Change is Too Radical and Divisive

Andy Wrobel–Wellesley Townsman, March 10, 2016

“I love change – but it needs to be a change that is embraced by the many.” 

I am going to vote NO on March 15th for the new Town government structure for two reasons: it is too divisive and it reduces the power of citizens to enhance (and perhaps more importantly protect) the character of this Town.

First, I love change – but it needs to be a change that is embraced by the many.   No doubt that our current government could use some improvement but 40% of Town Meeting Members thought this change was too much change.  To change a sign law we need a 2/3 majority in Town Meeting but to radically alter the Town’s government structure we only need (and only received)  a simple majority?   This proposal dramatically reduces the influence of the boards in town and marginalizes the highly skilled and passionate volunteers that helps give Wellesley its small feel.   Most of the elected Boards in Town spoke out against this change.  Many past Board of Selectmen are opposed to this centralization of power.  This change is too radical and certainly too divisive.

Second, as a Town Meeting member,  I am sensitive to the emails I received from distressed Hardy parents who felt that the decision to close Hardy School was made by a small insider group without citizen input. I am concerned that If the town manager proposal is passed on March 15th, there will be a lot more of these closed door decisions. The Town Manager is not required to have open meetings – as the boards are.  This is the way the law is set up.  Concentrating power in one person who doesn’t have to allow a forum for citizen input on key decisions is not what Wellesley wants.  A new town manager’s strongest mandate is expected to be tighter budget management.  If you want to save neighborhood schools (which will be more expensive but help to keep our small Town feel), think ahead, get to the polls on March 15th and VOTE NO. The same applies to the fate of the North 40 and the branch libraries.  Keep citizen government in Wellesley – join me and VOTE NO.

— Andy Wrobel  TMM, Precinct G, Board of Recreation