The following is a letter to the editor from Town Manager Jodi Ross. Letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the views of WestfordCAT or its Board of Directors. To submit your own letter, e-mail [email protected]
As Westford’s Town Manager, I am committed to openness and transparency, and I take very seriously our responsibility to provide accurate and open accounting for all spending of town funding, including the disbursement of Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds. In a Letter to the Editor written by Paul Cully which recently appeared in WCAT online, an accusation was made that I had refused to disclose the use and/or whereabouts of $3 million in dedicated affordable housing funds. This is a complete misstatement of the facts. Mr. Cully, as a member of the Affordable Housing Committee, asked us to prove to him that 10% of annual CPA funds were allocated for Community Housing since CPA was approved by the town meeting voters in 2001. Our Finance Director and Director of Land Use Management spent many hours going through town meeting minutes to ensure the funding was properly appropriated, and then reviewed the amounts tying it back to the general ledger. This accounting was provided to the committee. Mr. Cully refused to accept our accounting and although I offered him the opportunity to go through all the files and documents himself, he did not accept that offer. In addition, these funds are audited by an outside firm every year, with the results reported to the Finance Committee, Board of Selectmen, our Finance department staff, and myself. I am disappointed in Mr. Cully’s mischaracterization of the facts surrounding this issue.