Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Post #19, in which I run for office, get elected, and have no more free time

I apologize to my legions of fans for the long lapse between blog posts. I hear that my international readership, in particular, has been complaining about the lack of updates (sorry, Katie R!) and I must resolve to do better.

To say it's been a busy spring would be an understatement. My time has been taken up with college tours, graduations (Katrina's from B.U. Law School and Will's from Telstar High School), and a lot of meetings. I promise to write soon about the graduation season and all its attendant hoopla, but today I'll write about my recent foray into municipal government.

In March, I allowed myself to be talked into running for selectman in the bustling little town where I live (population approximately 800). I'm not sure what I was thinking, except that I had been suspecting for a while now that, after living here for 20 years, it might be time to get more involved, and I had taken a strong interest in the current hot-button issue in town (implementing a land management standards [a.k.a. zoning] ordinance). Then there's the impending Empty Nest Syndrome that I'll be facing at the end of the summer, so all and all, taking up a new interest didn't seem like such a bad idea. Plus, I was flattered to be asked, and winning a three-way contest at the annual town meeting (where my town takes nominations from the floor and then votes right then and there) was actually pretty exciting.

You wouldn't think serving on the board of selectmen of a town the size of ours would take up too much time, especially since we have a wonderfully competent town manager who takes care of the vast majority of the pesky details, keeps the town office running smoothly, and monitors the ever-changing legal landscape of municipal government to keep us from getting ourselves into too much trouble. I know that's what I thought.

As it turns out, though, the twice-monthly selectmen's meetings are just the beginning; there are also Greenwood/Woodstock Transfer Station Committee meetings with the selectmen from the next town; Oxford County Municipal Officers' Association meetings with selectmen, town managers, and other official people from towns around the county; four-town Emergency Management meetings with our shared EMA director; planning board ordinance workshops; public hearings; and special town meetings. Add those to the occasional evening meetings I cover for work, and I find I'm away from home in the evenings quite a bit.

Still, I have to say that so far I'm really enjoying my new position, and I was surprised to find that I'm actually better at it than I expected. I was quietly overwhelmed for the first two or three meetings, but I'm starting to warm up now...I've even been quoted in the local paper a couple of times.

So far no one has egged my house, ambushed me in a dark alley (not that we have many dark alleys in Greenwood), or frolicked in a Speedo on a party boat in front of my camp (something with which members of our local planning board were recently threatened, but that's a long story). So apparently I must be saying the right things, or at least if anyone thinks I'm saying the wrong things, I must be doing it in a non-confrontational way that doesn't upset people much. So that's good, right?


  1. Congratulations! First Obama gets elected and now you! I think America is going to be okay!

  2. Madam Selectwoman . . . and no grilling by a congressional committee about your undocumented housekeepers! Congrats!