Dear Watertown Residents,
I strongly urge you to vote in this fall’s municipal elections. As a lifelong resident, I know this election will be consequential! It will set the trajectory for Watertown for many decades to come, just like those held forty years ago did.
What you will be voting for on NOVEMBER 2nd:
Town Council is your legislative branch. They chair committees, pass ordinances, make budget recommendations, and most importantly, hire and fire the Town Manager, aka CEO. The Town Manager hires persons such as Assessor and Chief of Police. The current Town Manager is retiring after close to 30 years in the position. The newly elected Town Council of Fall 2021 will fill this position. There are 7 candidates (3 incumbents) for 4 at-large seats. Districts A and D have open races, while District B has an incumbent facing a challenger.
The School Committee writes policy that guides the school district, approves and monitors the budget, and hires and fires the Superintendent of Schools. The Superintendent, aka CEO, makes the day-to-day decisions regarding programs, spending, staff and facilities. There are two incumbents and four challengers vying for three seats.
The Library Board of Trustees is responsible for setting the policy that governs the library, hiring a library director, and overseeing the general management of the library. There is one incumbent and three newcomers for three seats.
The Charter is the governing document. Many municipalities are currently revising their Charters. In Watertown, this happens every 10 years! The revision process has been a lengthy one, in part, because the charter was written over 40 years ago before smartphones, big data, and oxycodone/NARCAN. This document defines the duties of the town manager and town council, can create new offices, and will determine whether we are officially recognized as the City of Watertown, which has state funding implications.
People under forty, please pay special close attention. You are the majority in this country as of 2020. In our town of 30k adults, the average age is 38. Everything from whether the new schools with modern ventilation can withstand the next pandemic to how much land can be reclaimed for recreation and preservation has been decided. However, your actions, this fall, could impact whether we have smarter development, whether the life science industry will benefit us, whether you will live next to a gun shop or several shuttle stops, or whether waste management improves to include more composting and other measures. First, you need to register by October 13th at 8PM, and you can do it online. Right now, a measure to extend the voting laws of 2020, the ones that allowed mail-in voting is being worked out on the Hill.
So everyone, please make to sure to vote this year!