A fair process for committee appointments needed

To Members of the Select Board,

My interpretation of the recent New Gloucester vote for members of the NG Select Board was a vote for change; change that includes greater openness and fairness in how decisions are made by the board.

In its meeting on Monday, the select board failed the “fairness” test.  The case in point is appointments to the planning board.  Where there are persons seeking appointment or reappointment to a committee, the select board should be interviewing both those seeking reappointment and those seeking first time appointment. 

I would urge the select board to reverse its planning board appointments until it adopts a policy regarding a committee appointment process that assures “fairness” and consideration of all persons interested in being appointed to a committee. The select board’s decision may or may not be the same as the one it made at its Monday meeting. However, the decision it made at that meeting was very unfair to the candidates seeking to be considered.  

It should not be a difficult process to draft a policy regarding procedures for applications, interviewing and appointing members of town committees.  In fact, it would be especially helpful to have position descriptions and responsibilities spelled out for all of the town committees.  The town manager should be asked to assist in drafting the committee position descriptions.

Clearly several board members were troubled by the decision they were being asked to make, but I am disappointed that only select board member Ward voted against the appointment motion.

One of the most difficult acts is to recognize when we make a wrong decision.  I urge the board to recognize what the majority did last night was to make a decision that was unfair to a number of New Gloucester citizens interested in serving our town.

Thanks for considering my opinion.  I would ask that it be read in the public comment period at the next board meeting.

John Salisbury
417B Sabbathday Road  

DISCLAIMER: The views expressed in this opinion piece are solely those of the author. Publication does not reflect endorsement by the NGXchange or its volunteers. NGX welcomes diverse viewpoints and invites your submissions. Learn more here.