Citizen News, October 21, 2015
I was delighted and encouraged to see that the candidate debate that
was held at the ESF this past Sunday was very well attended. In fact,
more seats had to be brought in to accommodate all who were present.
Debates are an example of democracy at its best: when folks come
together to ask questions of their town leaders a dialogue is created
that can be very productive. Don Lowe and I believe that it takes many
different perspectives to create a complete picture of our town and we
will always be open to receiving your input and hearing your ideas.
Questions came up during the debate regarding the town
budget. This is where it gets a bit murky. The budgeting process is complex and not always well explained. When an aspect of town
governance is not understood by the general public, it is because it is not being explained well enough by town leaders. In response to a budget related question, our first selectman welcomed residents to attend budget workshops….well, I have attended this administration’s budget workshops and they are not always enlightening. The audience watches the BOS discuss budget items without the benefit of being provided with any visual material. The concept of asking citizens to show up and watch, for hours on end, the board and treasurer discuss the intricacies of the town budget without, at the very least, the ability to view those numbers, has all the mass appeal of watching grass-grow or paint dry. I would propose something as basic as projecting the numbers being discussed onto a screen via power point. This simple, seemingly small adjustment would change the process for the better, provide greater transparency, and encourage far more interest from the public.
This particular example is just one of many areas where Don and I
intend to improve processes in order to provide Sherman taxpayers
with the transparency that they deserve from their managing board.
Next, Don and I have already engaged in preparing for the positions
we are seeking. I recently completed a two day workshop on grant
writing through the Connecticut Association of Nonprofits. It was a
high-caliber skills program featuring the theory and practice pertaining
to the fundamentals of grant writing. Being prepared for the position of
the Selectman is of the utmost importance to me. Once elected both
Don and I intend on learning as much as we can in the two months
preceding the beginning of our term so that we may hit the ground
running and minimize the learning curve.
Lastly, Don and I are focused on tapping human resource assets that
are truly right for Sherman. We will not limit our search to the confines
of a single political party at the cost of the best possible skill set and
talent for the benefit of our town. We have made this more than clear in
the fact that we have not challenged well-run town positions simply
because they are occupied by members of “the opposing party.” In
stark contrast, the Cope administration has a track record of leaning
exclusively on members of their own party to fill vacancies on town
boards and committees. In a town where any particular party makes up
less than one third of all registered voters, this practice is certainly not
“right for Sherman.” It is highly likely that Mr. Cope’s practice of
choosing party before the overall good of Sherman has cost the town
much needed talent. Political gamesmanship at the expense of the
Sherman taxpayer will be met with a zero-tolerance policy under a
On November 3rd, your vote for Don Lowe and Ashleigh Blake will
not just be a vote for a particular political party or a row on a ballot. It
is a vote for integrity in our governing process and a bright future for the town we all love.