I have been officially involved on committees and boards in the Town of Seymour since January, starting on the Economic Development Commission and eventually being named an alternate to the Planning and Zoning Board.
Since that point, there have been six opportunities for my boards to meet, including a special meeting that First Selectman Miller graciously fit into his schedule.
Two of those meetings have occurred. The other four were cancelled for lack of quorum, or a lack of enough bodies to make the meetings “count” per established rules.
My boards are not exceptional in this regard. A quick perusal of Seymour’s town boards and committees show, by my unscientific count, twelve instances where regularly scheduled meetings were cancelled, excepting meetings cancelled due to weather or Board of Selectman meetings where there was no active agenda.
This is just looking into my own town. I’m sure other communities would draw similar results.
When we swear in for these boards — yes, we swear in, right hand raised and everything — we make a commitment to the town that we will serve it to the best of our ability and make our community better. Sometimes, that leads to controversial votes and proposals, but for the most part the work is dry and specific. I can’t think of a single person that doesn’t have the best interests of the community in mind, even those I will inevitably disagree with.
With that said, the first step is to actually show up.
When meetings get cancelled because not enough people show up, it causes needless friction in how our government functions. It is sometimes underappreciated what a difficult commitment town government work can be — speaking personally, I was surprised how much these meetings affect the flow of my entire family’s day — but it is critical that our boards and commissions be staffed with people willing to make that sacrifice.
Failure to do so negatively impacts the lives of our citizens, in ways both visible and opaque.
People unable to maintain their commitments should graciously step aside in favor of someone more equipped and ready to handle these critical responsibilities. The health of our communities rely on it.
The writer lives in Seymour and is vice chairman of the town’s economic development commission.
Views expressed in letters to the editor should not be construed as representing The Valley Indy.