Letter – A vote for transparency

Published 6:39 pm Monday, November 21, 2022

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

Congratulations to the recently elected candidates for Smithfield Town Council — and to the more than 3,000 residents who turned out to vote.

One can only hope that the new council will recognize their constituents’ mandate for openness and frank dialogue in the public decision-making process. It is time for the council to move beyond its penchant for good-ole-boy backroom dealing with conflicted self-interest.

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Certainly the selection of our new mayor ought to respect the voters’ expressed will, and ensure that the individual possesses those qualities of leadership, experience and education that best represent and serve our town.

At the same time, however, it is also imperative that council members empower the town manager to perform fully his duties as chief operations officer. According to the town’s charter, we are organized for “strong manager/weak mayor” local government. The mayor’s role is essentially that of senior parliamentarian for the council; he or she serves as the town’s ambassador for ceremonial purposes.

One needs only to look at the comparative compensation packages to recognize that it is the town manager’s role to be the forceful lead to get things done in the public sector.

I remain hopeful that we can move forward to unleash the full potential of Smithfield’s unique residential and tourist experience. That will require competent and exceptional governance — and the continued engagement of our citizens at the polls.


Mark Gay