Strauss, Kinney the right choices

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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.