Elect the Finance Committee

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Elect the Finance Committee

Postby bobr on Fri Jul 01, 2011 7:48 am


Several people, myself included, have suggested that the Finance Committee be elected, not appointed. Typically, when the subject comes up in a thread, a few people express support, no one expresses any opposition, and the discussion moves on to other topics.

i am a strong advocate for an elected Finance Committee and have listed some of my reasons below.
I invite any and all to express there opinions on this subject:
Are you for an elected Finance Committee? Why?
An appointed finance committee? Why?
No finance committee? Why?

The Finance Committee should be an elected board.
The Finance Committee would not run any department.
They would not implement any policies.
The would not make any policy decisions.
Their one official task would be to make recommendations to Open Town Meeting about expenditures.
They would still hold public hearings to prepare for that task; public hearings that would be attended by the voters who put them into office.
They might support the figures presented by the BOS and the Town Manager.
They might suggest an alternative figure.
They would be solely responsible to the taxpayers.

We should not sacrifice checks and balances for the sake of effiency.

Bob Rauseo
Preserve your power. Preserve your vote. Preserve Open Town Meeting.
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Re: Elect the Finance Committee

Postby Redman1 on Fri Jul 01, 2011 8:26 am

It may note a bad idea when you consider a guy like Mike Flynn tells you he won't get appointed because of politics and his willingness to express disagreement with the current regimes policies
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Re: Elect the Finance Committee

Postby Chasnbos on Sat Jul 02, 2011 4:56 pm

This is real rough!

I would like to see the finance committee role switch to an auditing role as far as providing the public with costs,alternatives ,sustainablity and "best practices ".

There shall be an audit committee consisting of one elected Audit chair person for a terms of three years, and four appointes by elected Chair person. The audit committee shall review annual financial statements of the town financial offices; and review the independent auditor , management recommendations; provide a report to the public benchmarks of cost of similiar activities in neighboring towns. This report will detail the financial condition of the town and the sustainability of the exisitng and future direction that select board and town manager
■To increase public confidence and trust in the operations of town government.
■To instill accountability, integrity, and efficiency in the financial operations.
■To support town government efforts to comply with those laws and regulations by which the town is governed.

Qualifications of Members
■ Professional experience in Accounting, Finance, Law or General Management a requirement.
■ No officer of the town or member of any board, commission or other committee of the town, whether elected or appointed, and no town employee or school employee, shall be a member of the audit committee and none should have served in any of these capacities for at least 12 months prior to appointment.
■ Shall become familiar with and maintain a familiarity with, town government laws, regulations and pending legislation which may impact the town.

Scope of Responsibility

From the strategic position of a model town government:
■ Manage the relationship with the external auditor.
■ Ensure the quality of financial reporting.
■ Oversee regulatory compliance.
■ Work with the internal audit function.
■ Monitor management’s handling of internal controls and risk management.
■ Monitor the town’s ethics procedures.
■ Recommends and evaluates the independent auditor for the town.
■ Encourages and recommends an audit plan based on a town-wide (including schools) risk assessment developed by department heads and the town manager.
■Reviews annual financial statements of the town financial offices and the independent auditors financial recommendations.
■ Reviews the efficacy of internal fiscal controls and encourages corrective action on those control or accounting issues identified in the independent accountant’s “management letter”.
■ Reviews the Town’s bonded indebtedness and make recommendations for maintaining desired bond rating.
■ Recommends the use of special counsel or experts to assist in study work.
■ Is a resource to the Select Board and School Committee on financial issues.
■ Surfaces opportunities for cost and efficiency improvements.
■ Orients new members and encourages continued education of its members
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Re: Elect the Finance Committee

Postby barney on Sat Jul 02, 2011 6:25 pm

Interesting proposal.

Now what are we planning on paying these committe members?

Or is this another something for nothing deal?
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Re: Elect the Finance Committee

Postby barney on Thu Jul 07, 2011 5:48 pm

Yup, thats what I thought.

Everybody wants something for nothing.
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Re: Elect the Finance Committee

Postby PaperBoy on Thu Jul 07, 2011 7:43 pm

I'll play devil's advocate. THREE reasons why the Finance Committee should remain appointed. (1) Qualified individuals may choose not to put themselves and their families through a campaign that is (a) time-consuming, (b) expensive, and (c) stressful. (2) Lesser qualified individuals could certainly defeat more qualified individuals. [Qualifications don’t always trump name recognition, political connections, a large campaign war chest, charisma, etc.] (3) Make no mistake – the Finance Committee would become MORE POLITICAL by forcing its members to – presumably every three years – fundraise, seek endorsements, find homes for lawn signs, recruit campaign volunteers, etc.

I live in Wilmington. The Board of Selectmen, School Committee (Wilmington & Shawsheen Tech), Town Moderator, and Housing Authority are the ONLY elected officials. EVERYTHING else (e.g., Town Clerk, Planning Board, Finance Committee, Board of Health, Library Trustees, etc.) is appointed. Things work fine here! I'm not saying what works for Wilmington will work for Tewksbury. I'm just letting you know what your neighbor is doing!
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Re: Elect the Finance Committee

Postby Chasnbos on Thu Jul 07, 2011 9:46 pm

Can't argue with the results Wilmington has had. Thanks to TM Ciara. Hopefully his replacement can do the same. Have to say it lives within it means and has a 5M rainy fund day.
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Re: Elect the Finance Committee

Postby Chasnbos on Fri Jul 08, 2011 9:18 am

From what I hear Tewksbury has considerable more resident participation in Town Mtg than Wilmington. Yet we have two poster child towns of what works and what doesn't under the same form of goverment. IMO its not the form of goverment but the people in the goverment.

I would like a system were the finance committee had some seperation as is the school committee from town politics. An elected committee would have problems recruiting fresh blood due the cost of an election, high demands of FinCom members, including regular, selectmen and School Committee meeting, as well as being knowledgeable in town affairs and municipal regulartory issues.
True be told the finance committee is an advisory board without any political clout.
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