To the editor:
The Facebook page Rowley Citizens for Governmental Transparency, utilizing M.G.L. c. 231, § 59H seeking to get signatures or support addressing governmental financial accountability, has been successful.
This petition site promotes transparency through public media. Transparency has been difficult for this town given the recent attempts to gather records of the selectmen and water boards. Rowley citizens thought last year’s selectmen’s promotions of “citizen un-query” at their meetings were bad until they found out something at the annual Town Meeting.
To enhance their peasant controls, Article 2 motions were negated. Thus, the “we run things” culture has strengthened their ability to manipulate the public.
The latest “special” meeting held June 18 was a correction meeting to reappropriate previously appropriated funds for the school budget. Rowley selectmen did not expect this tactical redistribution of previously appropriated funds to be noticed by the voters. The 2:1 mandate by the poll vote on May 8 was completely ignored by the selectmen.
Boss Hog informed his followers at the “special” that the selectmen can’t do anything to reduce the school budget. That profound statement shows the complacent culture of our “only” elected officials that “could” do something.
With that statement, Boss Hog admitted that they are not concerned for “us” or the 722 voters (60 percent of the vote) at the last election. The selectmen are the only representatives for “us” voters in Rowley that “can” do something! And the voters know it. At the Town Meeting, only 121 members attended. Dave Peterson, supported by his wife, Joan, acting as town moderator, pushed through the unvetted, “unchecked” Triton budget by reappropriating funds!
The selectmen’s “validators,” the Finance Committee and town moderator, conjured up the $139,808 school funding article.
Did they rob Peter to pay Paul?
Selectman Peterson spent an exorbitant amount of time explaining his logic. In support, Selectman Snow added a 10-second explanation. The other selectmen remained silent. Selectman Peterson has a very supportive wife, the town moderator. Why wouldn’t he get the vote up with their army of 88 versus the 722 poll voters on May 8?
The army was amassed the second time this year to thwart those uninvolved voters and were shown “how it’s done.” Eighty-eight Town Meeting member attendees walked lockstep with our town fathers again instead of supporting the Rowley ballot vote. All opposition voters totaled 19. My guess, the 703 missing voters were busy at their “second jobs” — gathering funds for their taxes.
Budget preparation, price checking and oversight committee (finance) thriftiness are not allowed in Rowley. Drop in to a meeting or two and ask the hard questions.
Oops! I forgot, citizen queries are not allowed at meetings, only comments. It’s like the Article 2 right we had and no one seems to be able to tell when, why or who took it away.