4 thoughts on “Councilor Dushku Struggled With Decision Not to Run for Reelection

  1. It still surprises me that anyone is willing to serve as Councilor or Council President given the pay vs the responsibilities which are completely imbalanced. Many times I’ve felt that it was almost wrong to criticize councilors for how they’re doing their job when I essentially consider them volunteers.

    Our town government needs to change which means that we need to change. We want real accountability at the ballot box so we need a mayor & council who earn real salaries w/benefits & can devote the appropriate amount of time to dealing with our town’s issues & answer to constituents at the ballot box.

    Councilor Dushku’s announcement should be a rally cry as the At-Large candidate with the most votes 2 consecutive elections is bowing out because he doesn’t have time to essentially “volunteer” as a town councilor anymore – if we offered a competitive compensation package he could have chosen to stay with the town; it’s really that simple… & imagine the candidate field that those terms would draw.

    Aaron, I get it. Thank you for all of the time & effort that you’ve put into helping guide Watertown’s growth.

    Best of luck & best wishes to your family; I hope that you are able to enjoy some quality time together.

    • Hear! Hear! Watertown faces unprecedented challenges and yet we are trying to make do with a governmental structure from decades in the past. Councillors are essentially volunteering. We don’t have a mayor. Un-elected officials have too much power. It is time for Watertown to collectively contemplate what it needs to do to meet the challenges facing our government in the twenty-first century. We need a charter review.

  2. Agreed, and when thinking about this, consider the school committee as well. Members earn less than half this amount (~$220 or so a month I think. On average I have dedicated 10+ hours per week. You can do the math if you pay a sitter at least $15 per hour). This doesn’t even cover babysitting costs for those with small children. If you are a single parent or have a spouse who works long hours, you are paying to serve. I am lucky that care hasn’t been an issue, but that isn’t the case for all current members and SC candidates.

    The low earnings, large time commitments, and stressful nature of service prevent great people from wanting to serve the town. The town and schools lose out on talented, committed people who would better represent the economic and ethnic diversity of citizens and students, and perhaps be more qualified than current officials. I urged so many people to run for SC and the common response (among people who care very deeply about WPS) is “No way. I can’t make that commitment with my current responsibilities.” If, as Anne suggested, we offered compensation commensurate with the responsibilities (at least as a poorly paid half time professional worker), we would have a stronger committee and school system. I am so grateful that the new SC candidates, given their caliber, professional responsibilities, and family obligations are willing to take on this role.

    Also, the perverse incentive of *life-long* healthcare after so many years of service needs to be abolished. I often wonder why some people continue to run for office despite low engagement and then I remember that incentive. If you are not currently and gainfully employed, that is a powerful incentive.

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