Three major flaws in Putnam's Barnstable County goverment Op-Ed [Letter to the Editor]

Editor's note: The following letter was received in response to Andrew Putnam's Op-Ed entitled, "Why put bureaucrats in charge of shaping the government?".  Putnam is running for the seat currently held by Ms. Taylor.

To the Editor:

Andrew Putnam's Op-Ed piece "Why Put Bureaucrats in Charge of Shaping a Government?" about Barnstable County government has three major errors which undercut his argument.

...by definition, the negative connotation "Bureaucrats" refers to full-time, entrenched employees of government departments, the exact opposite of part-time county officials who offer themselves for frequent elections.

First, by definition, the negative connotation "Bureaucrats" refers to full-time, entrenched employees of government departments, the exact opposite of part-time county officials who offer themselves for frequent elections.  ("Bureaucrats" never recommend changes because they prefer the status quo which protects their jobs.)  In fact, the Barnstable County Commissioners did not appoint any "bureaucrats" to the Special Commission on County Government which recently issued a report.  They did appoint two county elected officials, including me, and a few former state, county, and town elected officials who now work in a wide variety of private sector jobs, but the great majority of the twenty-six people who served were local "scientists, lawyers, and business people" of the Cape, the kind of activist citizens like the Founding Fathers that Mr. Putnam admires  It is that majority from the private sector who are eager for changes to county government.

Second, The recommendations of the Special Commission did not "eliminate the Assembly and merge it with the Commissioners to create a seven member executive body," as Mr. Putnam claims, but rather the exact opposite.  The Special Commission recommended a single, appointed executive and an elected seven-member legislative body to act as the check and balance on the executive and its budget, as well as on the Cape Cod Commission and its regulations.

Third, the Special Commission cannot "create the change without the approval of the residents of Cape Cod," that Mr. Putnam asserts.  Any change to the county government charter requires a majority vote by the citizens of Cape Cod on a November state ballot.  

Since any changes to Barnstable County goverment will be important to Cape citizens, they should understand the issues accurately, let their elected Commissioners and Assembly members know what they think, and be sure to vote if proposed changes appear on the ballot.

Julia C. Taylor
Falmouth, MA
Falmouth Delegate, Barnstable County Assembly

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