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As an Ayer resident, and School Committee member, I request that you not appoint Pauline Conley to the Ayer FinCom. (Dated June 22, 2009).

This is a purely personal request and not done in any official capacity as School Committee chairman, nor have I discussed my personal position with any of the School Committee or school administration. No one is aware that I intended tow rite this letter. I mention above my status as a School Committee member purely to reflect that as a member of town government and the executive tri-board, in addition to being a resident and voter, I do not believe Ms. Conley would be a wise choice for FinCom.

I have no personal bias with regards to Ms. Conley. In fact, I barely know her other than through her prior work in town government and through the appointment process I went through in September 2007 with the BOS in order to join the School Committee. She treated me professionally and fairly in that process and supported me with her vote.

My issues stem more from her tenure on the BS and the original tri-board as it dealt with the school SPED cost overrun issues in 2006. Through personal attendance at meetings and in viewing meetings on APAC, I found her to be a disruptive force and a detriment to progress. I was often shocked how unprofessionally she treated others, especially Town Administrator Suhoski and BOS administrative assistant Ms. Lewis. I also felt that when Ms. Conley was on the BOS, valuable time was often not spent on the many and important issues of town government, but rather on personality and interpersonal issues.

In my opinion, the BOS has been a much more cohesive and efficient unit since Ms. Conley was not re-elected in 2008. Also, often these days there is mention of how the executive and broader tri-board have dealt with the town’s fiscal challenges in a collegial, effective and efficient manner. Mr. Fay stated so at a recent BOS public budget forum. Others, including Supt. Frost, have also stated so publicly, while many others have stated so to me privately.

Now is not the time to return to an atmosphere of rancor in our town government and town politics. The challenges and the work to be done, especially on the fiscal front where FinCom is focused, are too large and too important. We must continue to move forward in an efficient and cooperative manner. I fear that the ability of town government to do so will be compromised of Ms. Conley is injected back into the debate in any official capacity such as FinCom. While I believe she has the intelligence and the devotion to do the job, I do not believe she has the temperament, personality, judgment or proper motives.

I understand there many be two reasons to consider giving the position to Ms. Conley — everyone deserve a second chance and we have a lack of candidates for the current FinCom opening. Let’s try and address each.

I believe Ms. Conley has already had several second chances. The first as when she was appointed chairperson of the BOS. She proved unable to handle those duties and had to be removed. When she returned to member status, it was as if she had learned nothing from being removed as the chair. There was no humility. She still treated people poorly and still wasted too much of the board’s precious time.

She was then not re-elected to the BOS in 2008, nor was she able to get herself elected in 2009. I believe the people of Ayer have spoken with regard to their desire to have Ms. Conley in town government. The BOS should consider those votes when considering her appointment. If the voters did not want to give her any more second chances in town government, why should the BOS?

As far as the lack of candidates, this is a serious matter across town. Voter turnout is low at elections, as is attendance at important town forums and meetings. The past two School Committee elections for three open positions produced exactly three candidates, one of which was already serving as an appointee (myself). This past April we had a candidate only because of an outreach and recruitment process. It was not because someone came forward on their own.

So, this is a serious issue and I don’t dismiss it. However, do we want to fill the position simply to have it filled, especially with someone who has proven disruptive to town government and progress in the recent past? That would be subtraction by addition in my view. I would rather the FinCom, and broader tri-board, continue to look for willing and qualified candidates. The BOS can appoint Dr. Reich and the FinCom can continued as a four-person board (or three if Ms. Spinner chooses BOH over FInCom) while we search for other candidates. I will be glad to “put my money where my mouth is” and assist in the recruitment process.

Again, the challenges we face are too great to choose expediency over good sense and the hard work it will require to find other more suitable candidates.

Thank you for your consideration.