September 19, 2019

Is Anyone Listening?

Posted

We all want our Public Service Providers, i.e. Board of Selectmen, School Committee, Finance and so on to listen when we, the taxpayers have something to ask or say. It would seem that the Board of Selectmen has been reduced from a five member panel to a single person ruler.

You see, when you submit correspondence to Town Hall to the attention of the Selectmen it is reasonable to think first, the Chairman of the Board would review the letter and schedule an agenda item, copy all members of the Board and send acknowledgement to the author and prepare discussion in open session with the possibility of a vote or not.

This is not the case with Chairman David Andrade. In April, 2019 the Seekonk Concerned Citizens authored (2) letters to the Board about establishing an Administrative Policy for all Building Committees with Budgets and inconsistencies in Administrative Hiring Policy #34 for Hiring Special Police Officers.

This article is focused on the Building Committees. As of this writing the Board of Selectmen have not discussed the suggestion by Concerned Citizens. In fact, he won’t even acknowledgement them. I say, “he” because Mr. Andrade has decided on his own that the Board has “considered” options.

Mr. Andrade has gone on to say the “they cannot answer every letter received.” My question is how many do you get daily and since when?

The dismissal of Concerned Citizens should concern everyone. Concerned Citizens is not a group of “complainers” as Mr. Andrade and at times the Town Administrator would lead you to believe. Concerned Citizens are primarily former public service people who do know what they are talking about and have done research to support their findings. It is a great informal discussion group that has many ideas, thoughts and worries as many everyday citizens and yet they go ignored. Why? Because the Chairman of the Board, Mr. Andrade has had numerous disagreements with various members of the group, therefore, he dismisses them. If your group is not part of the favorites, you don’t count. You don’t get public endorsement, you don’t receive a simple thank you, you just don’t matter.

This has been made clear of the Concerned Citizens and Friends of the Seekonk Veterans Memorial group as well.

What is worst is that the Chairman of the Board of Selectmen appears to decide on his own what the other Board members see, read, discuss in open session and THAT is not acceptable.

This opens doors to questions of doubt. Perception, isn’t that what he himself discussed a few meetings ago when companies were in to propose Hosting Agreements for Marijuana facilities?

An established Building with a Budget Policy is simple and concise. However, Chairman Andrade isn’t interested and (4) months later Concerned Citizens remain unheard. Wouldn’t you want to see where the monies that we, the community, vote to borrow (debt exclusions) for building projections and where it ultimately goes? Think about the millions of dollars utilized and ask yourself, are we getting our bang for our buck?

More so the dismissal of volunteers and informational groups like Concerned Citizens is also not acceptable. We are lifers, we are taxpayers, we are voters. We cannot let government, even as small as municipal governments be left unchecked.

Remind the Public Servers that they are where they are because of the community. Don’t let them smile at you only at election time or in this case re-election time. Don’t let them discourage you from running for office. If someone tells you, they are a Politician vote them OUT because all they want is to preserve their image as a leader and a line on a resume.

We want active workers representing us, utilizing our charter, following our by-laws, exercising contracts properly, caring for employees and acknowledging everyone even those who disagree.

We need more candidates to choose from in April. What we don’t need is more Politicians.

Doreen Taylor
Seekonk, MA

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