Tri-Board: shaking things up, one loooong meeting at a time

I’m writing to you today because of a quiet story that affects your daily life. I felt it was time to share.

Here in Stoneham, every year we used to approve $70m of public money being spent – a.k.a. the town budget – based on a one page spreadsheet distributed the very same night as annual town meeting. It was mind boggling.

I can’t tell you how many years of meetings went by where our conversations revolved around questions of: Where is the reliable information? What is the big picture here? How are we to make informed decisions? Raw data and information fragments were the norm.

We argued over information instead of building plans for the future.

And then a big change started to happen. We started to get the house in order.

With a predictable budget calendar and a nationally recognized budget book, today we know where we stand. We can focus our energies on figuring out where exactly we want to go as a community.

Think of a public service or institution that you see struggling here. There is no shortage. I’m sure you thought of at least three right away. The first step to moving from struggling to thriving has now been taken.

We can turn your frustrations into change because, without question or delusion, we know where we stand. And we know it is an unpleasant spot. There are grave misalignments between our values and what we’re able to muster for funds right now. There is a lot of work ahead to plan together for better things.

I think we can make it happen though. Yes, I do. If we continue to struggle forward together, as we have to create the progress of recent years, then there is no problem here that we cannot solve.

I hope that if you are interested in getting involved in this work, you will not hesitate to find an on ramp to being part of it. One ramp that I try to keep always available is an open offer to meet with anyone interested in local government work. My email address:

Thank you for your ongoing support and encouragement.

Elected Member, School Committee of Stoneham Public Schools

This message represents my own thoughts only, not of any group I’m affiliated with.

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