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Experience vs. change

April 27, 2019

Editor, Daily Times:

Experience vs. change, which is better?

Past articles in the Daily Times (April 3 and 15) recounted the number of years of experience of the elected officials/public service of former members of the Watertown Common Council. Whatever number you use (59, 64 or 82), does that give you transparency? (Transparency implies openness, communication and accountability.) Does this mark the end of the “good old boys club” days?

I can appreciate anyone that runs for an elected office, they do live in a glass house, but they also have to keep true to the oath of office they were elected to and abide by the laws. It was somewhat disturbing to read the article titled “Council advised on open meetings” (April 17), is this what experience gives you? What prompted this issue to be brought to the forefront? What are the specifics? Does any of the decisions that were made/voted on in “these meetings” need to be rescinded? What else has been misconstrued/misused over the years?

If anyone really cares/follows up on such things as this, the 2019 common council will have a total of 16 years of experience (for the present office they were elected/currently hold). Next year as two aldermen reach their term limits, the number will go down to 14 years and the longest tenured alderperson then will have only four years. If my memory serves me right, two members of the 2019 common council have a total of six years of previous experience before being elected to their current position. Emily McFarland, five-plus years as alderwoman, and Bob Mudler, three months as alderman (Emily replaced Bob as the alderperson of District 1 back in July of 2014). Is this lack of experience as an elected official bad? That’s an open question. So long as they listen to their constituents and don’t serve the interest of “special interest groups” (a group of people or an organization seeking or receiving special advantages, typically through political lobbying) or only serving a small cross section of the city.

Watertown is no different than any other community, diversity runs through it (religious beliefs, range in age, ethnic/educational/social backgrounds and income levels). All residents of Watertown that make up the demographics of our fair city should be considered/represented by our common council, for the good of all, not just a select few.

Only time will tell which is better, change vs. experience.

John Kaliebe