A Question of Balance
WHAT DOES PROPOSITION 3 MEAN - IF THE PUBLIC VOTES "Yes" the Town would have the ability to pass a law that would return to the staggered terms that were in place for a long time, prior to the Ward System being instituted. Town Board members believe that staggered terms provide additional stability in decision-making and protection from the possibility of most or all of the board members being brand new, and possibly having little or no experience with laws, codes and budgets. It was discussed at several regular board sessions during the past 5 months- and had 2 or 3 comments from the public. The board consulted with the Town Attorney and other legal sources as to what would be the ways, or the best way to accomplish this, the goal being that with 4-year terms that are staggered, there would always be experience with putting together a budget, understanding codes and laws, and how they relate to historical town decisions over the past 10-20 years. And the idea to switch back is not new for this board.... former Councilwoman Sonia Ayala suggested a return to staggered terms almost 2 years ago. She encouraged the board to continue to pursue it. To understand the breadth of knowledge that is needed, for example with a yearly budget, take a look at this year's volume which is over 70 pages and is a daunting task to even read let alone make a decision about every item in every column and line. It's online if you didn't get a chance to attend and/or read it.
A few rumors have spread the past week or two that this change BACK to 4-year terms is simply a "Power Grab", and that it was somehow done secretively. This is simply not true. Having covered Blooming Grove news for 15 years, and being Blooming Grove's primary reporter for Straus News, then the Orange County Post and now the Courier Journal, and while the Town was under 4 different Administrations, I knew right away that this needed to be put in the Courier Journal when it first came up in a Town Board meeting, and again when attorneys offered 2 different ways it could be accomplished and recommended the way most pertinent. ALL Town Board meetings are open. Anyone could have participated in the discussion if they had doubts about it being a good idea. Unfortunately with people's busy lives these days there are sometimes only a handful of people attending, if that. Likewise, with their busy lives, their regular jobs, and fear of participating in what is in some other towns very contentious, sometimes corrupt processes, and occasionally even dangerous threats made, (one in particular made here just over a year ago), it is difficult to find good people to risk the commitment. Qualified candidates these days are very hard to find, and given the sad lacking attendence at the three monthly sessions, it will be difficult for any new candidates to catch up on the background and information they will need. There are a few up-and-coming new residents that participate and are gaining the groundwork to be board members in the future, but it will take time.
You be the judge. You have 3 alternatives. 1. Vote for someone you believe you can trust for 4 years. 2. Campaign and vote for someone else. 3. Attend meetings and run for office yourself. The Town cannot make this change unless you vote for it. You know these board members and what they have done for the Community in recent years. Do you think they are proposing this change BACK to the way it successfully functioning in the past for the greater good of the community, or do you think they do all this work, for very little pay, for their own ego's.