To the Editor:
On May 25, I attended the Bridgewater annual town meeting along with nearly 100 other residents.
In a nearly 2-1 vote, the Board of Finance was given a recommendation to move the town treasurer's salary to the same level as the previous treasurer.
The subsequent action taken by the Board of Finance did not support the will of the voters.
In a 4-2 vote, members of the board decided to ignore the recommendation of the town.
The annual town meeting is the one and only opportunity for residents to vote on how the town spends its money each year.
For the Board of Finance to take away this right is taking the voice from the townspeople, and that is wrong.
Then a letter from the two members of the Board of Finance, Ms. Hawley and Mr. Reed (the two who are deeply involved with the Republican Town Committee) was sent to all residents trying to justify their inaction.
I have read the letter and found its conclusions baseless.
Bottom line, the Board of Selectman made a great move three years ago when it hired a financial administrator to perform the majority of the town's financial work.
She is highly skilled and trained on the system our town uses. The remaining portion of the job, like oversight and budget work, was left in the job description of the treasurer.
The pay for these two positions was split, based on the amount of work performed. Despite Mr. Reed's and Ms. Hawley's claims to the contrary, in fact Ms. Carreira, the last treasurer, was paid approximately $5,000 per year for that portion of the job.
Any resident can verify this through payroll records. Anyone can also access the minutes from several Board of Finance meetings that state the budget (which includes salaries) was approved and discussed in detail.
The Board of Finance was well aware of both Ms. Baron's position as financial administrator and Ms. Carreira's position as treasurer.
The most telling part is the town auditor at the end of Ms. Carreira's term (an auditor hired by the Board of Finance) gave the town the highest possible rating for its financial records and all aspects related to the financial work done for the town.
The Board of Selectman did exactly the right thing by dividing the job and paying based on those responsibilities.
Ms. Hawley and Mr. Reed need to take the politics out of this and do what is right for the town.
Overriding the wishes of the people, then sending a letter full of false information is not good for the town of Bridgewater.