Barrington Town Council candidates weigh public sentiment vs. official information

Barrington Town Council candidates weigh public sentiment vs. official information


In the latest question of the week, Barrington Town Council candidates were asked the following: “When dealing with municipal issues, how much consideration will you give public sentiment versus information offered by town officials?”

Here were their responses:

DON NESSING – “While most municipal issues will impact all residents, some may only directly impact smaller groups of residents and town officials are always an important source for input. Bottom line: All points of view need to be given a fair hearing.”

ANN STRONG – “Facts will be the determining elements of my decisions. Many initiatives, however, are not black and white but predicated on fact and desire. Whatever the facts, the desire of the TC should never outweigh the collective desire of the people.”

SHIRLEY APPLEGATE-LOCKRIDGE – “I would defer to town officials when their expertise drives the decision. Otherwise, give considerable weight to popular sentiments. Our residents are well informed and participate boldly in town issues. Either way, councilors always remain accountable for ultimate council decisions.”

KATE WEYMOUTH – “Public sentiment is vital to the democratic process. It must be balanced with the facts and evidence provided by town officials doing their job, to assure that the decisions we make are in the best interest of the entire community.”

MARGARET KANE – “Of course, town councilors are elected to serve their constituents and should be responsive to their needs, but must weigh all information and perspectives, including those of town officials, to reach sound decisions.”

JUNE SPEAKMAN – “It depends on the issue. Town officials are paid municipal professionals who understand the technical details of public policy. However, we are ultimately accountable to the public and must attend to their input in every instance.”




  1. With all due respect to the candidates, and town officials, recent history shows that the public may be more reliable than town officials and the councils.


    – The BET lawsuit was fought by the town council, and ultimately settled, because of poor legal advice (their motion to dismiss was thrown out) and, town officials advice (the reval didn’t use consistent standards).

    – BCWA’s new board and management are only now getting a full grasp of the number of problems at BCWA that were outlined by the public two years earlier.

    – The EBEC fiasco was well known to the public long before the councils took action on shutting down that boondoggle.

    – Not to mention the town lost when they chose to fight the AG on records requests.

    – Now there is the affordable housing fiasco in which the town chose to subsidize property taxes, when they should have said “NO WAY”.

    I think the public has been more reliable than town officials.

  2. I spoke to a new BCWA Board member yesterday at the Bristol forum.

    He is shaking his head over just how much has to be done that was leftover from the past board and management. The new board doesn’t have a magic bag of tricks, so big time rate increases are on the way.