The Results are in!

Wellesley Townsman, March 15, 2016

Voters Tuesday rejected the proposed shift to a Town Manager form of government that would have overhauled Wellesley Town Hall power structure, consolidating authority and installing a leader who would have overseen the development of the town’s budget and evaluation of town employees.

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Commentary: A fundamental, unnecessary and damaging change

Heather Sawitsky–Wellesley Townsman, March 10, 2016

“Do we want to structure our government like a corporation? We should be recognized for what we are: citizens who pay the taxes and are entitled to receive town services. We are not customers who can buy town products elsewhere if we are unhappy with what Wellesley provides. Further, we are not all looking for the same basket of services.”

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Editor’s Note: Ms. Sawitsky is a former Moderator and Advisory Chair.

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”.

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Hometown Weekly Weighs In on Town Manager Question

Hometown Weekly

Big Referendum Coming Up in Wellesley–Hometown Weekly.

Wellesley has always had passionate volunteers who care about their town. The upcoming March 15th town referendum on town government is no exception. Legions of volunteers will be posting signs in yards and campaigning for their side of the ballot question: Should Wellesley switch from its current town administrator form of government to a much more centralized – and less transparent– town manager form of government? We spoke to the Vote No campaigners of, a broad array of high-schoolers to 90-year-olds, environmental activists to fiscal conservatives, physicians to lawyers to management consultants.

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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

Need for Change Exaggerated says Tom Frisardi

Thomas Frisardi–Wellesley Townsman, March 10, 2016

Why would residents who have the right to manage their own government yield a substantial part of this right to a single person, who is not even necessarily a resident of the town? Removing power from volunteer boards and committees reduces the value of serving on such a committee and will discourage citizen participation. Why would someone volunteer their time to basically act in a supporting role for someone who is earning $200,000 a year…


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Globe West–Don McCauley on Reasons to Vote “NO”

Don McCauley–Boston Globe West  February 27, 2016

Wellesley resident, former member of the Board of Selectmen, the Planning Board, and the Advisory Committee

“Massachusetts permits a dizzying array of municipal structures with differing allocation of responsibilities among administrators, boards, staff, and citizens. No size fits all. There are probably 351 varieties, in a state with that many cities and towns. The task is to use the alternatives to make improvements and maintain strengths”.


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