Results 1 to 15 of 25

Thread: Isn’t this Exciting?

Hybrid View

Previous Post Previous Post   Next Post Next Post
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    117

    Default Isn’t this Exciting?

    Yes, Mr. Negative is back

    Everyone says how wonderful Wayland is, but I wonder, since I keep running into oddly strange and inconsiderate things. Last Friday, in a local bank I happened to overhear a very normal and upstanding local man, who was representing a local fund raising effort, talking to the branch manager. It was unbelievable, he was acting like a racketeer. The bank had donated some money, but he didn’t think it was enough and was trying to force them to give more. He actually threatened the bank, “… hundreds of local supporters, who would look unkindly on the bank not being more generous… wouldn’t be good for the bank.” He repeated versions of this threat multiple times. It was bizarre. I felt sorry for the manager who tried to be so proper and correct and not offend the man (it was actually a corporate decision). It was like a protection racket. Pay up or pay the price. He’s lucky I wasn’t the manager, I’d tell him to “kiss my ____” (wish we could swear here) and that he’d better get his act together or there would be no money next year. In addition, I’d talk to the other business supporters in town to communicate what a “creep” this guy was, and that it makes me wonder just how he’s using the money he’s raising… and that people might reconsider their support in the future.

    Town’s Information

    On a more serious note about the town’s ability to inform its citizens – they do a bad job. Just think, there’s important things going on, but can I find information anywhere. The new High School – can’t even find a photo of what it will look like. Let alone projections of the financial impact on taxes in coming years. Employee contract negotiations – wouldn’t it be great to know how our leaders are selling us taxpayers out in this time of tight money? Just watch, they’ll deceive us again, loading all the salary/benefit increases in the second and third years, so that noboby will complain this year, and then use the “contract requirements” excuse to explain increases in the future. Not a peep of truth anywhere. Just executive sessions and lawyers…

    And what about the Electronics Communication Committee? Weren’t they going to have everything fixed by September? New web site, responsive representatives, new enforcable guidelines? Go to the town’s web site, they’ve never mentioned the ECC. Go to the ECC's “mywayland” web site and nothing has changed since the initial reports.

    Gosh, so much for people knowing what’s going on.

    donBustin@verizon.net

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Wayland MA
    Posts
    1,431

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by don Bustin View Post
    On a more serious note about the town’s ability to inform its citizens – they do a bad job. Just think, there’s important things going on, but can I find information anywhere. The new High School – can’t even find a photo of what it will look like. Let alone projections of the financial impact on taxes in coming years.
    It's unfortunate that you did not attend this week's School Committee meeting, as the High School Building Committee gave an excellent presentation that covered some of the items you mentioned. I did not attend the recent HSBC meetings leading up to this week, but presumably, these items were discussed there as well.

    The HSBC showed an early artist's conception of what the new building will look like. The HSBC presented cost estimates. And the HSBC and Finance Committee discussed what information the Finance Committee will need to prepare tax implications.

    I suggest you watch the recording of the meeting this weekend. I don't know if WayCAM's schedule is still the same, but it used to be that meetings were broadcast on Friday and Saturday evenings.

    Quote Originally Posted by don Bustin View Post
    Employee contract negotiations – wouldn’t it be great to know how our leaders are selling us taxpayers out in this time of tight money? Just watch, they’ll deceive us again, loading all the salary/benefit increases in the second and third years, so that noboby will complain this year, and then use the “contract requirements” excuse to explain increases in the future. Not a peep of truth anywhere. Just executive sessions and lawyers…
    How kind of you to accuse Wayland officials of "selling out the taxpayers" without a shred of evidence to support that curious notion. When a contract is signed, it will be public in its entirety. Until then, you are correct--it will be "executive sessions and lawyers" as any reasonable person would expect and in fact demand.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    117

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    How kind of you to accuse Wayland officials of "selling out the taxpayers" without a shred of evidence to support that curious notion. When a contract is signed, it will be public in its entirety. Until then, you are correct--it will be "executive sessions and lawyers" as any reasonable person would expect and in fact demand.
    Yes, perhaps I got a bit carried away with my “selling out the taxpayers”, but Jeff, aren’t you doing the same thing – Implying that the town’s leadership aren’t selling us out without a single shred of evidence provided? Isn’t this the most important point – there is no information provided by our officials from which to judge. Shouldn’t taxpaying citizens have the right to know what and how their elected leadership are doing, especially for employee contracts, labor being 85% of the budget, money tight and taxes already high and growing?

    It’s curious there’s never any citizen discussion, involvement, input, or feedback with the negotiations. Not being “reasonable” (as you say) I wonder, what’s the need for secrecy? By the time the contracts are made public (with minimal, or actually no, fanfare) the ink’s dry. What are people then to do? Wait another three years for new contract negotiations when they won’t be consulted again?

    Funny way to run a company. Seems to me that citizens are like stock holders in a company, a company we call Wayland, and are in fact the owners. And as such deserve as much openness, honestly and information as they need to understand what’s going on and to make judgements about how the town should proceed. In truth, I don’t believe that my cynicism about how badly the town does is totally unjustifed (“selling out” notwithstanding).

    Guess we’ll just have to wait for the contracts to come out, for I’ll gladly peruse them to see what I can see, but I do wonder, how will I even hear about them being available?

    Kim, I actually didn’t think anyone would respond to my original post, except I did think you’d respond to my mentioning the Electronics Communications Committee by giving us an update on what’s been going on with it?

    donBustin@verizon.net

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    726

    Default

    Hi Don. Sorry, I didn't mean to leave that ECC comment unanswered.

    The ECC completed its charge by presenting a report to Town Meeting in April. We have, however, kind souls that we are, continued to provide support to the Town Administrator and Selectmen as they move forward on implementation.

    There is progress being made, but it's slow, because we are waiting for a look at the technology upgrades that are upcoming, to ensure that the website solution (which includes not just the site itself, but the process for filling it with information and keeping it maintained) is properly compatible with the technology that will be available to users.

    The ECC remains eager for the website to be significantly improved, but we are staying patient just a little bit longer while this technology assessment is undertaken.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Wayland MA
    Posts
    1,431

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by don Bustin View Post
    Yes, perhaps I got a bit carried away with my “selling out the taxpayers”, but Jeff, aren’t you doing the same thing – Implying that the town’s leadership aren’t selling us out without a single shred of evidence provided?
    Actually, Don, it doesn't work that way, on several levels. First, there's the principle of innocent until proven guilty. You made a charge. Back it up with some evidence. Second, it's not really possible to prove a negative. How do I know you're not a thief ... or worse? You haven't provided me any evidence to the contrary. [grin]

    Quote Originally Posted by don Bustin View Post
    Isn’t this the most important point – there is no information provided by our officials from which to judge. Shouldn’t taxpaying citizens have the right to know what and how their elected leadership are doing, especially for employee contracts, labor being 85% of the budget, money tight and taxes already high and growing?
    In what way don't citizens have those rights?

    Quote Originally Posted by don Bustin View Post
    It’s curious there’s never any citizen discussion, involvement, input, or feedback with the negotiations.
    Actually, there is such discussion. It tends to happen during every budget cycle.

    Quote Originally Posted by don Bustin View Post
    Not being “reasonable” (as you say) I wonder, what’s the need for secrecy? By the time the contracts are made public (with minimal, or actually no, fanfare) the ink’s dry. What are people then to do? Wait another three years for new contract negotiations when they won’t be consulted again?
    Regarding the need for secrecy, giving away one's negotiating strategy doesn't strike me as too wise an approach. Perhaps you might let me know if you disagree.

    Quote Originally Posted by don Bustin View Post
    Funny way to run a company. Seems to me that citizens are like stock holders in a company, a company we call Wayland, and are in fact the owners. And as such deserve as much openness, honestly and information as they need to understand what’s going on and to make judgements about how the town should proceed.
    The company analogy isn't perfect, but works reasonably well in this instance. As a corporate shareholder, how often have you been privy to a company's labor negotiations, litigation, or personnel matters?

    Quote Originally Posted by don Bustin View Post
    In truth, I don’t believe that my cynicism about how badly the town does is totally unjustifed (“selling out” notwithstanding).
    It's easy enough for you to throw out platitudes about the town "doing badly," but you haven't said how. I'm not talking about areas of honest disagreement, I'm talking about the negligence or worse that you've implied.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    117

    Default

    Before Jeff’s blistering attack above and Alan’s comment (both of which I’ll get back to) I had wanted to speak to the suggestions about me becoming more informed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeff Dieffenbach View Post
    It's unfortunate that you did not attend this week's School Committee meeting, as the High School Building Committee gave an excellent presentation that covered some of the items you mentioned. I did not attend the recent HSBC meetings leading up to this week, but presumably, these items were discussed there as well.
    I do wish I was at the meeting and I’m still meaning to watch it on WayCam. I also appreciate the other suggestions on how to find out more. Really. I do feel I do a “reasonable” job of trying to understand what‘s going on. Periodically I visit all the town’s web sites I can find to see if anything has been updated and watch some of the committee meetings. Newspaper, etc.

    But it does seem that often in response to someone’s complaint about the town not providing information, the suggestion is for what the individual can do to find out more. This makes sense, but actually seems to miss the point.

    Does the town inform its citizens?

    In a town of approximately 4,000 households and 9,000 voters (I won’t address whether it is a good use of our collective time to go to meetings) it’s impossible to envision all those people taking that sort of initiative, even if it was logistically possible. I’m even not certain it’s efficient to have them all searching around for information.

    There needs to be some better “mechanism” (and a desire to use it) by which the town gets information out to townspeople. This led to the original question about the Electronic Communications Committee, which does appear to be stalled.

    A more positive digression

    The new high school is an interesting and exciting project (even to me whose children are grown, and who wouldn’t and didn’t send them to Wayland’s schools). Just think, the design of a new school, striving to fulfill many different aspirations – I’ll even bet there’s educational philosophy that supports the design; educators and parents (hopefully some students to) who see benefits to be gained; even the actual logistics of getting it all done…. etc., etc. Interesting stuff all.

    Why isn’t this a public relations opportunity? As a townsperson, why aren’t I being buried in information about the developing new school, as a way to build enthusiasm for it and town spirit as well? All it would take is for the HSBC to have a member be their “community liaison”. Someone who wrote articles and placed them with the newspaper (sending the artist’s sketch along would be nice too). A testimonial once in a while by a teacher on how the new school will make their job better/easier would do the trick. It’s very simple really.

    donBustin@verizon.net

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Wayland MA
    Posts
    1,431

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by don Bustin View Post
    Before Jeff’s blistering attack above and Alan’s comment (both of which I’ll get back to) I had wanted to speak to the suggestions about me becoming more informed.
    Uh, blistering attack?

    Quote Originally Posted by don Bustin View Post
    The new high school is an interesting and exciting project (even to me whose children are grown, and who wouldn’t and didn’t send them to Wayland’s schools). Just think, the design of a new school, striving to fulfill many different aspirations – I’ll even bet there’s educational philosophy that supports the design; educators and parents (hopefully some students to) who see benefits to be gained; even the actual logistics of getting it all done…. etc., etc. Interesting stuff all.

    Why isn’t this a public relations opportunity? As a townsperson, why aren’t I being buried in information about the developing new school, as a way to build enthusiasm for it and town spirit as well? All it would take is for the HSBC to have a member be their “community liaison”. Someone who wrote articles and placed them with the newspaper (sending the artist’s sketch along would be nice too). A testimonial once in a while by a teacher on how the new school will make their job better/easier would do the trick. It’s very simple really.
    Don, the High School Building Committee (which has a "community liaison") routinely publishes updates in the Town Crier and via Wayland eNews--these have included teacher testimonials. Recently, both Save Our Services and the Wayland Voters Network have reported on the project's progress. Stay tuned--the HSBC has public forums scheduled for Thursday, October 15 (Town Building, 7:30pm) and October 20 (Town Building, 9:30am). A full list of meetings is here.

    In general, you can follow the High School project here.

    Regarding the broader question of how best to inform Wayland residents, several years back, one of the School Committee's "goal teams" studied the question of communication and found--by talking with community members--that *more* information wasn't necessarily desired. That said, I'm all for hearing about what and how we can communicate better. The School Committee's recent push to expand its listserv is aimed at helping us do just that.
    Last edited by Jeff Dieffenbach; 10-06-2009 at 08:06 PM. Reason: Fixed URL

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    117

    Default Responding back a bit to Alan’s Question

    Alan, I don’t feel comfortable being specific about which person or organization. I don’t want to cause any harm and in truth don’t know enough about what’s what. Also not sure about who would be served by the disclosure. The bank might not appreciate it either. Nevertheless, the incident did prompt some interesting thoughts.

    Being cynical, I’ve always had concerns about non-profits that raise funds but provide no financial accounting (ah, a recurrrent theme since I also think about governments in this way). This concern was made real by a mother who, good-heartedly, but indiscriminately gave money to any group that asked. These concerns were always at a national level, and at that level, there are organizations that do provide information about non-profit’s financial disclosures and government filings. The incident at the bank made me wonder what the local dimension of this was.

    What number and scale of requests do local businesses, and individuals, recieve from local fund-raising groups. Do these groups provide financial accounts of their activities? Should they? Should there be a local organization like the national ones that informs about the finances of local charity efforts? Is this even an issue?

    Last week I did return to the bank with the intent of asking the manager about the incident and the above and similar questions. Unfortunately, the manager was out having “training”, but Alan’s question and this post will get me to carry through and see what I can find out. I’ll report back. If you have any insights into this, please feel free to share.

    Thanks,
    donBustin@verizon.net

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Wayland MA 463 Old Conn Path
    Posts
    382

    Unhappy Your thoughtful response

    Don,

    I can see your concern about getting specific as to the name of a person or organization which was attempting to aggressively collect a donation.

    Of course, the problem wasn't in trying to collect a donation, it was in the pressure and/or tactics which you have described in such detail. I find it interesting that one might even engage in such pressure tactics in 'earshot' of other customers without regard to who might actually be listening ! This, in itself, reeks of arrogance or perhaps some over indulgence of power.

    Your idea of bringing this back to the bank representative to further clarify the situation is a good one and one that will help you check step what you actually believe you heard that day or what the perception of the bank officer was.

    If you do, in fact, find that what you heard was accurate and the bank officer confirms your suspicions then you might consider working with the bank to file a complaint to the charity or the governmental organization that controls it. Contacting the news media to have a story investigated and written on this is also a valid way to correct this situation and prevent it from happening in the future.

    In any event, feel free to contact me off-line such that I may help you in your pursuit of the truth. You know how to get ahold of me.

    Respectfully,

    Alan J. Reiss

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Wayland MA 463 Old Conn Path
    Posts
    382

    Default Got your email

    Quote Originally Posted by don Bustin View Post
    Alan, I don’t feel comfortable being specific about which person or organization.
    donBustin@verizon.net
    Don, I got your email last week... hope to see you soon.

    Alan

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    Wayland, MA
    Posts
    235

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by don Bustin View Post
    Gosh, so much for people knowing what’s going on.
    You should make these points at next Wednesday evening's "State of the Town" meeting.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Wayland MA
    Posts
    1,431

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    726

    Default

    The WaylandeNews link Jeff provided is to the WaylandeNews website, not the newsletter.

    Here is the subscription link for the newsletter: http://visitor.constantcontact.com/manage/optin/ea?v=001ZVNY5KsAnKwOFnv3bAtRBQ%3D%3D

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Wayland MA 463 Old Conn Path
    Posts
    382

    Angry What ?!

    Quote Originally Posted by don Bustin View Post
    Everyone says how wonderful Wayland is, but I wonder, since I keep running into oddly strange and inconsiderate things. Last Friday, in a local bank I happened to overhear a very normal and upstanding local man, who was representing a local fund raising effort, talking to the branch manager. It was unbelievable, he was acting like a racketeer. The bank had donated some money, but he didn’t think it was enough and was trying to force them to give more. He actually threatened the bank, “… hundreds of local supporters, who would look unkindly on the bank not being more generous… wouldn’t be good for the bank.” He repeated versions of this threat multiple times. It was bizarre. I felt sorry for the manager who tried to be so proper and correct and not offend the man (it was actually a corporate decision). It was like a protection racket. Pay up or pay the price. He’s lucky I wasn’t the manager, I’d tell him to “kiss my ____” (wish we could swear here) and that he’d better get his act together or there would be no money next year. In addition, I’d talk to the other business supporters in town to communicate what a “creep” this guy was, and that it makes me wonder just how he’s using the money he’s raising… and that people might reconsider their support in the future.
    Don, I've just read this to my disbelief ?
    Can you share with us the name of the charity that was being represented by this "very normal and upstanding local man"?

    This needs to be dealt with and dealt with decisively.

    Alan J. Reiss

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •