Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Hum of Activism

There's a new sound in Chelsea proper.

Compared to the noise of new school construction on the Togus Road and the occasional din of "ax grinding" that occurs in every municipality, this one is still a faint hum...but its volume is increasing daily.

I refer to the community activism that has ratcheted up in recent months as residents - dissatisfied with certain aspects of Chelsea's town government - have become more vocal about the town's present and future direction. They've also become more involved...requesting information, attending meetings, engaging with the Board of Selectmen and making their concerns known.

Some residents even created a Facebook group, which I learned about this week, to provide ongoing information about the town, its meetings and links to its online media coverage.

This is a very good thing.

While not a native "Chels-ite," as my Pittston-ian friend Rick refers to those who live in our small town, I have lived in Chelsea for more than 13 years - longer than in any other place since my childhood. It is the only town my children have known. In this time, I've seen interest/involvement in town and school affairs ebb and flow. This time, however, seems different in both scope and personal investment.

This grassroots band of activists is not without some ax-grinders, I'm sure, but the overall effort appears positive. Chelsea residents want more transparency in town government and more accountability in how the town's bid process is administered. They also want to know more about how town funds are budgeted and expended and why so many town managers and staff have left the town's payroll in a relatively brief span of time.

In pursuing these things, they've initiated a dialogue that should be maintained for the foreseeable future. And this pursuit, hopefully, will inspire individuals to take a more active role in town or school service.

With a new school on the horizon, our town is poised for positive growth. The involvement of many in both the municipal and school realms will make it possible for truly great and lasting change to occur.

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