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, December 11, 2013

A Little End Of The Year Housekeeping

Lots has happened in Sturbridge in 2013, and the year is not quite done.  In the meantime, there is a whole lot of end of the year filing to do.

The whole Fire Department debacle episode should be filed under, "Should Have Been Handled Way Better".  Many good people were hurt by the insensitive actions of others.  Keeping the events readily  available for others to read, will hopefully prevent a repeat of the same in the future.  Flag this file.

The appointment of the Police Chief as temporary Fire Chief while a replacement was sought should be filed under "This Was Really Stupid".  Police Chiefs are Police Chiefs, not even close to being a Fire Chief.  Similarities?  Yes, they both are managers, but so is the manager of my 403b account, and the guy that manages Walmart at Hobbs Brook.  Both are managers, but one doesn't have a clue about the others job, nor should they.

A new policy for scheduling Town Meetings should be kept readily available on the desktop.   Another vote for Saturday meetings should be top of the list in 2014.  In this way, the maximum number of voters could attend, and vote at the meetings.

Society, and our culture, has changed much since the 1950's, and weekday town meetings in the evening no longer work.  To purposefully continue to schedule meetings at a time when the lowest number of voters can attend is self serving to those with special interests.  In other words, the meetings by virtue of their long history of few voters in attendance, and leaving during them, are an excellent venue to manipulate in order to garner a favorable vote for items not favored by the majority.  Manipulation is rigging.  Change the time, and day of the town meetings to Saturday during the day, and watch the numbers of voters in attendance increase.  Then watch just how the voting goes.  Yes, a vote for a schedule change has been defeated in the past, but at what venue?  The midweek, evening town hall meeting.


This is entirely up to those that want change.  To remove the residents from under the thumb of those that have self serving agendas, then we must first put an article on the 2014 Town Meeting Warrant, and then we must step out of our snuggies, and march our asses to the meeting for a vote.  Otherwise, accept the inevitable.

There are many items to file away as 2013 closes out, it is just more end of the year housekeeping.  One item  will remain open is violations in the open meeting law at the Board of Selectmen meetings, and the violation of the privacy insured to present, and past, town employees by the now resigned Chairman of that board.

The town is going to be reliving those events for a while, and it is  it going to cost the town.

One of the last items to be reviewed before finishing out the year is to consider just where we have been as a town during the resigned Chairman's of the Boards tenure.  Was our town government friendly, efficient, and for the people, or was it as most have said during this time, a Bullydom?

The answer is obvious.

When a bully takes over the playground a couple of things happen: people get bullied, and beat up, and others save their hides by standing with the bully.  As long as the bully is there, they will be left alone.  Their allegiance is seen as self serving, and it is remembered by those that have felt the bullies wrath.

When those that have been bludgeoned repeatedly, or have witnessed the bullies actions way too often, finally organize to a point that the bullies days are numbered, then it obvious what the attacker will do next.


Run away.  And, that the bully did.  He grabbed his coat, and hat, and headed for the door in one hell of hurry all the while the words for his reason for leaving were still floating in the room.  His reason was to get closer to his god, and that there were too many people "suffering" in this town as a result of the actions that the town has taken.


No one can ever question a persons relationship with their god, but what one can do is compare the actions  a person takes to the actions that their god would have approved of, or set as an example to follow.  If the two don't match, then it is be safe to conclude that it must have been an epiphany that  occurred only moments before there was that the run for the door.

We can not judge, and I certainly won't.

This was just one more of those "mysterious ways".  It is also better to resign than have it go on record as being removed.

Note to ourselves for 2014:  Learn.  Learn from all the items being filed away at the end of this year.  Do everything that can be done to avoid them from being repeated.

Below are a few things for all of us to think about in the weeks ahead, and into the new year.

Some Guidelines for 2014

  • Give ample audience to the people in order to hear their voices.  Allow them to speak, and do not interupt.  Offer patience to those that are unsure, or unknowing in procedure.
  • Give an appropriate venue to the people to have those voices heard, and acted on.
  • Treat everyone as one wants to be treated themselves.
  • Do not spend the money of the majority of the people based on the approval of a minority.  Do everthing one can do to hear all the voices.
  • Keep sacred the trust between the people, and those that serve them.
  • Consider electing Town Meeting members to attend, and act as representives of the towns residents if a change in meeting day and time is not accomplished.
  • Place safety, and the well being, of the residents, and visitors, over appearence in all projects.
  • Consider every factor when creating a new project, not only the ones that will be resolved, but those that will be created as well.

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