An update on town administrator or town manager survey

It’s only been a week since we launched our survey on the town administrator or town manager question, and already, we’ve had dozens of responses. We want to hear from many more Charlotters on this vital question.

If you’ve not yet completed the survey, please do so. Here’s the link.

The survey will close on Jan. 31, and we’ll publish the results in the Feb. 8 edition of The Charlotte News. Our goal is to receive at least 200 completed surveys.

Many Charlotters feel that this decision is one of the most consequential in our recent history. Until now, we’ve known next to nothing about where voters stand on the issue and what questions might emerge.

In addition to recording their opinion on the town administrator-town manager question, many of those who have already completed the survey added questions and comments. Here are a few:

• “We are a small town and need the current model to ensure public transparency.”

• “The only substantial difference I see between either model is that the town manager system allows the manager more power in executive decision making, which we probably need. Democracies have an executive branch for a reason, and that reason is some decisions need to be made quickly and representative systems are slow.”

• “This is a big decision. It needs more time and input.”

• “We don’t need one. We are still a rural town, with a very small number of town employees, no police force, no town-run fire and rescue, no water and sewer, no town-run public works department, an elected town clerk with her own department, and a library managed by its own board that would not report to the town manager. Just elect more competent selectboard members, not cause further animosity and chaos, not to mention increase payroll.”

• “I’m a Charlotte resident and municipal employee who works in a neighboring town with a successful town-manager model. It adds consistent support and coordination for the selectboard and injects professionalism to the town operations, especially related to human-resource issues.”

Need more information? Check out this recent story and two opinions on either side of the issue in The Charlotte News.

And plan on attending one of the public hearings scheduled by the selectboard. The first is on Tuesday, Jan. 30, and the second is on Monday, Feb. 5. Both meetings will be held at town hall and start at 6:30 p.m.

(John Quinney is publisher of The Charlotte News and chair of the board of directors. The opinions expressed here are his own and not necessarily those of the newspaper or the board. Neither the newspaper nor the board have taken a position on the town manager-town administrator question.)