Manchester Selectmen voted 3-2 to change how town business is done.

They voted to put the issue of a town “green space” before townspeople on a written ballot prior to the annual Town Meeting. While this may be touted as an effort to give more people the option of voting on this issue, it is a radical departure from how we have done business in the past.

What this decision really does is seek to get a vote done without presentations from the people who have considered this issue over the past few months. The Park Committee, appointed by the selectmen, presented a plan for a town “park” next to the Town Office, where the old fire station was located. The selectmen then decided to offer another plan that would retain all of the paving around the footprint of the old fire station — some 60 feet back from the road. The additional cost to the town for the expanded “green space” is $12,000.

The Park Committee’s plan also was endorsed by members of the Conservation Commission, the Planning Board chairman, and members of the Budget Committee. None of these people will be given the opportunity to present the plan or make their argument at Town Meeting.

The bigger problem is how to address the decision of the Board of Selectmen to yank the heart out of Town Meeting. Selectman Bob Gasper said “it will take too much time,” showing a total disregard for the efforts of volunteers in this town to bring the community together.

Terri Watson, former chairman

Board of Selectmen

Manchester


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