To the Editor:
My husband and I purchased a home in Newton six years ago. As we began to familiarize ourselves with the town, we became a bit disparaged with the political hierarchy. We spoke with various “heads” of departments, from the fire services to the transfer station and roads maintenance workers. We attended a few meetings of the Selectmen and, at times, it appeared that there was more competition toward residents than compassion. We could feel the “power struggle” and felt sorry for our neighbors. When we attempted to research a problem with the flow of water and drainage on our road, there were no clear answers and no acceptance of responsibility for the issue. It was apparent that accountability for service to residents did not matter to these town employees. Two years ago, I wrote a letter requesting information about a road that is shared by two towns to inquire if there is a dual effort from both towns to maintain safe passage. I never received a reply. We were even met with resistance when we paid our tax bill in person at the town hall.
This past summer, I reached out to a member on the board of selectmen, Lisa Gonyer. Not only was she reachable but, she promptly returned my call the same day. I explained how I felt ignored by the officials and unimportant as a taxpaying homeowner. Lisa asked if we could meet to discuss the issue, within days, we did. For the first time, I sensed that someone cares about the residents of Newton. I knew that Lisa could not produce a resolution of issues but she guided me through the “ladder” of leadership in Newton and taught me so much by answering my questions. Lisa also knew of our inability to vote for her in town elections. She did her research and was well aware that the town of Newton is not our primary residence at this time. Still, she spent hours of her own time to renew our confidence in this town.
As a member of the Board of Selectmen perhaps she will encourage other members to realize who needs to feel as if they matter, the residents.
I am very hopeful that the residents of Newton will remember her selfless action when election time nears. Lisa is an official that can be counted on by Newton residents.