Government in the Round Follow-up
A "Government in the Round" meeting sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Falmouth was held on November 18, 2010 at the Falmouth Public Library . Improving the effectiveness of town government was the major issue of concern selected in discussion groups numbering about 50 people, or well over half of the 80 people present. It was in this area that they thought improvements should be made.
Communication between government and residents, transparency and leadership which has the confidence of the electorate were focus points of discussion. Other major issues discussed by the remaining 30 people were fiscal responsibility based on long-term planning and public water supply and its infrastructure. Suggested action included use of professional consultants already living and working in the community and cited as crucial an education program for residents, assisting them in understanding aspects of many problems facing the town.
Discussion groups of approximately 12 members each focused on one major issue, determined a goal to seek change, named groups in Falmouth who would be interested in achieving this goal and decided on steps to take to begin working on bringing about change. The unprecedented high attendance in the League's experience of community forums and the high energy level of participants did result in some noise and bustle that was proven, however, to be invigorating and productive. Follow-up meetings will obviously need a larger venue.
Other ideas meriting further consideration included: greater use of town websites, exploration of civic academies, inclusion in water and tax bills of information for residents re issues of concern and greater interaction between voters and their Town Meeting representatives. Implied in many of the comments was the concept of citizen responsibility. If transparency, for instance , is desirable, residents must demand it by asking to see that it comes about or, at the least, seek out what already exists on the web, at Town Hall, in the media or by contacting their representatives personally.
Wastewater management and alternative forms of government for Falmouth were not on the agenda because they are already the focus of action in the community.
Most attendees at "Government in the Round" completed an Opinion Poll. On a scale of 1-5 a strong majority responded positively to Meeting Format, Importance of Group Topic and Group Participation. Only the item +Likelihood of Follow-Through + came up as doubtful.
The LWVF plans to address the doubts by partnering with the 23 persons or organizations who expressed interest in proceeding to help Falmouth become a more effective problem- solving town. The Committee will move on to analyzing the qualities needed in people running for elective office. Training prior to running for office should allow for self-selecting effective leaders.
The League of Women Voters of Falmouth Local Study Committee is comprised of Doris Epstein, Chairperson and Alice Carey, Marcia Easterling, Barbara Fanger, Sallie Giffen, Evelyn Gresser, Megan Jones, Janice Perry, Pucky Roslansky, Maureen Sullivan and Sylvia Szulkin.
Alice Carey, LWVF Local Study Committee Member
November 28, 2010
LIST OF ISSUES OF CONCERN FROM GROUPS