March 15 2019

Letter to the Editor: Yes to Appoint

On April 6th, Burlington voters will decide whether to have its elected Treasurer/Collector Office become an appointed Treasurer/Collector Office.  I respectfully ask that you vote Yes to Appoint on Ballot Question #1.

Currently, as an elected position, the only requirement to be Treasurer/Collector is to be at least 18 years old and a Burlington resident, who prevails on Election Day once every three years… no degrees, no professional credentials…and no experience necessary. Once elected, the Treasurer/Collector reports directly to the residents, and although this would appear to be reasonable, with few protocols or mandates as how this communication is to occur, there is a clear potential for a lack of accountability and oversight.

The Treasurer/Collector is responsible for the investment and management of $150 million of Burlington Taxpayer’s funds. As such, this critical administrative position should be filled by a qualified and credentialed professional.

By voting YES, and making this an appointed position, we as a Town, will join over 80% of communities in Massachusetts who agree that this important position is best occupied by a qualified professional; one who reports and is overseen by both the Administration and the residents, providing regular updates on the Town’s finances.

Moreover, this appointed position would be in alignment with the rest of Burlington’s Administration.  Administrative Staff positions are appointed (hired) as qualified professionals, held accountable to a Board or Committee, consisting of elected Burlington residents. As examples, the Town Administrator, Police Chief and Fire Chief all report to the Board of Selectmen; the Library Director reports to the Library Trustees; and the Environmental Engineer reports to the Conservation Commission, to name a few.   This check and balance system allows the Burlington residents, as the elected officials, to oversee their appointed staff. These professionals are regularly held accountable to their boards and committees, in public sessions, where any resident may also attend and participate.

Please join me April 6th and vote Yes to Appoint on Ballot Question #1.

Shari Ellis

Town Meeting Member Precinct 3


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