To The Daily Sun,
I have been a Selectmen for eight years now and rarely have I posted a letter to the editor, but I feel this issue is well worth it. Growing up in the Town of Atkinson, I served on the Board of Selectmen and at that time it was a three-person board. I served a year-and-a-half term and then moved because of my job. In short, I know well what it is like to serve on each type.
Here are some thoughts on why I think going to a three-person Board in the Town of Tilton will be a disservice to the citizens of the Town:
• We have a much greater diversity with five people than three, and a greater perspective and ideas. We don't always agree, but most often come to a resolve and move the town in a forward direction.
• With five selectmen, there is a greater chance of having folks from different parts of town, therefore, representation of the "whole" town is greater.
• With five selectmen, the town maintains coverage and representation during the day for meetings. For example: NHDOT, Governor's Office, Senate and House Hearings, TAC meetings.
• Our current Board serve as ex-officio and alternate ex-officio of Planning Board and Budget Committee. Should we go to three selectmen, we will be required to post a selectmen's meeting for these meetings as well because it will denote a quorum.
• Currently our selectmen serve as representatives to the Planning Board, Budget Committee, Parks Commission, Executive Committee for Seniors and hold several liaison positions to departments. With only three selectmen they will be attending a meeting every night of the week except Fridays. With the current board, each selectmen chooses one committee to represent and it doesn't place an added burden on one individual.
• In Tilton, our five-member Board of Selectmen rarely have to cancel a meeting for a lack of a quorum.
• If the Tilton Board of Selectmen were reduced to a three-member board it would be a burden on the town administrator who already expertly handles the current daily work load of abatement requests, daily Department Head issues, weekly payroll, employees' issues, preparing bid requests for various projects and purchases, getting estimates for town hall repairs and services, and much more.
• Having five selectmen instead of three insure the residents of the town of Tilton can have the opportunity to discuss and resolve any problems and concerns directly with one of the selectmen.
I cannot find any advantages as to why the town would want to go backward and choose a three-selectman board. Our current salaried staff at Town Hall work anywhere between 60 and 70 hours a week trying to keep up with the daily tasks of municipalities. Each of our employees not only do their jobs but often assist in other departments. Do we really want to just keep adding more work on to already overburdened employees? Selectmen that are available during the day often meet with a department head, resident or perhaps let our concerns be heard at the state or county level.
Please, I urge everyone to help Tilton move forward in a positive direction and vote "No" on Article 3. Let's not go backward.
Please get out and vote.