Many of you know me and those who don’t let me just say that I have dedicated much of my adult life as a volunteer working tirelessly in trying to keep our rural community a beautiful and safe place to live. At same time I have worked endlessly to keep our town business friendly. As a retired small business owner I more than understand the costs and taxes that business and industry face daily in this difficult economy. I have fought hard to preserve our open space and natural resources, our wetlands and watercourses, protections for the betterment of the entire community and its future.
Although I have a long history of being able to work and serve with both sides of the political fence, both Democrats and Republicans, I find that today most folks in Rockfall and Middlefield are truly independent thinkers. This upcoming town election Nov. 5 is more about electing the right person to do what is right and just for all the people in our small town rather than a candidate who is either a Republican or a Democrat.
Today I am submitting the necessary petitions that will allow me to become a candidate for first selectman as an independent voter. In the next weeks we will publish our platform and to ask for your responses to these issues.
As an unaffiliated Middlefield first selectman candidate I hope to address a number of issues relevant to our small town, and which, from my observation, are lacking and in urgent need of better management.
Let me begin with this: as someone who has attended scores of meetings over the years, and served as a volunteer on many boards, commissions, and committees, I always search for accurate sources of information for myself and for our citizens. I was a member of a recent ad hoc committee, the Records Retention Committee. The membership of this committee included our town clerk, the chairman of the Republican Town Committee, the town treasurer, a selectman, the Republican registrar of voters, and chair of the Board of Finance.
This committee was officially appointed by the first selectman. The committee’s research documented both the need for the Town of Middlefield to have a web site that is regularly updated to provide our citizens with current relevant information, and the manner in which that website could be achieved. However, during all of the budgets prepared by the present first selectman and approved by the Board of Finance, this goal has never been met.
Our first selectman has repeatedly defended the budget line item and expenses of $91,000 for the tax assessor to be assigned as the staff person designated as webmaster, part-time. This has been an unsatisfactory and expensive solution. A prime example is, after visiting the Middlefield website yesterday, I found the notice for a Midstate Regional Planning Agency Meeting (this organization has been out of existence for over two years) along with expired notices of two meetings.
There were no notices for any upcoming meetings. Our town website also says: “For: Local News about the Durham/Middlefield Area log on to Patch ... and gives the Patch email address.” Official town websites never refer to sites such as this for official information. Only documented and approved official information should be posted on a town government website. If it is notice of a meeting, for example, the documented filing of that notice must be at the town clerk’s office.
Wise use of our tax dollars does not include the maintenance of a useless web site and, even more important, Middlefield and Rockfall citizens have been denied access to information that allows them to monitor the functioning of our local government. Decisions are being made behind closed doors that affect everyone’s daily life.
When I am the first selectman, this situation will be immediately rectified. I firmly believe that our citizens deserve access to information that is current and accurate, in the use of a reliable website.