As a member of the Council on Aging (COA) Advisory Board for the town of Shrewsbury, I am compelled to alert the public of recent board events.? A few weeks ago, the COA chairman took a secret ballot to name the Senior Center after one of our board members.? Given the vote was conducted via the telephone, the COA chairman was notified by the town manager to address this during our scheduled televised meeting.
Meanwhile, naming the center was construed to the self-interests of the COA board.? It was not clearly stated on the COA agenda, written up in the Senior Edition, or even discussed in the meeting as to why this individual should be considered.? I tried effortlessly during our meeting to open a discussion regarding this issue.? Subsequently, four people voted yes, I voted no, and the nominee abstained (one member was absent).
According to the COA Bylaws, our responsibilities are to represent the seniors. The COA is not here to fulfill self-interests, but to serve the best interests of the seniors of our community.? The COA is not a governing board with fiduciary responsibilities. I think it is shameful that four individuals can use power and control when truly they have none other than to advise the Center Director on issues to benefit the senior community at large.
Ultimately, the selectmen have jurisdiction over naming public buildings.? In fact, recently a precedent has been made for the naming of our buildings.? For instance, the town hall was named for Mr. Carney.? The selectmen may vote in favor of the COA's nomination since the COA board consists of individuals who have excelled in contributing to our community.? However, I also believe the selectmen are being asked to rush into making a decision that infringes on individual rights.? Perhaps, the selectmen are being deceived into thinking that this is what the majority of seniors want.
Last time I checked, the Senior Center was a public building offering services and activities to improve quality of living. It should not be to preserve someone's legacy.
Rita Dichele, MA, MHA, MS, CT