Making Democracy Work

Board of Selectmen

Maggie Sweasy, Observer Submitted June 2018

The five member Board of Selectmen is the executive arm of town government in Falmouth. They are voted at large in rotating three year terms. The Board meets twice a month, every other Monday, at Town Hall. The meetings are open to the public and are broadcast on television on FCTV.

The agendas vary with issues presented to them by the departments and committees they oversee. Some of their agenda items are ceremonial such as presenting new Eagle Scouts, town proclamations and other recognitions. The Board also reviews applications for new and renewal of various licenses as well as signage requests. They also hear reports of activities, issues and progress of the numerous town departments and committee which they oversee.

Of particular interest to the LMV, the Board has invested a significant amount of time to three issues: Water Quality: Quality of the estuaries and the harbor in general and the Coonamessett River Reclamation Project in particular have been regularly reported on and discussed by the Board. All the committees involved have made presentations and provided regular updates on the latest developments. It is clear that water quality and denitrification are of major importance to the Board and the community at large. Land Use: Throughout the year the Board has grappled with conflicting goals of the stakeholders involved with various properties in Falmouth including the extensive process of acquiring the Andrews Farm and the discussions regarding its future use. The Lyberty Green apartment complex with a section of affordable housing in the downtown area as well as other housing projects are ongoing agenda items. The Board includes all parties in the discussions and seeks resolutions that are fiscally sound and in the best interest of the community.

Town Charter: The LWV has consistently supported the town charter form of government. To maintain a relevant Town Charter, the Board has established a Charter Review Committee. The Board advertised for interested parties to apply for membership. The candidates were interviewed at one of the meetings and seven applicants were chosen to the committee along with the ex-officio member, the Town Clerk. The Town Counsel will convene the initial meeting and the work will be completed by April 2019.

They are fully engaged dedicated members. Each person comes to the meetings prepared and conducts business in a collegial respectful manner. The Chairperson runs a well organized meeting with a skill in time management that does not prevent full participation. The meetings start on time and the well organized agenda moves the meeting along the establish timelines.

The meetings are televised on the local television station, FCTV. The local newspapers are represented at every meeting. The members of the Board are always mindful of the larger audience and strive to communicate to their constituents as if they were sitting in the room. Communication across all form of media is a core principle of this Board of Selectmen.

It is my privilege to represent the LWV observing the Falmouth Board of Selectmen.