The troubles now affecting Readfield have been piling up slowly during the past two years because of lack of effective, consistent leadership from our Select Board. Our community is in crisis, and the exodus of employees is a testament to the fact that something needs to change. The formation of an employee union is just a symptom of the larger problem: a lack of trust and respect.

The Select Board needs to be willing to work with and follow the lead of the town manager. The Select Board needs to employ a strong town manager who has the full support and confidence of selectmen. They need to empower him/her to guide them out of these difficulties, to bring the factions together and work out compromises, to earn the respect and trust of the staff, the board and the community. The Select Board needs to end its practice of going into executive session, which does not respect those in the community who want to participate. The Select Board needs to respond to its constituents — the residents of Readfield.

Everyone who cares about Readfield needs to vote on Tuesday with an open mind and good intentions. We don’t need any more negative, angry attitudes if we’re going to figure this thing out as a community. This is our opportunity to refocus on what should be the priority for all of us: having a strong town government and a caring community.

Now is the time for those with maturity and integrity to look forward, work together and try to get this town moving in the right direction again. There’s no substitute for skillful, energetic leadership. Vote for responsible people of good character who know how to treat people with kindness and respect.

Kathryn Mills Woodsum

Steven D. Woodsum

Kents Hill