PLYMOUTH COUNTY– On Wednesday, August 3, the Central Plymouth Water Commissioners met at Plympton Town House. They were widely expected to approve a letter appealing directly to Brockton residents regarding the Brockton water supply that was to run as an advertisement in the Brockton Enterprise, but the three present commissioners who wrote and edited the letter ended up disagreeing on the language of the letter and tabled it to their next meeting. The commission also discussed how they had discovered they were not a county entity in the county’s eyes and discussed reorganizing, but in the end voted to remain in the same positions.
Letter to residents
A direct appeal to the residents of Brockton has been in the works for weeks, and although commissioner Patrick Quinn agrees that the final purpose of the letter is to educate residents on their shared water resources; he didn’t think the letter gave enough “bang for its buck.” He also expressed that it was too long and disagreed with several factual points. All present commissioners described ways that the letter could be improved, with graphics or punchier one-liners at the prompting of audience member and Jones River Watershed Association member Pine DuBois. Commissioner Paul Collis appeared disappointed, but Chairman Jack O’Leary recognized that there was a lack of unanimity in how to move forward with the letter, and the commission unanimously voted to table the matter to the next meeting.
In an attempt to access money appropriated to the commission, the County treasurer determined that the commission was not a county entity, and furthermore could not use the county seal. The commission is now confused as to whether they are a state entity or a county entity, and want to set up their own bank account to use the money that they are appropriated, rather than submit reimbursement forms after putting up their own personal money for expenses, as they’ve been told to do.
Whether or not they use a state seal or a county seal, or their own logo, is not the main issue though; it matters only in the sense of whether their money comes directly from a state agency, or is passed through an agency on to the county, where it is then disbursed. The commission has just received another $50,000 earmark, and wants it directly under their control.
Commissioners expressed frustration at the bureaucracy and red-tape, and Collis articulated that this issue would probably have stymied efforts to move the newspaper advertisement along faster, even had the commissioners agreed on the language that night.
The commission receives its authority from a 1964 special act of the legislature and is required to yearly reorganize– or consider reorganizing. The commission did consider reorganizing, but all present voted to stay in their current positions for the upcoming fiscal year. Jack O’Leary will remain chair, Paul Collis, clerk, Patrick Quinn, member, and Brian Creedon, member. Creedon was not present at the meeting.
The commission did go “off agenda” and talk about the various issues in the district towns in general terms at times, but it was apparent that the commission was experiencing growing pains as it is newly revived and that the greatest hindrance to their work may be bureaucratic hurdles at this point in time.