Thorough, Transparent and Inclusive Make Wellesley’s “Secret Formula”

Suzy Littlefield–Wellesley Townsman, March 10, 2016

“Those who are concerned about upcoming decisions on the Hardy/Hunnewell/Upham Schools and uses for the North 40 should be especially concerned about the authority given to the Town Manager under the Special Act”.

It all started with a bag of glass.  A concerned Oak Street abutter to the Sprague Fields came to School Committee with a bag of broken glass she had collected while walking across the Sprague Fields.  The glass pieces were from the remains of an old municipal dump, debris that was migrating to the surface.  A subsequent order from the Mass. Dept. of Environmental Protection to deal with the issues on the fields led to the formation of the Sprague Fields Task Force.  The SFTF was one of many joint board/citizen committees that work to make the Town responsive to the needs of its residents.  Others include the North 40, Fuller Brook Park, 900 Worcester St., WHS Building Committee and the Sustainable Energy Committee.  Elected officials from Town Boards, Town staff, neighbors, and interested citizens form these committees.  Spending time researching, talking, and understanding each other’s position results in some pretty amazing projects.  The Advisory book from 2008 describing the SFTF work could easily describe the work of any number of joint committees; “the (Sprague) Master Plan is the result of a thorough, transparent, and inclusive process in which a wide range of constituencies was represented, and which achieved compromise on issues that were previously viewed as contentious and divisive”.

Working together from the bottom up on a problem, Board members and citizens make Wellesley a better place.  Top down decisions from a Town Manager would significantly change our Town and shut down citizen involvement from both elected officials and interested residents.  Those who are concerned about upcoming decisions on the Hardy/Hunnewell/Upham Schools and uses for the North 40 should be especially concerned about the authority given to the Town Manager under the Special Act.  Please join me in voting No on Ballot question #1 on March 15th.

Suzy Littlefield

Former School Committee member and Chair

TMM Precinct A