Don’t Throw the Baby Out With the Bathwater

Royall H. Switzler–Wellesley Townsman   February 25, 2015

Having involvement with Wellesley government for over 55 years; with that experience, I’m not a believer in centralization.  As much as I’ve heard that Question 1, on March 15th’s Town Ballot, is not centralization, it is centralization!

I’ve heard all sides debated and concluded that this By-law change isn’t going to fix anything, that can’t already be fixed within our current government structure.  It’s also going to be costly, with no assurance, where savings would come.

Proponents of Town Manager government reason it’s needed for better Human Resources (HR) management. Mainly they point out that Boards aren’t timely with evaluations.  So, remind Boards to timely submit their reports! Thanks to the TOWNSMAN’S sleuthing, we now know that even HR and Board of Selectmen, themselves, didn’t submit evaluations timely.  The Boards are blamed for mismanagement, when the problem was central management all along!

Some want to jettison our government and dismantle the Boards’ ability to lead, when evidently, only needed was forwarding a simple reminder.  Perhaps there are some other changes proponents want through central management, to make things run more smoothly.  So do it!   But don’t “throw the baby out with the bathwater” and that’s effectively what a favorable vote would do.

If from Maine, we’d say, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.”  Reality is, that our current form of government, with volunteer citizen boards governing, has worked well since 1881, and our AAA bond rating helps prove that.

I queried at Town Meeting how much would be saved, and nothing was forthcoming; nor where the supposed savings would come from.  I also asked how much was spent, so far, crafting the proposal.  No answer also!  It’ll cost more, because Town Managers and assistants command higher salaries, to manage 19 departments.  I’d be surprised if the Town Manager can manage 19 direct reports, even with two assistants.

Looking at Town Manager governments in this state and elsewhere, I haven’t seen many that save money, but they often cost more.

Please take a critical look what effect this’ll have on Wellesley’s future and join me on March 15th, by voting NO.

Sincerely,

Royall H. Switzler

10 Oakridge Rd.

Wellesley, MA