March 27 2019

Letter to the Editor: Don’t Make it a Popularity Contest; Appoint the Next Town Treasurer

The following is a Letter to the Editor: 

 

To the Editors,

 

Burlington voters have a choice to make next month: have the Board of Selectmen vet, interview, and appoint a new town treasurer to replace Brian Curtin, or continue to elect a treasurer, opening the field up to any who choose to pull papers. I strongly urge residents to vote to appoint. The reasons are myriad.

 

While I believe firmly in the electoral process, it does not always yield  a qualified result, as evidenced in our national politics today. Especially in town elections, candidates who are un- or barely-qualified can win elections based on their popularity, name recognition, or endorsement by some local celebrity.

 

In fact, recently an email came across my desktop. It was from a former Town Meeting moderator, who exhorted people to continue with an elected treasurer, claiming that it would avoid concentrating power in the hands of a few (by which I believe he meant the Board of Selectmen). He went on to propose as potential candidates: the husband of a longtime incumbent School Committee member, a cousin of said SC member, the brother of another current SC member (who was the former Town Meeting moderator - the brother, I mean), a real estate agent/former Board of Selectmen member, and others who are equally unqualified and tied to the "few" in power in this town. Burlington’s budget, at approximately $150 million, should not be handled by anyone who needs to learn on the go. We already did that, with near disastrous results. As recently as last year, the School Department had to come back to Town Meeting to request $1M in additional funds. The Town Treasurer should be someone who is skilled in and has experience overseeing large budgets. I believe the best way to find someone is to have a committee interview qualified candidates and present them to the Board of Selectmen for extensive interviewing and selection.

 

Burlington should find and appoint a town treasurer with the background and qualifications of running a large financial operation, not locals who will have to learn as they go, to the detriment of the town. Managing the town budget is not for the inexperienced. The taxpayers of Burlington deserve better than that.

 

Please vote to appoint.

 

Sincerely,

Ann Steeves


 

 
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