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Heather Sheldon: Supports proposed change to town council


Thursday, August 24, 2017
Supports change to town council

I am writing to comment on the recommendations by the Charter Commission in light of my own experiences with Town Meeting.

I have a child with special needs, and a recent issue before Town Meeting was one that would have affected our family (and those like ours) significantly. So I felt that I needed to advocate for our issues with Town Meeting.

As a practical matter, that required sharing personal details with a large number of Town Meeting members, which pushed me far beyond my comfort level but seemed necessary in order to have an impact. I also sent letters to all Town Meeting members — which took more than $350 in printing and postage fees. This is the level of effort it takes for a “regular” citizen to make an impact on Town Meeting decisions.

I came away from this experience feeling that a more orderly, focused body would have been far more useful and effective in helping me convey my family’s issues to those responsible for making decisions that affect us.

In light of this, I support the new town charter that we’ll vote on in March. I especially like the evolution of our legislature from a representative Town Meeting with 240 members to a town council with 13 members. I believe this will allow my voice to be better heard by those who represent us and make decisions on our behalf.

I will vote yes for the new town charter, and encourage you to do the same.

Heather Sheldon

Amherst