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South Hadley citizens face decisions Dec. 3

To the editor:

On Nov. 13, the South Hadley Select Board approved the recommendations of the ad-hoc Financial Policy Advisory Team. This approval means that the recommendations will come before a special Town Meeting to be held Dec. 3.

All town residents, as well as all Town Meeting members, are invited to a forum Nov. 29 at 7 p.m. in the Town Hall auditorium to learn more about the recommendations. Town Meeting members will receive the full report in the mail, and the report will also be available on the town’s website, www.southhadley.org.

The team’s recommendations can be summarized as follows: Increase the administrative responsibilities, authority and accountability of the town administrator without diminishing the power of the Select Board; establish the position of assistant town administrator; decouple the combined positions of town clerk and town treasurer; convert the positions of town clerk, treasurer and collector from elected to employed (known as “appointed” in municipal language).

These recommendations, while in line with recommendations made by the Massachusetts Department of Revenue in January 2011, were made only after many months of research, analysis and discussion.

We paid particular attention to the needs — as well as the traditions — of South Hadley in crafting the particulars of the recommendations, especially in regard to the proposed transition of currently elected officials. An important part of our recommendation is that questions involving currently elected officials come before the voters for final ratification at a townwide election.

We urge all residents to read our report and learn more about the details Nov. 29. Many thanks to Know Your Town for hosting this important community event.

Priscilla Mandrachia

South Hadley

Priscilla Mandrachia is chair of the South Hadley Financial Policy Advisory Team.

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