‘My Hair Was on Fire’
To the editor:
I take umbrage at K.C. Myers’s assertion that “no one said a word” about Wellfleet’s financial issues before the Dept. of Revenue intervened [“Tell Me How You Really Feel,” March 24, page A2].
On several occasions, I and others spoke to Town Administrator Dan Hoort; members of the select board; other town officials; the town’s auditors, Powers & Sullivan; and even the Dept. of Revenue to voice our concerns about the state of the town’s finances and the accounting department in particular. Those concerns fell on deaf ears.
My hair was on fire for most of my tenure as town treasurer. Covid-19 contributed to the administrative challenges but cannot be blamed for inaction on the part of decisionmakers.
The only discernible intervention that was undertaken after internal discussions was the termination of an underprepared and overwhelmed town accountant in August 2020. At that point, Maria Broadbent, then the town administrator, recognized a critical level of financial dysfunction and, knowing her own limitations in the financial realm, requested that the select board hire a finance director to right the ship. This request was denied by the select board at its Oct. 27, 2020 meeting, according to the official minutes.
When a new town accountant, Heather Michaud, came on board in December 2020, she was stretched thin with insufficient support. Ultimately, this highly qualified accountant, whose hair was also on fire and had no qualms about voicing her opinions, resigned in April 2021 on the same day that Broadbent departed. Still, the dysfunction continued, resulting in more turnover.
I hope the new incoming administration in Wellfleet will value the input of department heads and others as the town struggles to resolve its financial difficulties. Challenges persist not because the narrative was not told but because it was not heeded.
The writer served as Wellfleet’s town treasurer for almost three years until December 2021.
Appointing the Finance Committee
To the editor:
As a 30-year property owner and 25-year resident of Provincetown, I support Article 25 on the April 4 town meeting warrant, which seeks to change the way members of the town’s finance committee are appointed, allowing some to be chosen by the school committee.
While Provincetown residents have been generous in their support of Provincetown Schools, having some representation on the finance committee would go a long way toward facilitating its understanding of state and federal education requirements and our continuing efforts — seeking outside funding, for one — to meet them.
The elected town moderator now appoints all members of the finance committee. Article 25 seeks to add to that process (on a rotating basis) appointments by the elected select board and elected school committee. This change will not only serve to strengthen our school, it will also strengthen the finance committee and the town’s overall fiscal oversight, because it will increase the diversity of thought and robust debate when budgetary matters are considered.
Voting yes on Article 25 means having a knowledgeable and more inclusive finance committee; we will have a broader representation of the best minds to work together on behalf of all of the residents of Provincetown.
The writer is vice chair of the Provincetown School Committee.
Antitrust in the 21st Century
To the editor:
Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s recent book Antitrust, subtitled “Taking on monopoly power from the Gilded Age to the Digital Age,” portrays a situation analogous to today’s control of our election process by monied interests and corporations.
The great oil and railroad trusts of the Gilded Age bought up their competition, with some controlling over 90 percent of the markets in which they were engaged. That our political system was finally able to rein them in should give solace to those engaged today in the battle to limit the unregulated influence of money in today’s politics.
The Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision nullified most, if not all, previous laws and regulations designed to maintain a level playing field. The result has been a dramatic rise in economic inequality and a significant reduction in the influence of individual people in the political arena.
To address this issue, the national group Move to Amend has waged a vigorous fight since 2010 and has crafted the We the People Amendment (H.J. Res. 48), with Rep. Pramila Jayapal of Washington state as its lead sponsor during the 116th and now the 117th Congress.
Our Congressman, William R. Keating, cosponsored this resolution in the 116th Congress and, on Aug. 8, 2021, became one of the six out of Massachusetts’s nine representatives to cosponsor it in the current Congress.
This resolution has been gaining support and now has 90 cosponsors. It is poised to be passed in the House and sent on to the U.S. Senate. If it passes, it will in effect be the Sherman Antitrust Act of the 21st century — a necessary tool to put control of our government back into the hands of the people.
Jack W. Dean