Volunteers

Filling a role  in town politics

DUBLIN: Selectman says finding residents that can commit time is an ongoing challenge

  • Dublin Town Meeting 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Priscilla Morrill)
  • Dublin Town Meeting 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Priscilla Morrill)
  • Dublin Town Meeting 2013.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Priscilla Morrill)

Turnover on a town board or committee is healthy, said Dublin Select Board member Sterling Abram in an interview with the Ledger-Transcript last week. But what happens when you’re ready to step down and there’s no one there to take your seat? It’s a question that Abram said he’s struggled to find the answer to for some time.

“We are facing an almost upheaval in the way our local communities function together. We are losing touch with our neighbors because they are forced to travel outside their hometown for work,” said Abram, who has served as selectman for eight years. “People just don’t have time with their other commitments to volunteer, but the truth is we need them.”

There’s not a total unwillingness from people in the community asked to volunteer, Abram said, but the dilemma is that many are parents with families and full-time jobs. At the end of the day, people are simply exhausted, he said.

“I would certainly look for anyone with the energy and enthusiasm to step in,” Abram said. “It doesn’t matter if their ideology aligns with mine, just if they’re committed to the job.”

Abram said a reoccurring question among town officials prior to election season is: “Do we have anybody that might have the time to do this?” And often the answer isn’t simple.

When former selectman Curt Merrick resigned in January 2012, Abram said finding someone to replace him was a challenge. Abram said he felt a sense of relief when Peter “Sturdy” Thomas accepted the board’s appointment.

Filling seats on the town’s Planning Board is a concern, too, according to Abram. Being a member of the Planning Board requires that one keep up-to-date with changing zoning regulations and ordinances — a task that requires careful thought and time.

Alyssa Dandrea can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 228 or adandrea@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter at @alyssadandrea.

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