December 13, 2019
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Where’s the Leadership?

Published July 24, 2019

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I attended July 11’s Board of Selectmen Special Meeting and July 18’s informational session to discuss the flaws in the new beach pass system. During the first meeting and since, I’ve learned there was no competitive process for selecting the software, nor was there any involvement of the town IT Department in the selection of the software, no testing prior to launch, no peer group review with other neighboring towns before setting rates, and no communication plan. This is how our town is being managed.

After listening to over an hour of complaints and suggestions by our citizens, thankfully Selectmen Al Goldberg rose up to suggest that our citizens were owed an apology for the poor selection, erratic implementation, and inadequate communication regarding these changes.

On the other hand, our first selectman, Tom Banisch, took no ownership over the launch of the program, made no public acknowledgment there were mistakes, nor did he suggest any meaningful ideas on how to fix it. He tried to divert attention by blaming the state, claiming that the issues in Madison this year were a result of the closing of Hammonasset and the free pass system at state parks. However, I would like to note that the free pass system was in place last year and Hammonasset also closed last year. The real difference between last year and this year was that last year the town had gate keepers to ensure that people trying to enter the beaches had a proper pass.

July 18’s informational session was more of the same. A FAQ sheet was released to the public. However, the impact of changes that were hastily implemented in the special meeting, came to light. Still no response from our first selectman.

This is a problem that his administration created. Where’s the leadership?

Joan Walker

Joan Walker chairs the Madison Democratic Town Committee.