Increase Public Awareness
A recent Harbor News article [“Pierson Action Anticipated in Clinton,” Sept. 2] described the frustrating delay in turning the Pierson School partially into a senior center. What I liked about it was our town manager, Karl Kilduff, did most of the talking. This is as it should be and was welcomed. I disagree with some of our Town Council members who believe they, usually through their chairman, should be the town’s mouthpiece. The senior center delay seems partly to be caused by the Morgan Trust, which owns most of the property. In future articles, the Harbor News should list its members to eliminate their anonymity. This may prompt some action.
I lived many years in a town with a town manager and now am acquainted with several current managers. They are usually the face of the town and keep the public informed on matters of interest on a regular basis. I believe this is what we pay them for in addition to the administrative chores coupled with their deep knowledge of town management. I agree that on unsettled matters, especially those far into the future, e.g., water pollution control, the council has a role to play. The council makes those decisions, usually based on the leadership and advice of the town manager.
Here are two suggestions made by others to increase public awareness of town issues. Have a quarterly public meeting where the town manager gives a briefing and then takes any and all questions from the audience. A second is that the Harbor News gives a quarterly column to our town manager as it does for the first selectmen of Westbrook and Old Saybrook. The town manager position is one of leadership for Clinton and is hired under contract where the others are elected and clearly benefit from such publicity.
Philip C. Sengle