Vol. IV No. 4 2/15/2023
Reader to Reader
Letter to Stockbridge Updates
After Stockbridge was chartered in 1737, the town leaders developed a plan for governance. That plan included various boards and committees which the leaders determined were necessary for a well-run town.
A Selectboard was established to be the governing body for the town. Three members were to be elected. An annual town meeting took place with special meetings being called with sufficient notice, if needed.
The position of town Moderator was subsequently, with the actual date unknown, chosen to enable the town meetings to be conducted following a proper code of conduct. The position of Moderator became an elected one. The Moderator position was further enhanced by adding the duty of appointing a Finance Board to serve in an advisory capacity to the Selectboard, as well as other enhanced duties such as appointing citizens to other positions in Stockbridge. The actual dates of exactly how this process came about are unknown by me, but it survives to the present.
The "will of the people" is evident by the fact that the current town moderator has been elected for over 40 years in our town. People respect his judgement.
Further, the Moderator, having previously served on the town Finance Board, clearly understands that the Board is to serve in an advisory function. Since this process was established, many town residents have been appointed and served on the Finance Board. They have all been volunteers, and not elected politicians.
The only allegiance the Finance Board has is to the taxpayers of Stockbridge, and they have functioned well in that capacity, understanding the differences between Public and Private finance.
Now, because a small group of disgruntled citizens disagree with a position the Finance Board has taken regarding the RTE, they are planning to submit a petition to the annual town meeting, mandating a change in the process of how this Board is determined.
They want the Finance Board to become a political body, thereby removing one of the foundations underpinning the financial process for our town — no political biases.
The adage, "if it isn't broken, don't fix it," applies here and I hope the voters will reject this proposed change.
Please note that I write this letter as a private citizen and not as a member of any board or committee.
Editor's Note: Balfanz is a member of the Finance Committee
To Stockbridge Updates
I recently moved to Stockbridge and have been familiarizing myself with my new home.
Thank you to Stockbridge Updates for keeping me informed. I also watched meetings on CTSB and really appreciate being able to keep up that way.
I watched the last Finance Committee meeting, and they seem to be doing important work for the Town.
I like that people weigh in on issues through Stockbridge Updates. I would like to say the Finance Committee seems really important — like the Select Board — so shouldn't they also be elected by the people?
Thank you for the News Alert about Monday’s Coffee Hour with our new State Senator Paul Mark. In addition to the reminder, I was pleasantly surprised to see that there was a Zoom link and glad that so many joined remotely in addition to a full house in-person. Stockbridge Updates is a wonderful source of information and I think you got a few shoutouts at the gathering yesterday.
Thank you to Patrick White for reaching out to Senator Mark on behalf of the town and enabling Stockbridge to be the first stop for Senator Mark’s roving coffee and conversations that he likes to call “Refreshments and ReMarks”. He was joined by Representative Smitty Pignatelli who along with Senator Mark discussed issues and responded to questions from those present for almost two hours. It was a room full of interested citizens who gathered both in person and remotely to address issues of local, state and personal interest such as affordable housing, transportation, the RTE, clean waterways and the school district. It’s encouraging to know that Stockbridge has a state senator and a state representative who understand our needs, respond in a timely manner and will help us find resources to resolve or fund those needs including our fair share of the millionaire’s tax. I enjoyed hearing the discussions and civil interaction with a wide variety of townspeople and their concerns.
It was like an enjoyable old-time town hall with coffee and donuts.
Going. Photo: Lionel Delevingne