In the comments under a recent Town Crier letter to the editor, a poster raises the question of how Wayland Finance Committee members are selected and whether a change is warranted.

I'm a fan of fixing things that are broken. Wayland's Finance Committee doesn't come remotely close to qualifying for a fix. Beyond their excellent annual work overseeing the budget development process and commenting on Warrant articles, they've done great work in a number of "ad hoc" areas:

  • Driving the FY07 and FY10 budget advisory committees that have saved the town millions
  • Guiding the rationalization of the town's health insurance plan
  • Maintaining the town's triple A bond rating
  • Avoiding overrides for the last 3 or so years
  • Establishing a coherent capital projects plan

What are the arguments in favor of either electing them or having an entity other than the Selectmen appoint them?

  • A number of other towns do it that way
  • The BOS has too much power

To the former, without another reason, that's a poor rationale for change. To the latter, what's the evidence that the FinCom is in any way compromised by the fact that it's appointed by the BOS? In what way has any FinCom member acted against his or her inclination because of undue influence from the BOS?

The arguments for keeping the Finance Committee's selection as-is are far more compelling, in my opinion.

  • As noted above, the excellent performance of the FinCom over an extended period of time
  • In favor of keeping the FinCom's membership appointed is the argument that the positions are both technical and (somewhat like a judiciary) benefiting from remaining at "arms length" from the politics of campaigning