Every tax is a pay cut.  Every tax cut is a pay raise.
Citizens for Limited Taxation

Town manager should be elected Wednesday, July 23, 2003
Doug Freeman Metrowest Daily News
I've heard much discussion on the delay in appointments by the town manager to the Framingham Conservation Commission as well as discussion on the appointment process in the past.

Some have recently gone so far as to suggest a change in the town manager act to allow the Board of Selectman to regain certain appointing authority from the town manager.

Instead, maybe Framingham should consider an elected town manager.  Keep the town form of government, keep town meeting, keep the Board of Selectman, and keep the town manager position.  However, we could elect the town manager every three years like the Board of Selectman's members are.  Certainly the town manager position is as influential in town as any one member of the Board of Selectman.  Electing the town manager every three years would make the position accountable directly to the people.  As it stands now, the town manager is accountable only to the Board of Selectman.

This would set up a local three-branch system of government where town meeting is the legislative, the town manager would be the elected executive and the Board of Selectman would be the judicial.  The Board of Selectman would not give up any of its authority and would act as they do now, policy setting and review (judicial-like activities).  Town meeting would still hold the purse strings.  The elected town manager would serve as chief executive, make appointments and run the town, subject to Board of Selectman concurrence and oversight as is currently the case.  Checks and balances all the way around.  The only difference would be that the town manager would be directly accountable to the people.  If the public liked what was being done by the manager, that individual would be re-elected; if not he or she would be replaced.

The office of town manager would become attractive to qualified candidates who would compete in the public forum, just like the selectman do today for their important position.  Unlike the part-time volunteer positions held by the selectman which include only a stipend, the elected town manager would be a full-time employee of the town, as is the case today, and could be offered a salary set by town meeting that could easily be less than what is presently paid.  After all, sitting state senators and state representatives make less than the existing pay grade for Framingham's town manager position.  Even at levels under the present pay grade, Framingham's vital role as the center of MetroWest would still attract capable, qualified individuals with both administrative and political skills to seek this important office.

Maybe the Framingham Government Study Committee can chew on that one for a while.

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