Letter: Who’s looking out for local taxpayers?

To the editor:
The school budget was unsurprisingly passed by the School Committee with yet another increase of 3.2 percent to $46.1 million.
The appropriations committee has yet to act on this proposal. What is disturbing in all of this is the assumption of an overall 2 percent increase in salaries and a whopping 5.5 percent increase in benefits which are subject to “negotiations” with the teacher’s union.
This apparently sets the floor for the increases. What am I missing?
Is there anyone watching out for the taxpayer in all of this? What cuts, efficiency improvements, benefit adjustments are being proposed to keep the budget in line with what taxpayers can afford to pay?
Is Barrington so rich and special that it is immune to our current economic realities that are affecting the state and the country? When is spending going be controlled at any level?
I sure hope that those appointed and elected officials who will be “negotiating” and approving deals and budgets take a close look at spending, salaries, benefits and performance to justify any increases.
Are the current salaries and benefit packages justifiable given similar towns in similar situations to justify any increase? Who is looking at these questions? If we don’t do something control these unsustainable cost increases, the economic flight from this town and state will continue.
Andrew C. Kadak

Barrington

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2 Comments

  1. GaryM said:

    Mr Kadak,

    Since retiring in 2005 from management consulting, I’ve worked with a small number of East Bay residents to try and bring some sanity to our local government. During this time, I’ve come to terms with the following reality:

    1) You cannot make change by being on a town committee, or running for town government. Change is made by digging into hard numbers, reading through the details of what town officials are trying to pull off behind our backs, and making the issue as public as possible. Government watch-dogs serve an important public purpose.

    2) Residents have limited “watch-dog” staying power. Even the fact that residents were drinking from one of the most polluted raw water sources in the state for decades (BCWA’s Kickmuit Reservoir), this issue only attracted the interest of about 10 residents from the entire East Bay during the 2 1/2 years it took to shut the Kickemuit supply down.

    The fact that the East Bay is now enjoying 100% Scituate Reservoir drinking water is based on the work of .02% of the East Bay population. Our government officials did not do this work.

    If the best that can be expected is the interest of .02% of the population on any subject, you can now understand how our town officials read these statistics and believe they can get away with anything.

    The blame for this sits squarely with voters who refuse to hold government officials accountable (I reference the last election results).

    “We have met the enemy, and he is us” – Pogo, Earth Day, 1971

    Thank you for taking the time to write.

    Gary Morse
    Barrington

  2. Marina Peterson said:

    Great Response Gary! As one of the .02% of the population who has been fighting for four years to bring accurate information to the public, I heartily agree with your response!

    How many people have I encountered in the last four years who tell me, on the QT, that they support what I am saying, think things should be changed, but just can’t openly get involved right now because of … you pick…. effect to their business, family employed by town/city/state/water authority, need to keep a low profile for political reasons… you name it.

    Until that percentage that you mentioned goes up quite a bit, nothing will be changed.
    ..

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