The following note was sent to the Wayland Town Crier on Feb 28, 2007 and we are also posting it to the Wayland e-news Discussion Forum.

Wayland’s recent community conflict arising over the proposed Town Center project is a loud wake up call to its residents to pay attention to the workings of the town – a signal to take action to improve and if necessary update the way we work together and officially communicate. While many people view conflict as a negative, when effectively managed an airing of differences/conflict can add value. In a community the size of Wayland differences will be ever present. So it is time for our community to step up and do things differently.

Planning Board Chairwoman Lynne Dunbrack is said to support “the idea of employing a project manager to coordinate town boards…” Undoubtedly, the hard working volunteers on all the boards and committees need to feel that their efforts on behalf of the town are respected. Yet when the Chairwoman of the key Board involved in the Town Center project says that we need to hire an expert to coordinate the actions of town boards, it is pretty clear to the undersigned that what is missing between the boards is an easy, efficient, and trustworthy channel with which to communicate with each other. Given the numerous projects already underway (the Town Center, the library, the high school building, water remediation, a community/senior center, controlling invasive pond weeds, a town pool, a football field and so on), improved trustworthy communication and collaboration among our boards and citizens is what Wayland needs.

As a community, Wayland is looked up to and respected on many fronts. Now, let us become a model community and build-up our trust and respect for one another through an appropriate sharing of differences and collaboration through a process that allows us to come together rather than head down a divisive path that leaves issues unresolved and relationships strained. Let us leverage the communications tools and resources of the twenty-first century to increase civic activism and improve our community dialogue. We can learn to work through our differences as well as learn some new cutting edge processes so when differences arise, we can work with them in a positive manner moving forward for the common good of this wonderful community. There are resources and professional educators/public policy makers available to us; all we have to do is look and ask and they will help us find ways to work for the good of all involved in a manner that everyone is heard and differences are valued.

We welcome feedback and inquiry.

Jeff Aresty, Three Ponds Road
Joanne Tarlin Franklin, Pine Ridge Road