Digging

I stumbled on a great story today. It was the kind of thing where as I was pouring over budget line items and meeting minutes it became clear: something isn’t right here. Too much money is going out the door in far too short a time, and I’ve got the information in my hands to prove it.

I’ve got a couple more things to dig up before I go around asking questions, but it’s a great feeling to stumble onto a clear case of waste and abuse. That’s what I got into this for—to make sure people aren’t being taken advantage of. And today I got to do just that.

Or I got well on my way to doing it. There’s still more work to do.

I was thinking about that tonight—there are two versions of what I do that I love: recognizing people who are deserving of it and haven’t been, and pointing out examples of people power poorly applied. “Waste and abuse” a member of the budget committee said the other day, although he was referring to another organization completely.

It’s funny, the politics around Conway have been heated now that it’s budget season, and that heat has done more damage than good. I’ve watched as selectmen and committee members yell at each other and residents. I watched it in Berlin as well, but there it was with frustration, not vitriol. I’ve got to wonder how “town government” works when the town is too big to make decisions as a group and too fractured to come together as a community.

But even worse, amid all the fighting and name calling no one notices actual waste and abuse. It falls through the cracks, when there are multiple boards that are supposed to be looking. That’s no recipe for town government, even if it uses local control.

I’m glad, however, to have my part in it. I’m happy to point out when someone is doing well, and I’m happy to point out when someone isn’t doing what they’re supposed to. I’m looking forward to when the paper comes out that lets people know about it, and with town meeting they can make their own decisions about it. The harsh side of local control…

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