Letter: I spoke out against town council majority

Posted 11/17/20

To the editor:

I have been honored over the past 2 years to serve the Town of Barrington as a member of the Town Council. It is a community made up of hardworking residents that believe strongly …

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Letter: I spoke out against town council majority

Posted

To the editor:

I have been honored over the past 2 years to serve the Town of Barrington as a member of the Town Council. It is a community made up of hardworking residents that believe strongly in public education, civic involvement and maintaining a beautiful and healthy natural environment. Those qualities brought our family to Barrington over 20 years ago, and we still enjoy them today.

In my service to the community on the council I have worked hard to preserve Barrington’s values and special qualities while also being a strong fiscal steward. Last week’s Barrington Times editorial motivates me to clarify and highlight the actions that I have taken for the taxpayers. I have spoken up, often on my own, and voted, often on my own or in a 3-2 vote, to address many of the issues raised in the Times. For example, I voted against the proposed raises for staff that were well over the 2 percent we had given fire and police, and objected to those raises being handled outside the budget process.

In March when Covid19 shut down much of the state I proposed that we revisit the town’s budget in light of the pandemic and the changing fiscal situation. Many RI communities were making difficult decisions about their upcoming budgets, and I believed Barrington should as well. It was clear that I was a minority voice on that fiscal issue. I then switched tactics to try to advocate for smaller but still impactful, actions to reduce Town spending, such as a hiring freeze; that was voted down 3-2 with Councilor Brier voting for my action. At the Financial Town Meeting (FTM) I was the lone council vote against expanding the DPW by two employees. These are just some of the actions I have tried to take on behalf of the taxpayers of this town and I want to correct the record.

It is my hope that the incoming council will take seriously the voices of our citizens, like the resident who spoke at the FTM about his salary being cut and the difficulty that will pose for his family and who asked that the town reign in spending. We are fortunate to live in such a wonderful town, but it is a town with finite fiscal resources which should be carefully managed.   

Again, it has been a real privilege to serve. I wish the best to the incoming council as they confront the current challenges and seize the many opportunities ahead for Barrington.

Joy Hearn

Barrington

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Scott Pickering

Scott Pickering has been on the East Bay Newspapers team for more than two decades, since starting as a reporter for the Sakonnet Times. He's been editor of most of the papers, was Managing Editor of all the papers for many years, and became General Manager in 2012. Today he can be found posting to EastBayRI.com, steering news coverage, writing editorials, talking to readers, working with the sales team, collaborating on design, or helping do whatever it takes to get the papers out the door. Reach him at spickering@eastbaynewspapers.com.