Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Letter from Scott Mason

Dear Franklin Citizens,

As I write this, I am trying to clear my head after a very long day at the polls yesterday.

Nearly 40-percent of our registered voters exercised their constitutional right to vote in a special election that asked voters to approve a $3 million tax override. The question failed.

Several members of the Town Council, School Committee, Finance Committee, as well as many private citizens, worked very hard over the past month in an attempt to present the facts behind the need for this extra money. We held a public forum, spoke to PCC’s and met with folks in their homes. Many of us used vacation time from work, sacrificed time with families, and postponed personal plans to provide this service. We did this willingly and with enthusiasm for a cause we truly believe in – the Town of Franklin.

Along the way, we met people who welcomed us into their homes, invited their friends to hear us, and were genuinely concerned with the troubles our community faces.

We also met and heard from citizens who don’t believe in what we are doing. We were told that Franklin overspends, that Franklin must live within it’s means; that because private businesses are not providing raises to it’s workers, Franklin too, must continue to cut personnel and services. In some cases, we as the town government were blamed for problems at the state and federal level. Some of these citizens engaged us in polite, civil conversation, and some, unfortunately, made their feelings known in less mature ways.

Franklin has always benefited from a below-average tax rate and above-average services. Our employees work very hard with very limited resources. It is my deepest hope that despite these next round of cuts, they can somehow continue to do so. We enjoy great “bang for the buck” in this town. Unfortunately, seeing the cuts that have been made over the years, the effects on our schools and municipal infrastructure, I know that we are in for a very rocky road.

I want to thank the folks that gave so much of their time to fight for this cause, and I want to thank everyone who took the time to vote, either for or against the override. Let’s never forget the thousands of men and women who sacrificed their lives to preserve our freedom. Democracy works.

Perhaps the best aspect of Proposition 2 1/2, is that it gives citizens the opportunity to determine the destiny of their community. This was played out in Franklin yesterday, and was and will be played out in many cities and towns in Massachusetts this spring. We as a Town Council will work with what we have as we have always done, and I as the Council Chairman will continue to do my best to represent the best interests of all our citizens.


Scott Mason
Town Council Chairman

Franklin, MA

1 comment:

  1. Dear Mr. Mason,

    First, I want to thank you for your time and the personal sacrifice that you and the other of the Town Council and the School Committee have made.

    My wife and I moved into Franklin almost 13 years ago and I personally feel the citizens of Franklin have let down the charter paved by previous Town Councils - one of expansion to being the vibrant growth to this town. The citizens had a choice to voice their displeasure with this charter two decades ago when the expansion began and they did not. Instead, the citizens happily saw their property values rise and only complained when the increase in costs to meet contractual obligations and the rise in population resulted in the need for the override. The rejection of an override is not new to the town of Franklin.

    I understand that the economy has hit us all in ways that were hard to imagine just a few years ago. Also, the powerful unions that cover our public workforce must be confronted in order for its members to understand life in the private sector.

    In 2009, the average in the state for teacher salaries was $67,577 and Franklin's was $71,503. This information was retrieved from the DOE ( The guaranteed salary increases and the high benefit costs for retirement in the public sector are now misaligned to that of the private sector employee. The unions and their members must begin to rationalize this disconnect.

    I only hope that we can now move forward to find common ground since there is so much work to be done!

    Gerry Armstrong