As an organization who believes in fiscal responsibility, government transparency and honesty in applying the mandated and proven processes for Westford, and since it is bad for Westford, we must urge the Westford voters to defeat the 2 1/2 override on May 2.
Approval of the override would be bad for Westford – The School Committee created a misleading drive resulting in the override ballot question to reward our school’s teachers with a significant raise that breaches the 2018 and beyond budget thresholds causing a significant increase in property owner’s taxes forever and ignores the process for securing raises by public employees. The Town Meeting resulted in a heavily recruited, biased approval that was subsequently agreed to by the selectmen to place the override question on the May 2 ballot.
The override proponents established a pro-teacher website that includes School Committee members that implies the School Committee, who is elected to represent the Westford citizens is not working on behalf of its voters who elected them, but rather, the Teachers Union. In this override they are subverting objective negotiations under the established collective bargaining process. Despite the proponent’s alleged myth-bashing, the override provides precedence for other town employees to use similar tactics to increase their pay AND RAISE OUR TAXES! It also lacks transparency by shielding the Westford citizens from insight into the internal working of the salary processes and bypasses the town’s budget and collective bargaining processes.
If you ask “What is Good for Our Schools”, it’s NOT the override – it’s the normal process that allows the superintendent together with the School Committee’s input to establish a comprehensive budget without creating a tax increase that includes all school employees whose individual salaries are determined by collective bargaining within the confines of the school budget and established salary tables. The product – our students’ future – is already successful because our school ratings are among the highest in the Commonwealth – Let’s keep our schools at the top without raising taxes or compromising our principles.
It is time for the voters of Westford to stand up against the continued subversion of our processes and lack of transparency by using tactics that raise our taxes and cause us all to be suspicious of the leaders and committees who we elect to represent us. VOTE NO on the May 2 ballot override. — Harry I. “Buzz” Gillogly, III, Vice Chairman, Westford Republican Town Committee