Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Christine Swanson Resigns from Longmeadow Select Board

Below is the resignation email letter from Christine Swanson that was read by chair Mark Gold at last night's Select Board meeting.

Dear Board Members and residents of Longmeadow,

I will be resigning from the Longmeadow Select Board effective the evening of January 3, 2012.  It has been a pleasure and an honor serving the last 6 years as a member of the Select Board, School Committee and School Building Committee.

For my fellow board members, the past year has served as an opportunity to examine and learn from our mistakes and successes.  My observations and participation on the board have provided me with greater clarity on the issues and challenges that continue to prevent the board from moving forward.   Here are a few of my suggestions:
  1. No one board member has greater power or influence over any other board member.  Without collaboration and greater communication, issues will continue to go unresolved.
  2. Trust is a large issue and continued undermining and backdooring of issues will further exacerbate this issue.
  3. Personal agendas and future political aspirations should be put aside to allow the board to focus on the critical issues of the town as a whole not one sub set of the population for political or personal gain.
  4. Separation of operations and policy must be adhered to and Board members getting involved in the day to day operations of the town is not the board’s charge and damaging to the employed leaders.
  5. Town committees serve as advisory to the select board.  They do not override the expertise of the town employees but should enhance the information and data.  Continued antagonistic relationships between town departments and some town committees needs to be addressed.
  6. The School Building Committee is a great example of how collaboration works when a team is comprised of town employees, vendors, elected board members and residents.  It should serve as a model going forward.
  7. Lastly, I do hope that the board takes their time and does the proper due diligence in the hiring of a new Town Manager.  Recent hires by “hiring committees” have shown that there is room for improvement in the current process and the hiring committee needs to do the appropriate level of research to learn all they can about a candidate before they are offered a position.  
I wish everyone all the best in the future and look forward to seeing the completion of Longmeadow High School in 2013.

Warmest Regards,
Christine Swanson