Charter identifies the BOS as the Executive Branch and as such collective bargaining agreements, vendor agreements, service agreements, contracts, etc., etc., and any regional agreements that bind our community to a contract or particular course of action, must first be reviewed, vetted, and subject to collaborative and collective discussion between those seeking to enter into an agreement with the Town. Then, said agreement that bounds our community to a particular course of action is put before the voters at Town Meeting for discussion, additional vetting if necessary and acceptance or rejection. The "Agreement" sent to us by the TRSC has not had the opportunity of public discussion within the Town of Sturbridge, nor the appropriate public vetting, and response by the BOS, which would ensure the proper level of transparency and public input attendant to it, prior to it being placed before the voters for action.

    In consideration of the aforementioned, it would be - in my view - irresponsible for the BOS to forward an "agreement" that it had not yet reviewed, publicly discussed, and responded to in terms of modifications viewed to be in the best interests of our community - if and where warranted. One is also left to question the sense of urgency on the part of those TRSC members referenced in the T&G article, as with the exception of Brookfield, every other community is holding this item for their ANNUAL TOWN MEETING.

    continued below...

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Wally,

    Let me first commend you on a great post; very well done. I will offer some thoughts as an individual member of the Board, referencing discussion that has publicly been engaged by the Board, while summarizing the majority viewpoint. This will require two comment posts due to the word limit associated with comment posting.

    The term "Agreement” in my personal view, is an inaccurate term as it was not agreed to by the Board of Selectmen, nor was the Board ever asked to review and respond to the dictates within the “Agreement” that would bind the Town of Sturbridge to a contract. I do not know who actually drafted it, as we were never asked to participate, review, or provide an official response.

    The Board has twice publicly stated that the "Agreement" would be placed on the 2O12 ANNUAL TOWN MEETING Warrant (JUNE), once the Board has had ample time to review, publicly discuss, and engage dialog with representatives from the School Committee. That is the normal process of review prior to submitting Agreements that impact and/or bound the Town of Sturbridge or its political entities into agreements.
    The Town Charter identifies the BOS as the Executive Branch and as such collective bargaining agreements, vendor agreements, service agreements, contracts, etc., etc., and any regional agreements that bind our community to a contract or particular course of action, must first be reviewed, vetted, and subject to collaborative and collective discussion between those seeking to enter into an agreement with the Town. Then, said agreement that bounds our community to a particular course of action is put before the voters at Town Meeting for discussion, additional vetting if necessary and acceptance or rejection. The "Agreement" sent to us by the TRSC has not had the opportunity of public discussion within the Town of Sturbridge, nor the appropriate public vetting, and response by the BOS, which would ensure the proper level of transparency and public input attendant to it, prior to it being placed before the voters for action.

    In consideration of the aforementioned, it would be - in my view - irresponsible for the BOS to forward an "agreement" that it had not yet reviewed, publicly discussed, and responded to in terms of modifications viewed to be in the best interests of our community - if and where warranted. One is also left to question the sense of urgency on the part of those TRSC members referenced in the T&G article, as with the exception of Brookfield, every other community is holding this item for their ANNUAL TOWN MEETING.
    continued below...

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Wally,
    Let me first commend you on a great post; very well done. I will offer some thoughts as an individual member of the Board, referencing discussion that has publicly been engaged by the Board, while summarizing the majority viewpoint. This will require two comment posts due to the word limit associated with comment posting.

    The term "Agreement” in my personal view, is an inaccurate term as it was not agreed to by the Board of Selectmen, nor was the Board ever asked to review and respond to the dictates within the “Agreement” that would bind the Town of Sturbridge to a contract. I do not know who actually drafted it, as we were never asked to participate, review, or provide an official response.

    The Board has twice publicly stated that the "Agreement" would be placed on the 2O12 ANNUAL TOWN MEETING Warrant (JUNE), once the Board has had ample time to review, publicly discuss, and engage dialog with representatives from the School Committee. That is the normal process of review prior to submitting Agreements that impact and/or bound the Town of Sturbridge or its political entities into agreements.
    The Town Charter identifies the BOS as the Executive Branch and as such collective bargaining agreements, vendor agreements, service agreements, contracts, etc., etc., and any regional agreements that bind our community to a contract or particular course of action, must first be reviewed, vetted, and subject to collaborative and collective discussion between those seeking to enter into an agreement with the Town. Then, said agreement that bounds our community to a particular course of action is put before the voters at Town Meeting for discussion, additional vetting if necessary and acceptance or rejection. The "Agreement" sent to us by the TRSC has not had the opportunity of public discussion within the Town of Sturbridge, nor the appropriate public vetting, and response by the BOS, which would ensure the proper level of transparency and public input attendant to it, prior to it being placed before the voters for action.

    In consideration of the aforementioned, it would be - in my view - irresponsible for the BOS to forward an "agreement" that it had not yet reviewed, publicly discussed, and responded to in terms of modifications viewed to be in the best interests of our community - if and where warranted. One is also left to question the sense of urgency on the part of those TRSC members referenced in the T&G article, as with the exception of Brookfield, every other community is holding this item for their ANNUAL TOWN MEETING.

    continued below...

    ReplyDelete
  7. ...Continued from above

    One should also be cognizant of the fact that per the regional "Agreement" submitted by the TRSC, the Sturbridge Board of Selectmen (responsible for advocating on behalf of its residents) is the only member of the Regional District that is at a distinct disadvantage in terms of the appointing process. Consider the following:
    Brimfield 3 Selectmen, 3 School Committee members
    Brookfield 3 Selectmen, 3 School Committee members
    Holland: 3 Selectmen, 3 School Committee members
    Wales: 3 Selectmen, 2 School Committee members (one of which is also a member of the Wales Board of Selectmen)
    Sturbridge: 5 Selectmen, 7 School Committee members

    In considering the numbers, it is truly not a "joint appointment" as it relates to Sturbridge, but rather an appointment made solely by the School Committee with the Board of Selectmen in attendance. One could argue equally that the "joint appointment" in Wales is also not a joint appointment, but an appointment made solely by the Wales BOS. The majority viewpoint on the Board of Selectmen as publicly stated during Monday's meeting is one of finding equity in the appointing process wherein, perhaps regardless of the numbers involved, each entity has the same number of votes during a "joint appointment". On the surface this would level the playing field for all involved. Would not such an approach also ensure equity and a true need to find cooperation and collaboration during a joint appointment? Currently, the Regional Agreement clearly states that the BOS make the appointment – solely and unilaterally. Recognizing that this Agreement is itself equally as inequitable as that presented by the Regional School Committee, the majority viewpoint of the BOS is to wholeheartedly support a joint appointment process, but one that is truly a joint appointment, as opposed to one that is so - in name only.

    To the Anonymous poster, may I respectfully point out that one individual (me or anyone else) does not have the ability to prevent something from going on the Warrant, it takes a majority of the BOS. I am 1 of 5 and the majority decided the process, not 1 individual.

    ReplyDelete
  8. ...Continued from above

    One should also be cognizant of the fact that per the regional "Agreement" submitted by the TRSC, the Sturbridge Board of Selectmen (responsible for advocating on behalf of its residents) is the only member of the Regional District that is at a distinct disadvantage in terms of the appointing process. Consider the following:
    Brimfield 3 Selectmen, 3 School Committee members
    Brookfield 3 Selectmen, 3 School Committee members
    Holland: 3 Selectmen, 3 School Committee members
    Wales: 3 Selectmen, 2 School Committee members (one of which is also a member of the Wales Board of Selectmen)
    Sturbridge: 5 Selectmen, 7 School Committee members

    In considering the numbers, it is truly not a "joint appointment" as it relates to Sturbridge, but rather an appointment made solely by the School Committee with the Board of Selectmen in attendance. One could argue equally that the "joint appointment" in Wales is also not a joint appointment, but an appointment made solely by the Wales BOS. The majority viewpoint on the Board of Selectmen as publicly stated during Monday's meeting is one of finding equity in the appointing process wherein, perhaps regardless of the numbers involved, each entity has the same number of votes during a "joint appointment". On the surface this would level the playing field for all involved. Would not such an approach also ensure equity and a true need to find cooperation and collaboration during a joint appointment? Currently, the Regional Agreement clearly states that the BOS make the appointment – solely and unilaterally. Recognizing that this Agreement is itself equally as inequitable as that presented by the Regional School Committee, the majority viewpoint of the BOS is to wholeheartedly support a joint appointment process, but one that is truly a joint appointment, as opposed to one that is so - in name only.

    To the Anonymous poster, may I respectfully point out that one individual (me or anyone else) does not have the ability to prevent something from going on the Warrant, it takes a majority of the BOS. I am 1 of 5 and the majority decided the process, not 1 individual.

    ReplyDelete
  9. ..Continued from above

    One should also be cognizant of the fact that per the regional "Agreement" submitted by the TRSC, the Sturbridge Board of Selectmen (responsible for advocating on behalf of its residents) is the only member of the Regional District that is at a distinct disadvantage in terms of the appointing process. Consider the following:
    Brimfield 3 Selectmen, 3 School Committee members
    Brookfield 3 Selectmen, 3 School Committee members
    Holland: 3 Selectmen, 3 School Committee members
    Wales: 3 Selectmen, 2 School Committee members (one of which is also a member of the Wales Board of Selectmen)
    Sturbridge: 5 Selectmen, 7 School Committee members

    In considering the numbers, it is truly not a "joint appointment" as it relates to Sturbridge, but rather an appointment made solely by the School Committee with the Board of Selectmen in attendance. One could argue equally that the "joint appointment" in Wales is also not a joint appointment, but an appointment made solely by the Wales BOS. The majority viewpoint on the Board of Selectmen as publicly stated during Monday's meeting is one of finding equity in the appointing process wherein, perhaps regardless of the numbers involved, each entity has the same number of votes during a "joint appointment". On the surface this would level the playing field for all involved. Would not such an approach also ensure equity and a true need to find cooperation and collaboration during a joint appointment? Currently, the Regional Agreement clearly states that the BOS make the appointment – solely and unilaterally. Recognizing that this Agreement is itself equally as inequitable as that presented by the Regional School Committee, the majority viewpoint of the BOS is to wholeheartedly support a joint appointment process, but one that is truly a joint appointment, as opposed to one that is so - in name only.

    To the Anonymous poster, may I respectfully point out that one individual (me or anyone else) does not have the ability to prevent something from going on the Warrant, it takes a majority of the BOS. I am 1 of 5 and the majority decided the process, not 1 individual.

    ReplyDelete
  10. ...Continued from above
    One should also be cognizant of the fact that per the regional "Agreement" submitted by the TRSC, the Sturbridge Board of Selectmen (responsible for advocating on behalf of its residents) is the only member of the Regional District that is at a distinct disadvantage in terms of the appointing process. Consider the following:

    Brimfield 3 Selectmen, 3 School Committee members
    Brookfield 3 Selectmen, 3 School Committee members
    Holland: 3 Selectmen, 3 School Committee members
    Wales: 3 Selectmen, 2 School Committee members (one of which is also a member of the Wales Board of Selectmen)
    Sturbridge: 5 Selectmen, 7 School Committee members

    In considering the numbers, it is truly not a "joint appointment" as it relates to Sturbridge, but rather an appointment made solely by the School Committee with the Board of Selectmen in attendance. One could argue equally that the "joint appointment" in Wales is also not a joint appointment, but an appointment made solely by the Wales BOS. The majority viewpoint on the Board of Selectmen as publicly stated during Monday's meeting is one of finding equity in the appointing process wherein, perhaps regardless of the numbers involved, each entity has the same number of votes during a "joint appointment". On the surface this would level the playing field for all involved. Would not such an approach also ensure equity and a true need to find cooperation and collaboration during a joint appointment? Currently, the Regional Agreement clearly states that the BOS make the appointment – solely and unilaterally. Recognizing that this Agreement is itself equally as inequitable as that presented by the Regional School Committee, the majority viewpoint of the BOS is to wholeheartedly support a joint appointment process, but one that is truly a joint appointment, as opposed to one that is so - in name only.

    To the Anonymous poster, may I respectfully point out that one individual (me or anyone else) does not have the ability to prevent something from going on the Warrant, it takes a majority of the BOS. I am 1 of 5 and the majority decided the process, not 1 individual.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Editors Note: Due to difficulty posting comments this evening I had to post Tom Creamers comments several times, and in several ways in order for system to repond, hence his name being Tom, and Thomas. My fault. Tom had orinally signed his comments as
    Thomas R. Creamer.

    Sorry for the malfunction, Tom.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Given both sides of the issue, it's fair to say the School Committee tried to pull a fast one here. The original agreement involves both Selectmen and School Committee; so it is discourteous and unprofessional to draft a warrant article without Selectmen's input.

    Grow up School Committee. Stop thinking about yourselves and work for the kids.

    ReplyDelete



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