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1.       What is the ballot question on March 15 about?

 Wellesley voters are being asked to make a radical change to our current government structure by approving a Special Act to enable a Selectmen-Town Manager form of government.

Although Town Meeting approved the Special Act with 120 votes – representing exactly one half the Town Meeting Members (because 41 members were absent or didn’t cast a vote) – it will not become law unless a majority of Wellesley residents voting on March 15 approve it.


2.       Don’t we already have a Town Manager?


 We have an Executive Director of General Government Services. Although our current Executive Director, Hans Larsen, does not have the title of Town Manager, he is already deputized by the Board of Selectmen to handle many of the same responsibilities of a Town Manager, particularly with respect to organizing and shepherding the annual Town budget through Town Meeting.


3.        How does Wellesley’s town government work today?

 Wellesley has a highly democratic, citizen-led, decentralized government.

Similar to the Federal Government, Wellesley has an executive branch (elected boards) and a legislative branch (Town Meeting). This creates the needed system of checks and balances that ensures that our government works.

 Anyone can run for office. Town employees work for the elected boards, and in this way, our citizens run the government. Because our citizenry is highly educated, we have enjoyed an expert dedicated legion of volunteers who work in teams, under constant public scrutiny, to serve the town. By Open Meeting law, board members may not meet, deliberate, or make decisions without the public being able to attend. At every board meeting, citizens are allowed to speak.


4.       How will a Town Manager form of government affect me?

 No one knows. There are always unintended consequences from any major change in government structure.

  “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Wellesley’s current form of government is not in crisis. Wellesley is one of the few towns with an AAA bond rating, a hallmark of an exceptionally well-run municipality. It is known for its outstanding schools, a vibrant library, beautiful parks, and cutting edge sustainability initiatives. These features are the direct result of the activism of a large group of civic volunteers who passionately promote and maintain the excellence of its institutions.

 We are particularly concerned that an appointed Town Manager structure, reporting to the Selectmen and not subject to Open Meeting laws, will decrease the amount of transparency in Town government and make it harder for the voices of town residents and grass-roots advocacy groups to be heard.


5.       Who is “Save Wellesley Town Government”?

 We are a group of concerned citizens from all walks of life and with diverse political views.

 Some of us have been members of elected boards while others of us have been appointed to boards and committees; many of us serve or have served on Town Meeting. Most of us have been deeply involved in citizen-led initiatives or have advocated for town projects.