Candidate Statement: Harvey Boshart is Running for Town Moderator
Harvey Boshart hopes to be Weston's next town moderator.
My name is Harvey Boshart and I am running for Town Moderator. I have lived in Weston for almost nine years with my wife, Debbie, son Evan (6), daughter Claire (10 months) and our yellow lab, Emma. I currently work in the financial services industry in Boston, have received my MBA, and am a former active duty Army officer.
Weston Town Government is a longtime interest of mine. I served as a member of the Finance Committee for 6 years, acting as the Chairman in my final year. Recently, I was appointed by the Board of Selectmen to the Police Station Study Committee (PSSC), and have been active in other social and civic groups in town. I understand how the pieces of Town Government fit together and what the biggest drivers are- a must to be considered for Moderator.
Our form of government in Weston, the Open Town Meeting, represents democracy at its most fundamental level. Residents participate directly in the shaping of our town priorities and initiatives by approving budgets, by-laws, and major capital expenditures. The Moderator is the neutral and unbiased party, assuring that all points of view are heard fairly.
The Moderator must also foster an environment that encourages attendance and participation, while providing for an efficient town meeting process. It is important that every citizen is treated with respect and courtesy and their ability to be heard is preserved. To meet this goal, it is key that the Moderator be able to maintain respect and ensure an orderly and efficient meeting.
Check out coverage of Weston's 2013 Town Election, including all the Letters to the Editor, on our topic page, Weston Town Election 2013.
Another important function of the Moderator is appointing and ensuring strong, unbiased committee representation. While all committees are equally important, the Finance Committee serves as the primary financial advisor to the Selectmen and voters at Town Meeting. Very rarely do the townspeople vote against Finance Committee’s recommendations, so it’s essential that the most qualified and impartial candidates are appointed. My years of experience on Town financial and budgetary issues will ensure we have a strong finance committee - I understand what they do well and what they could do better.
Some have suggested the need for the Moderator to adopt a formal appointment process to evaluate committee candidates and a review by the existing committee members. This is not a policy I would consider. The townspeople have entrusted the Moderator with the ability to appoint unbiased committee members and any suggestion to delegate, and not accept this responsibility, undermines the role and may add biases. Under this policy you risk the danger of loading committees with special interests. Additionally, submitting candidates to a burdensome public process may result in restricting participation- the opposite of what the Moderator should be supporting.
The Moderator’s Weston Town Meeting Advisory Committee (WTMAC) came up with many recommendations worth considering, but it did not address directly how the Town's core functions--namely, town spending, town services, and property taxes- should be presented at Town Meetings so that voters are better informed about and more engaged in how those functions are handled. Going forward, a recently formed Selectmen’s Town Meeting Advisory Committee, of which the Moderator is a member, will focus on these key areas of the Town Meeting process that will result in better informed decisions by voters. I will look forward to working with this committee to increase community participation by increasing the quality and availability of information prior to and during Town Meeting.
I realize we all care for the issues, but it can be very difficult to balance the time demands of work, life, and community. As part of my role on the Selectman’s WTMAC committee, I will explore ways to make it easier for voters to participate by utilizing technology such as live webcasts and, to the extent possible, electronic/online voting. I believe we should consider these ideas provided there are proper security measures and broad acceptance by voters. To accept the alternative of declining and low citizen participation is unacceptable, for low participation can result in a vote that does not fully represent the Town!
I feel I have the skills and temperament to represent the Town well, and it would be an honor to serve as your Moderator. For those of you whom I have not met, I welcome the opportunity to meet you soon. And a sincere thank you to all my supporters.