In the final step on the way to approval, Ayer will vote Nov. 5 on whether to scrap its 5-member board and return to a 3-member Board of Selectmen.

Town Meeting voters have said once that they prefer the move, the Legislature concurred and now election voters will have the final say.

A story in this week's Public Spirit details the opinions of the current board members: All but one favor the 5-member board, and we agree.

Running a town is big business and the task can use all the expertise available. Opinions are important, too, as each comes with its own set of life experiences upon which the view is built.

We agree, too, that two people of the same political ilk can easily control a board, leaving the third equally elected member as the odd man out. We've seen it happen and each town in question was not the better off for it.

Ayer Selectman Gary Luca expressed concern for the long length of meetings and suggested giving more responsibility to the town administrator. But whether the administrator should be given more responsibility is a separate issue.

Town administrators and board chairmen can go a long way toward running a tight ship, so to speak, if all possible legwork is done in advance of the meeting. While we would never advocate for limiting access to open and public time on the agenda, efforts can be made to keep all speakers on point.

In general, Board of Selectmen meetings should take the time necessary to do the people's work in a public and transparent fashion.


Different opinions are important to the fair consideration and resolution of an issue. And in our view, 5 heads, 5 people with varying experience and expertise, are better than 3.