September 12, 2013
To the Editor:
As many citizens in town, I am concerned about the Board of Selectmen’s recent decision to fire Town Administrator Fred Turkington. The new majority on the board of Collins, Boschetto and Leard had a right to terminate Turkington. That’s not the problem. The problem is the way it was done.
I think overall that this year’s board is off to a sketchy start. There may be rhyme and reason for the actions taken, but many of us just don’t understand it. To correct this I’d like to offer a few suggestions:
· Respect all selectmen including those you might not agree with.
· Respect the Open Meeting Law and avoid deliberating in private.
· Discuss issues in open including pros, cons, alternatives and repercussions.
· Provide strong leadership for the board and the town. Let us know where you stand and how you intend to run town operations. Do you as a board intend to assume the duties of Town Administrator? If so, where will you find the time? Are other key town employees at risk of being terminated?
· Treat all employees with respect. They may make mistakes, but most are hard working people with good intentions.
· Be explicit about your new direction. One of your key goals is fiscal accountability. That sounds good, but what does it really mean? Do you wish to lower the tax rate irrespective of impacts on service levels? Do you have new financial controls in mind? Do you support infrastructure projects like the new DPW facility? What about low-income housing and how to accomplish it?
· Seek advice from other towns. Chances are they have been through similar issues.
· Don’t overestimate your collective abilities to run the town; it’s harder and more time consuming than you think.
· Don’t eliminate key positions in town without serious and careful forethought; you’ll regret it if you do.
I hope this helps. Those of us that have preceded you have learned the hard way.