DEVENS — Why are we here? What’s it all about?
They’re not pondering the meaning of life. But the Joint Boards of Selectmen for Ayer, Harvard, Shirley and the community of Devens (JBOS) considered retooling their 1992 mission statement at their Aug. 26 meeting.
Drafted in 1992, the group is determining if it’s time to freshen up the five-page document created when the JBOS also included the Lancaster selectmen, when MassDevelopment was known as the Land Bank and the closure of Fort Devens as an active Army base was a dawning reality.
The 1992 mission statement reads, in part:
“The responsibility for determining base reuse rests clearly with the community leadership. We recognize that our resources and expertise may not be sufficient, in and of themselves, to develop and implement an effective reuse plan. Therefore, we will make the maximum use of resources available through all agencies. We will strive to work with the Commonwealth’s Land Bank and other public and private agencies so as to utilize their expertise in attaining our objectives.”
JBOS Chairman Ron Ricci of Harvard suggested that the current membership mull over changes and updates in their respective towns and then regroup to revisit the mission statement at the Sept. 23 and Oct. 28 JBOS meetings. Ricci said the goal is to get on the same page.
“I know from the armed services, a typical mission statement is a few sentences or a few paragraphs and you really knew where you stood,” Ricci said, adding it’s “time to revisit and update it. And we can all sing off the song sheets.”
Ayer Selectman Frank Maxant disagreed, stating a refreshed mission statement should still include the 1992 mission statement as an appendage. “There’s too much there to help us understand where we’d come from,” Maxant said.
Harvard Selectman Tim Clark agreed, noting there was care taken to discuss core matters with some detail, from land use, economics, municipal services, education, and the environment.
“I’d hesitate to eliminate detail. Each had very pertinent issues that if you boiled it down, it wouldn’t make it any clearer,” Clark said.
Ayer Selectman Jim Fay said the statement should reflect unanimity. “What we want as a JBOS is to speak as a single voice. Why are we here? Fifteen or sixteen selectmen ago, I knew why we were here. But now I’m not so sure.”
“If we’re going to stay doing anything at this table, we have to focus on why we’re here. I agree or I walk out of the room and say ‘good luck’ to you guys,” Fay said.
“It’s sort of disappointing that we’re here without a mission statement or direction on where we’re going,” echoed Ayer Selectman Carolyn McCreary.
The group will retool and refine the document over its next two meetings.