Question #3: The Board of Selectmen appointed a committee to do an evaluation of all town buildings. This committee has not met in a quorum since June, which means that they have not made any meeting agendas or minutes available to the public, while continuing to meet in small groups. What are your thoughts about a closed process for this town government matter and how it could impact the outcome of certain town government initiatives? [more]
Friday, September 29th, 2017 @ 2:07PM
The Board of Selectmen appointed a committee to do an evaluation of all town buildings. This committee has not met in a quorum since June, which means that they have not made any meeting agendas or minutes available to the public, while continuing to meet in small groups.
What are your thoughts about a closed process for this town government matter and how it could impact the outcome of certain town government initiatives?
Do you think the public should have the right to information throughout, these processes?
(We’ll pose Question #4 to our Democratic candidates next week!)
As I understand it this is an advisory committee without decision-making power. If I am right, and this is an advisory group, I am not too concerned about the process as the public will have an opportunity to provide input in due course.
It’s not the way I would have chosen to deal with what can be sensitive issues for the building stakeholders, users and taxpayers. The process appears as a work in secret and perception is reality. I see this method as a means to minimize committee interactions with the broader range of stakeholders in the early stages of the process. Ultimately the report(s) will be made public and we can all provide inputs and get our questions answered. Since Dude Solutions (Facility Dude) are operating under contract to the Town then any draft submittals before the final form are going to be public information. This is similar to the situation with the Charter Revision where the interview questions and answers that formed the input for the committee revisions became a point of contention, to put it nicely.
Dude Solutions, previously known as Facility Dude, is preparing a report on all non-education buildings owned by the town to detail the current condition and expected maintenance projects. Dude Solutions will also be providing an annual license for software so the town can track building maintenance and refurbishment.
The contents of the final report is like the answer to a math problem but we want the students to show their work to get a full understanding.
The Town Council will take up the recommendations as part of the chartered business of the Town. Town Council meetings are open to the public, minuted and have public comment. The debate, discussion and deliberation of the council members is easy to access (if some what tedious at times) and widely reported. We will make up for any lack of transparency in this initial process.
At this past Advertiser Coffee on Friday, a citizen asked when this building report was going to be published. It had been promised for September, but apparently (as explained at the Coffee) due to delays on the part of the outside engineering firm that is doing the actual physical building inspections (as well as member summer vacations), the Committee as a whole has not been able to move forward all summer, meeting only in small subgroups to tackle their particular tasks. They are hoping to have their recommendations completed before the election, and they should certainly disseminate this explanation along with a new due date to the community.
Communication is key. Although I understand the need for any committee to be able to do their brainstorming in private, they should elect to publish periodic communications to keep all interested citizens in the loop. In the corporate world of project management, which is my background, regular communication between project leaders and stakeholders is considered a critical function to ensure success of the project. Given the recent blowup and hidden cost overruns of the Track replacement project, and the related public outcry, town committees should consider it obligatory to keep their constituents informed on a timely and regular basis.
Questions are sent to all 11 candidates, they choose to answer or not.