Straight Talk

HONEST talk about local issues!

More representation on the Board of Selectmen?

Most of our communities have a Board of Selectmen that is comprised of three members.

I contend that if we were to increase that number to five, we might create a better (not to mention more diverse) board.

We would have more ideas and discussion on how to deal with our local issues.

More people would have the opportunity to serve their community as a Selectman.

First Selectmen would have to consider more options and work to gain the support of the board before moving forward.

It is typical that the First Selectman usually has one Selectman that belongs to his/her party and tends to rubberstamp the leader’s ideas.

The other Selectman is powerless to make change in this scenario, thereby rendering the opposing point of view mute.

A larger board would potentially give more voice to other opinions on town issues.

Considering the size of budgets and all of the matters our town governments are handling today, would it not be wise to have more representation and diversity on our Boards of Selectmen?

Take our poll and comment if you will …

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3 thoughts on “More representation on the Board of Selectmen?

  1. Winsted (a.k.a. town of Winchester) has at least 5, maybe even 7 (6 are currently listed on the town website). But in Winsted, the BOS also functions as the Board of Finance, so it might be apples to oranges.
    I agree that 5 would make for more diversity and discussion, but it might be a moot point. In our towns, the town meeting form of gov’t means the selectmen don’t legislate anyway. They set the agenda, to be sure. But don’t look to them for the action. P&Z is where it’s really happening!

    • Terry …

      While the Selectmen ultimately answer to the Town Meeting, they have the authority to execute a lot of spending (Up to $19,999.99) at a time, establish policies, make agreements, and so on without the Town Meeting.

      While we have a Town Meeting form of government, the Town Meeting plays a much smaller role than it used to. The Board of Selectmen handle much of the Town’s business as the elected ‘Board of Directors’. As that business increases, it seems that we should have a more diverse board to insure that all sides are represented and that it does not become a ‘puppet show’ for the agenda of a ‘select’ few.

      The Board of Selectmen create the annual budget and present it to the Board of Finance. Most of the time the Board of Finance approves without excercising much authority over it.

      The Board of Selectmen have a lot more power than you may realize … I stand by my position that we have reached the time to increase the representation on that board.

      As for Planning and Zoning … I just attended a 3 1/2 hour meeting in Salisbury last night that I can’t even calm down enough to talk about right now.

      I will deal with P&Z later.

  2. Agree. I think 5 would be better than 3.

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