30 thoughts on “Vote on Whether Watertown Should Have a Mayor or Town Manager Coming Soon, Committee Wants Public’s Input

  1. This looks like “change solely for the sake of change.”

    What’s the *compelling* reason to have a mayor?

    I don’t see any.

    And I don’t see any reason to turn the town topsy-turvey over this made-up issue.

    I think it’s a power play by “progressives” to show they’re in charge.

    “They” are going to elect a mayor and he/she will be beholden to “them.”

    Who’s kidding whom?

    • I hate the idea of a mayor. Mayors play politics, and public image/re-election season (which never ends) is everything. Managers are responsible to the town council and can make tough political decisions that they can defend to the council, but are politically tougher to sell.

      • This Town Manager and his staff have been extremely unresponsive to citizens concerns and opinions. There is too much power vested in staff and not enough accountability. If you don’t want a Mayor, what’s your solution? The status quo doesn’t work.

        Look at the bad outcomes regarding development and the total bollix that was made of the TMA. Someone needs to be accountable.

  2. Very compelling idea. A town manager is not accountable to residents. Mayor is elected directly by residents. It’s time for us to grow up.

  3. Ellen says it all. It’s not change for change’s sake. It is a necessary change to make our town government accountable. An elected Mayor would be beholden to ALL of us. You, too, Sal: You can vote them out of office. It’s democracy

  4. So change the charter so that there is more accountability, if that is what is of concern – however, before people throw out the present form of government, look to the fact that this current manager has been able to build two new schools from scratch and to plan to renovate a third, all with existing funds (due to good fiscal management) rather than apply for overrides like our adjoining towns and cities. That’s a pretty big accomplishment.

    People should ask themselves what they like and don’t like, and why they want a change. Does that require a mayor or a tweak of the charter to give people what they want? Communicate that to the town committee and one another. That’s what this is all about – hearing from people.

    • Let’s look at the fact that the schools should have been built a lot earlier – but that was not the manager’s priority. Took a lot of work on the part of citizens to prioritize the school department budget.

    • I would like for the workers in town under the management to have an advocate with some authority. For there to be accountability from the top to the bottom. For performance reviews from those who work for management which have some outcome without reprisals to those workers. I m not sold on a mayor as long as you have other ways to get some actual accountability I’m all ears? Yes fiscally food job but what about the rest of your house, it is falling down in disrepair

  5. How about hold the Director of Community Devlopment and Planning accountable? Maybe hire somone who lives in watertown?

  6. Yes, it’s all about accountability and transparency. I’d be curious to know how many residents know WHO our current Town Manager is, or in the midst of construction and developmtent projects all over town, who is managing these projets behind the scenes?
    If we need an elected Mayor to increase communication, accountability and transparency, then so be it.

  7. Mayors may often say or do things just to please certain supporters and as such may not make much difference in real world accountability.
    I would offer that if you want access to the governance and you want to have accountability, perhaps adding a layer of citizen communication ability through technology to allow for more citizen input. Something like a website where every residential address can have a representative ID which can log them into the town forum website (that hosts the topics that effect our lives) and to offer ideas, opinions and votes on these various topics which then can be used to inform the counselors and the town manager in their decision process.

    • That layer of citizen input is called town meeting and has been the preferred form of government for almost every town in Massachusetts for centuries. Watertown wants less formal input from residents and even the elected officials have little power in Watertown!

  8. HOW ABOUT LOOKING AT WHAT THE COUNCIL AND MANAGER
    HAVE ACCOMPLISED SINCE THE INCEPTION OF THE CHARTER.
    WE HAVE BUILT THE SENIOR CENTER
    BUILT A NEW POLICE NEW POLICE STATION
    BUILT A NEW DPW YARD
    BOUGHT AND SOLD THE ARSENAL PROPERTY
    AFTER CLEANING IT UP SO IT CAME OFF THE
    SUPER FUND LIST
    BUILT THE ARTS CENTER
    RENOVATED VICTORY FIELD
    OUR FIELDS AND TOT LOTS DONE AND WELL KEPT
    INSTITUTED CAPITOL IMPROVEMENT PLAN
    DONE OVER STREETS AND SIDEWALKS
    CREATED SEVERAL DOG PARKS
    INSTITUTED RECYCLING
    PUT COMPUTER CENTERS IN PUBLIC HOUSUNG
    MORE MONEY THAN EVER FOR PUBLIC SCHOOLS
    MORE FEDERAL AND STATE MONEY THAN EVER
    PAYING DOWN UNFUNDED PENSION,
    IN THE PROCESS OF BUILDING THREE SCHOOLS
    JOINED STATE INSURANCE PLAN
    AND WITH ALL OF THAT
    WERE ABLE TO HAVE TRIPLE AAA CREDIT RATING.
    LOOK AROUND,
    NOBODY HAS ACCOMPLISHED WHAT WATERTOWN
    HAS, AND YOU CAN THANK MICHAEL DRISCOLL
    THE TOWN COUNCIL, AND FOR SURE THE
    PASSAGE OF THE CHARTER, IT HAS SERVED US WELL!

    • John, you could not be more wrong. The things that you mention are things that are expected, not miracles. If you look at the poor handling of development, traffic, transportation and the complete bungling of the TMA, you can see clearly that there is a problem.

      I know that it is one’s first impulse to stick up for one’s friends, but we are watching our town government stumble as it attempts to handle 21st century problems. Perhaps the Town Manager has listened to you, but he has listened to few others among the citizens who pay his salary. A redistribution of power into a more accountable structure is the only thing that will position Watertown well for the future. This is about the future, not the past.

  9. Big problem is Driscoll has been there FOREVER and is well seasoned in town council manipulation. He also knows where the bodies are buried so to speak.

  10. JOE, I HAVE BEEN WRONG BEFORE BUT NOT ON THIS.
    THE TOWN MANAGER IS WIDELY KNOW IN MUNICIPAL
    CIRCLES AS ONE OF THE BEST IN THE STATE IF NOT THE BEST
    HE CANNOT ANSWER TO EVERY CITIZEN,
    THAT IS THE REASON WE CREATED THE DISTRICT
    COUNCILORS.
    AND IT HAS WORKED OUT WELL.

    • No sir. You are wrong. You are perhaps not talking to enough people, or only talking to certain people. There is a problem and there is a history of bad outcomes to prove it. And many, many Watertowners agree.

      The Town Manager may admittedly have a great record as regards our bond rating, but in other areas, that require being in touch with the folks who pay you. . .well. . .not so much.

        • Your comment is pretty snarky. But look at the Gables development on Arsenal Street which blights the neighborhood that is forced to look at its backside. There is the poor quality over development on Pleasant Street. Don’t forget worsening traffic problems that are in part connected to development. The as I said before but you seemed to miss poor organization of the TMA and the incompetent handling of the shuttle, which will likely never happen. Need more Demetri?

        • Paul, when we formed the Task Force I called the Town Manager to ask him to discuss transportation in Watertown with us. His reply? “I don’t meet with community groups.” In other words, I don’t meet with those who pay my salary. Unacceptable.

          The Task Force is now working to force the MBTA to consult riders in Watertown before making major changes to our electric bus service.

          What are you doing?

      • There is no problem
        In Watertown.
        Every municipality has its detractors who badmouth the ones who run the government most frequently without merit.
        Joe, I remember when you were so against the CVS in Coolidge square
        Being built,
        And now it serves the residents and businesses so well!

        • No John, there is a problem and many, many of your townsfolk will tell you that, if you listen. As for the CVS, how are you so sure that East Enders like it? Many don’t. Many won’t patronize it.

          Thank God for my die hard neighbors who refused to sell their buildings to that developer. They put the town ahead of personal gain. I admire them. We would have a strip mall in Coolidge Square if it weren’t for their devotion to the town. Watertown, in my view, is all about small, unique locally owned businesses.

          Oh, by the way, hundreds of people signed the petition against the CVS. Not just me.

          If you think that every municipality has its detractors, then Watertown has many who are unhappy and upset. If you have followed the comments over weeks and months, you would understand that there is a lot of discontent.

          Sir, you can call me whatever you want, but I think that you are awfully out of touch. You seem to only speak to those who reinforce your views. What may have worked years ago may not be suitable for the present and future.

          Hopefully we will agree on something in the future John.

  11. I have lived in Watertown for 20 years now. In the last few years, I have noticed that there are too many developments of residential and commerical properties that is happening in our small town. Watertown is losing its charm to me.

    I think the traffic on Arsenal Street in which 2 lanes was merged to single lane is horrible idea and I do everything I can to avoid driving through Watertown Square. I went to a few meetings and gave my opinion regarding the overdevelopment in the area but my opinion counts for nothing. It seems that all the town wants is the revenue from taxes.

    What about reducing my property taxes ? You have all this new Development and I am sure you are collecting on the taxes.
    where are those people when residents want reduction in their property taxes? anyone out there agree with me?

    Oh I know there will be a list of new projects listed in a reply to me as to why we cannot have reduction in property taxes. Also my street is not newly repaved. I was told that my street was on the list. That was over 5 years ago. I bet the new developements will be getting a repavement on their main streets. anyone seeing a trend?

    I feel that whatever the councilman/selectman have on their agenda gets done and they do not consider how the residents feel about the place they live and raise their families.

    I want a law or some kind of rule/regulation that all the employees of Town of Watertown must live in Watertown. Especially all the traffic/civil engineers that always say”oh the traffic will increase by 6% only” Come and live here then see how it is for the locals. The more the employees of the town live here the more they are vested in making this town a great place to live.

    I think that there is some good aspects of having the town manager but I feel that having a Mayor is better.

    This is just one opinion in Watertown.

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