While we haven’t seen any lawn signs pop up yet, the online campaigns for and against Wellesley shifting to a Board of Selectmen-Town Manager form of government have gone live. Gov. Charlie Baker gave his blessing to the plan for a Town Manager, as did Town Meeting, but the change won’t go through unless voters okay it in March.
Some in town have begun receiving letters from the “For Wellesley’s Future: YES to Improve Town Government” group, which is seeking to raise funds and spread the word to vote Yes on Question #1 on March 15 during town-wide elections. The group, on its new website, describes itself as a committee of more than 40 current and former town leaders, with familiar names such as Dave Murphy and Katherine Babson leading the charge as co-chairs. The group argues that it’s time for Wellesley to make a change given the growth in the town’s budget, workforce and more over the past couple of decades. Having a Town Manager in place will “strengthen service delivery to residents by holistically managing municipal operations, creating synergies and increasing cross-department working opportunities.” Increased accountability is a big emphasis of this group.
As this group notes, a rival committee has also formed “and is expected to actively campaign against passage.”
You can learn more about “Save Wellesley Town Government” at its website here. The theme: “Wellesley has a long and proud history of transparent, responsive, effective and efficient small town government, which has made Wellesley a leader in Massachusetts. Let’s keep it that way.” This group encourages you to vote No on Question #1.
Among the topics discussed on this site are “Town Manager and Your Taxes” and a message from the group’s chair, former selectman Don McCauley. As you might recall, several town boards and commissions (Natural Resources Commission, Board of Health, Wellesley Free Library Board of Trustees, etc.) have raised concerns about losing control to a Town Manager. The Save Wellesley Town Government group points out that it isn’t suggesting all the work that has gone into studying changes to Wellesley town government need to go to waste, but it is pushing for what it says would be a greater consensus on what’s best for Wellesley.