One thing Swampscott’s top two boards lack is experience.
On the Board of Selectmen, only Jill Sullivan has been on the board for more than one term. No one on the School Committee has served for more than one term.
Experience brings with it a number of things that help a town committee maneuver through the weekly business of the town. Most importantly is institutional knowledge. Each problem a committee faces is less of a hurdle when members can turn to one with more experience and say, “How did we handle this last time?”
But experience also brings with it knowledge of another sort. They know what can and, often more importantly, what cannot, be done. They know what needs to be dealt with and what needs to be sent to subcommittees or other town boards.
In most cases, a committee member spends the first year of his or her term just learning the basics.
Fortunately, the town has a veteran of each committee willing to serve another term in Selectman Matthew Strauss and School Committee member Jacqueline Kinney. Both deserve to be re-elected.
Strauss proved himself a leader when he cast the deciding vote for Thomas Younger as the town’s next town administrator, in the process choosing not to back hometown favorite Gerry Perry. He may have lost some votes with that decision, but he showed he was willing to do what he believes to be in the best interest of the town.
Among Strauss’ other accomplishments during his first term were supporting the GIC health insurance plan and turning down a first offer to sell the former Temple Israel. The 2010 offer on the Humphrey Street temple was $1.25 million. By holding off for another round of Requests for Proposals, the town was able to sell the land in 2011 for $2.25 million.
Kinney has served as the chairman of the School Committee for the past two years. She has been a strong supporter of Superintendent Lynne Celli, who has set a high bar for the town’s schools as evidenced by the high grades the schools received from the Pioneer Institute’s Mass Report Card last fall and Boston Magazine moving Swampscott schools up from 59th to 40th place in the state.
Kinney was also a strong supporter of the Chemical Health Policy, which appears to have lessened the number of incidents of students being involved in alcohol and drugs.
Now it’s time for the voters of Swampscott to voice their opinion at the ballot box on Tuesday, April 24.
Also seen in Swampscott Report.