Local Elections: Select Board
About the episode
It is arguably one of the most powerful positions in town. Three people are vying for the open seat on Hingham’s Select Board. It’s a demanding and often thankless job. Hingham’s Select Board members earn an annual stipend of $2,000. The Board met publically 80 times last year.
The Board calls town meeting and figures out what’s on the agenda. Members are then in charge of implementing whatever gets voted on. They manage town finances and set the budget. They hold public meetings on town issues. They appoint not only the town administrator, but department heads, most of the members for boards and commissions. They enforce town by laws and regulations. They’re the licensing board for everything from restaurants and liquor licenses to limousines and they’re the commissioners for the water and police department.
In this 45-minute episode, we pose several questions to the candidates in a round table-style conversation:
Why do you want this job and what is it about your lived experience that makes you the right person?
What do you hope to accomplish in your first six months to a year in the role?
There is a lot of talk about a potential override, which would mean higher property taxes. What do you need to know or see to recommend an override?
At town meeting, voters approved money to design a public safety building on 3A. Some say it’s the right move. When police move out of town hall, the senior center expands. But others say the public safety building shouldn’t advance until all the school needs are met, like securing money for Foster school. Do you support a public safety building on 3A? Tell me why or why not.
There has been a lot of development in town in recent years. One of the few remaining substantial spots that could be developed is South Hingham. What do you see as the risks and benefits of doing that?
Last summer, a resident asked the select board to fly the Pride flag at town hall. The board said no, saying the town only fly certain flags like town or state or MIA/POW flags. The Board also told Hingham firefighters to remove a thin blue line flag from local fire trucks. Would you have voted to make those same decisions and tell us why or why not.
To that end, Hingham has not officially weighed in on many social issues like racial inequities, hate crimes, marginalized communities. Do you think Hingham needs to grow as a community on that front? What role do you think the Board should play in that and how do you strike a balance between becoming an activist board and getting the day to day nuts and bolts of the job done?
There is so much on the town agenda, so to speak. According to the Master plan, we don’t have enough fields in Hingham. How are we going to address affordable housing? Where will we take action on environmental issues like sea level rise or the compressor station? How will you determine what to prioritize.
It’s a terrific conversation. Join us!
Our election coverage is sponsored by: XR BBQ, Clandestine Kitchen & Tryst Studio