Letter - Response to Proposed County Charter Amendments

from Joe Glynn of Yarmouth

The following was submitted by Joe Glynn of Yarmouth, a declared candidate for Barnstable County Board of Regional Commissioners.  It is published verbatim with no editing whatsoever.  Letters do not necessarily reflect the opinions of CCToday, its management or advertisers:

For the record Barnstable County Assembly of Delgates/Charter Review Committee 

After years of nonproductive banter and numerous iterations of the charter review committee, with no reasonable proposals or even common amendments to the charter,  the Barnstable County assembly can now only come up with this radical self-serving power grab? This power-play has not been proposed by any previous review committee or by those who spent time to introduce proposals of restructuring,  including previous state legislators, college government Professors, Selectmen, community members, the League of Women Voters and a current announced candidate to the Barnstable County commissioners yours truly, -Joe Glynn.  

     We all have submitted proposals and composed specific and detailed reasonable restructure amendments to the charter with absolutely no movement by the assembly for years and now this sudden drastic power-play.

      The assembly appears to ignore all input, has not taken outside suggestions to heart, despite asking for them and juxtaposed to  nominal hearings held, attended by various members of the community and despite testimony of previous upstanding members of government and civic bodies, all to be insulted by a few selfish players involved in petty politics. 

      There are many reasonable amendments and points that would garner the consensus of the community!  Those who have participated in the reform and hastened to move to restructure, are now being ignored by this amendment.

      This self-serving radical elimination of the commissioners is diametrically opposite to the spirit of the many proposed restructure ideas,  thoughtfully presented over the years, to the Barnstable County Charter Review Committee.       

      These good faith efforts previously and our most recent proposals were designed to preserve the checks and balancesand representation of the people, as well as to promote the increased integrity of County Government for the people of Barnstable County, not to avert and circumvent participation by the people. 

     It is abhorant that this body (The Assembly of Delegates) who is responsible for much of the poor reputation and dysfunction, along with the body they are trying to to commit a hostile takeover of (The County Commissioners) feels as if they can unilaterally, through slight of hand, wrestle power from the people, they have been entrusted to serve.  

     The Assembly nor the Commissioners have no such power and are not vested with any such abilities to make these changes. They can not increase their power by charter nor can they decrease power, over another body equally vested, by fiat or by charter amendment. 

     The ignorance of all of these elected officials is a microcosm of the overall abuse of power, as is their ignorance of the process on how to make changes to the charter.  

     Simply stated, the Charter Review Committee, the Assembly of Delegates, the County Commissioners or any County employee or actor, can not make such changes.

      The fact they are doing these things outside of the public light, or by pulling an eleventh hour switch-aroo is regrettable and it will be counter productive and subsequently (thankfully) unsuccessful. 

    The legislative delegation and the county elected officials save one member of the Commissioners are up for re-election in 2020. 

   There is no way, after this long suffering county nightmare, will any reasonable person or body, fast track this I’ll advised move, with any success.  

    They will not get support for a massive restructuring, that does not have broad community support especially by excluding, the state legislative delegation, community members and unbiased leaders who have thoughtfully made reasoned and forthright amendments. 

       They all would be well advised to make the Charter Review the subject of all their campaigns, seek public opinion on a consensus of reasonable changes and put them on a non binding ballot. Then armed with the public opinion and the election of all of their respective offices they will truly have the voice of the people in mind and the power will be properly vested in government of the people, by the people for the people! 

     It is clear that the childish antics and improper behavior by several of the very county elected officials have influenced this knee jerk reaction. Instead of implementing better mechanisms to keep the public informed on county government, improving the reputation of the county brand by improving it, and installing a recall provision as part of the proposed amendments to the charter.  These alleged leaders have decided to go in the back room and betray democracy and then proceeded to undermine it, as opposed to keep their solemn oath to protect it. 

     The problem with this type of inefficient execution of county government recently, has not been improved by the constant juvenile displays of playground turf battles or adolescent whining,  between two bodies that have not been efficient or transparent for a very long time.

      This current maneuver is typical of the selfish status quo county government waste of time and resources and is the very reason the charter changes are necessary. The charter amendments should reflect more input by the electorate, not less. The proposals should be thoughtful and non partisan. They should be divested by any interest in power exchanges but by pure interest of public service not prurient interest of power hungry oligarchs. 

     There is no way the assembly should improperly empower themselves in disproportion to its own representational form, to unilaterally exact change to the charter.         

      This naive but duplicitous misunderstanding of the process reflects ignorance and arrogance!  Despite the equal misunderstanding and immaturity of the current and past commissioners, it is mutually exclusive for the need to make significant improvements to the county charter.  This is not an attempt to disparage any of the past leaders who have acted to make improvements but the comments are directed  to those who have failed to recognize the abuse of power or have not done due diligence to make substantive changes to a broken county system, over the years.  

      This sudden rush, to this extreme amendment, when reasonable changes have been on the table for years with no movement at all is not an attempt at improvement nor is it an excuse to make rash sudden changes without the input of the public and proper vote by the people.

     To the contrary it is exactly the reason we should demand better representation and accountability not to kick the can into a darken closet.  

     Sunlight is the best disinfectant and elections are the best remedy for change and improvement.  County government should move to non partisan bicameral form of three Co-equal legislative branches of government as was proposed in all of my submissions and public presentations. 

      A Recall provision and three regional Commissioners (upper, lower and mid-Cape) and three at large Commissioners with the chair being the largest vote getter all non partisan would resolve these petty politics issues and would empower the voters in the tradition of our Barnstable County forefathers. 

      This was the spirit of these great patriots and we call on all those of good faith to act accordingly to demand that our elected officials act as statesmen and leaders or at the very least as act as unselfish mature adults and fight for improvement for all Cape Codders throughout Barnstable County of all persuasions.  It is one Cape Cod for us all and all for one Barnstable County not County government for themselves inspire of all of us! 

Voice your choice! Write your state legislature and tell them you want input and control of your local regional government! 

Joe Glynn

Hyannis Park-Yarmouth

The Author is Vice Chairman and elected Board Commissioner for the Yarmouth Housing Authority and announced Candidate for Barnstable County Board of Regional Commissioners 


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